Monday, February 4, 2013

Palomino Blackwing non-users

[Egg on face: I’d forgotten that Blackwing Pages called attention to Levenger’s advertising copy last year, in one of the very posts I link to below: Facts, Fiction, and the Palomino “Blackwing Experience.” E. B. White though is a new addition to the chorus of Palomino praise-singers.]

From the Levenger website:

I’m reminded of the Dashiell Hammett story in which the Continental Op looks at a sign in a bar — “ONLY GENUINE PRE-WAR AMERICAN AND BRITISH WHISKEYS SERVED HERE” — and begins to count the lies. No, Steinbeck, White, and Wolfe never sang the praises of the Palomino Blackwing, because they lived and died before that pencil came into production. To claim that these writers sang the praises of a Palomino product is equivalent to claiming that Blind Boy Fuller sang the praises of my National guitar. No, because my guitar is a replica. And so is the Palomino Blackwing.

California Cedar has chosen, again and again, to promote its products by invoking the names of prominent people, among them Duke Ellington, John Lennon, and Frank Lloyd Wright, all of whom lived and died before the Palomino Blackwing and thus could never have used that pencil. What’s more, there is no evidence that Ellington or Lennon or Wright had any particular allegiance to the original Blackwing. (Nor to my knowledge is there evidence that White sang the praises of the original Blackwing.) Facts are stubborn things, as someone once said.

Related posts
Duke Ellington, Blackwings, and aspirational branding
The Palomino Blackwing pencil and truth in advertising

And from Blackwing Pages
Facts, Fiction, and the Palomino “Blackwing Experience”
Wright or Wrong?

And from pencil talk
California Cedar: What’s going on?

[I’ve invoked the Op before, when writing about an “old-fashioned recipe” for lemonade. Martha White’s introduction to In the Words of E. B. White (2011) mentions “boxes of Blackwing pencils” from White’s office. Well-known photographs show White composing at the typewriter. Roger Angell’s foreword to the fourth edition of The Elements of Style describes White composing at the typewriter “in hesitant bursts, with long silences in between.”]

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