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Flashbacks: Remembering Stanley Kubrick, amazing stupidity at the Globe, and government-sanctioned, experimental drug testing on Massachusetts prisoners

MASTERPIECE THEATER
10 years ago
March 12, 1999 | Peter Keough said so long to Stanley Kubrick.
“Who could imagine 2001 without Stanley Kubrick? In an irony he would have appreciated, one of the greatest filmmakers of the last half-century died of undisclosed causes at the age of 70, just shy of the millennium he celebrated in his groundbreaking, forever baffling apocalyptic epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1967).

“In a sense, every Kubrick film was a millennial event. That was due in part to their infrequency -- he made only 10 films in the last four decades -- and in part to his notorious secrecy and reclusiveness. Mostly, though, it was due to their brilliance and originality; each challenged our preconceptions about film and reality.”

NO BRAINER
15 years ago
March 11, 1994 | Al Giordano called out the Globe for doing something stupid.

“One recent rainy day the Boston Globe sent a reporter and a photographer to City Hall Plaza to interview people for Sunday’s ‘Off the Cuff’ feature in the City Weekly Section. The question: ‘What do you think of Menino’s performance during his first 100 days in office?’

“All five respondents had nice things to say about the mayor. Nancy Lo, of Brighton, said, ‘I think the mayor has done a good job so far.’ Frank Tirella, of Boston, added, ‘I think he’s done pretty well.’ Marlena Richardson of Roxbury offered this: "I think that he's done very well."

“And what a coincidence. Each of those individuals work for the same employer: Mayor Tom Menino. Lo is Menino’s top policy adviser. Richardson works for the Fair Housing Commission. And Tirella works in the assessing department.

“ ‘We’re going to run a correction, explaining who they are,’ says City Weekly editor Ellen Clegg. ‘...Journalistically, it was a real screw-up.’ ”

MASS DEPRESSION
20 Years Ago
March 10, 1989 | Scot Lehigh declared the 1988 election result not only an embarassment for Mike Dukakis but for the commonwealth as well.

“...Dukakis...got his clock cleaned. Not only that, but he let it happen in a way that embarrassed us all. ‘It was sort of like when the Patriots went to the Super Bowl,’ says Republican consultant Charlie Manning...

“Pollster John Becker agrees that the campaign helped change the way Massachusetts thinks of itself. ‘It wasn’t just Dukakis who had his brains beat in by the Bush campaign,’ he says. ‘The commonwealth did as well. You recall George Bush holding up the front page of the Boston Herald, which said, $600 MILLION DEFICIT in big black letters? And then there was Boston Harbor and Willie Horton...’

“...Bush made him [Dukakis] a pathetic figure, and now he’s our pathetic figure. For two more long years. It’s like being trapped in the elevator with a Jehovah’s Witness. And he keeps saying the same damn things. ‘Look, I don’t have to tell you that anyone who knows me knows that I happen to be the type of guy who’s been around long enough to remember when they used to call this state the New Appalachia.’

“...As comedian Barry Crimmins puts it, ‘Being around Dukakis after the election is sort of like a really bad television show that was canceled everywhere else but for some reason is still being played here.’ ”

PRISONER’S DILEMMA
35 Years Ago
March 12, 1974 | Flora Haas reported that the federal government was allowing drug companies to test experimental drugs on prisoners in this state.

“Is there any logic or justice in sentencing someone to prison for illegal drug use and paying this same captive for taking drugs for nonmedical purposes?

“If prisoners didn’t desperately need the money, would they submit to being injected with untested new drugs, to having blood repeatedly drawn, and to the side effects of such experiments?

“The federal Food and Drug Administration will not allow new substances on the market until they have been tested on humans. After laboratory tests are run on mice, hamsters, cats..., commercial drug firms have traditionally gone into the nation’s penitentiaries to locate subjects for these FDA-required tests.

“In Massachusetts, for example, since January 1973, the State Department of Corrections has approved 42 separate research projects involving prisoners of the Commonwealth...The bulk of this research has been carried out by Medical and Technical Research Associates, a firm in Needham, Mass., which represents 9 clients in the drug business, including Beecham-Messengill, Robbins, Sandoz, Squibb, and Wyeth.”

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