The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Great Moments in Journalism #9

On this day 51 years ago the BBC's Panorama programme broadcast a news item about the annual harvesting of spaghetti.

Rosie Blau of the Financial Times, explains for those unfamiliar; ‘The workers of Ticino, Switzerland, carefully plucked the pasta from the trees before laying it out in the sun to dry. [Richard] Dimbleby’s deadpan voice over explained that each individual strand of spaghetti grew to the same length after generations of cultivation; severe winter frost, however could harm the flavour.

At the time, pasta was rare in the UK – and the BBC was the stalwart source of information about the world. The programme, which we now identify so easily as a hoax, fooled millions when was broadcast…’, ‘An estimated 8 million people watched the programme.

When many phoned in the next day to ask how to grow their own tree, the BBC apparently told them to “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best”.’


H. P. L. said...

ah ah ah!!!
Well, wish that pasta grew on trees... but the point is: why Switzerland, of all places??? Swiss pasta is awful!!

swac said...

I got an e-mail from someone saying Gene Simmons was dead.

Turns out they were right.

S J said...

My parents watched the spaghetti harvest segment on The Tonight Show, when Jack Paar was host, as I recall. To the end of her life, my mother recalled the spot as howling funny.

Thanks for sharing. What a terrific website.

Best wishes from Sally in Nebraska