The pearl essays

Project editor: Anya Strzemien Photo editor: Darcy Eveleigh Designer: Angelica McKinley Ilustrations: Kate Worum and Joana Avillez Editors: Bob Woletz, Steve Bell, Trish Hall, Anya Strzemien, Jim Windolf, LeAnn Wilcox Copy editors: Eric Dyer, Marcia Langhenry, Emily Brennan, Arlene Schneider, Rhonda McClain, Dan Schneider, David Kim, Mark Pargas, Carl Sommers, Mike Flam Research: Charanna Alexander, Bonnie Wertheim, Eleanor Stanford, Jaclyn Peiser, Zachary Montague, Kasia Pilat, Alexandra S. Levine, Sara Aridi, Joanne Mascola Social media editor: Jessica Anderson Times Machine: Jennifer Parrucci

There’s a lot of misinformation on this subject, most of it gleefully spread by the band. For example, despite Eddie Vedder’s repeated claims, he did not have a great-grandmother Pearl who married a Native American and cooked up jam with peyote as an ingredient. And although the band was originally named Mookie Blaylock, after the star NBA point guard, “Pearl Jam” was not his nickname. (They changed their name to avoid legal problems–but Ten , the title of their debut, was Blaylock’s jersey number.) The band also doesn’t seem to have intended their name to refer to semen. So why did they pick it? They just liked the word “Pearl”: it’s surfer slang for submerging the nose of your board, it’s a good Janis Joplin record, it was the nickname of basketball great Earl Monroe, and Vedder did have a cool great-grandmother named Pearl. She didn’t wed a Native American–but she did marry a circus contortionist. (The band came up with “Pearl” at a brainstorming session in a Seattle restaurant; the “Jam” got added after a 1991 trip to New York City that included a Neil Young concert where many of his songs became extended jams.) So a Pearl Jam could be a Monroe slam-dunk, or as Vedder said he prefers to think of it, the creative conflict that turns the grain of sand in an oyster into a jewel.

Pretending to be democratic takes a lot of effort. This harsh political reality has required the constant managing of the “public” mind to assure mass “democratic” compliance with the un democratic oligarchic economic and political structures. Edward L. Bernays, the premier pioneer of US public relations, argued that the ability to shape and direct public opinion had become indispensable to the maintenance of order. President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected in 1916 on the promise that he would keep the US neutral, and would not send “American” boys to war in Europe. Once elected, however, ongoing pressures from US banking and other economic interests to enter the war on the side of England required Wilson to develop a strategy to convince a public overwhelmingly against the war to change their minds. With Bernays’ coaching, Wilson created the first modern de facto Minister for Propaganda, selecting liberal newspaperman George Creel to head up The Committee for Public Information (CPI). Creel launched an intense advertising campaign using catch phrases and fear-inducing language with 75,000 traveling speakers (the famous Four Minute Men), ads, and essays reaching every nook and cranny of the United States.

The pearl essays

the pearl essays


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