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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
Unformatted Document Text:  Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers 10 meant for Americans – particularly one restless missionary’s son headed nowhere in academic life. While Barrett mined the suspended scene halfway around the globe for ephemeral articles and experts such as Steere, unmotivated by the imperial bounty promised by expansion across the Pacific, urged caution, Worcester plunged ahead. Having won a contract to produce a book based on his previous journeys, he returned to Vermont to furiously edit the letters he had sent to his family years before, integrating the vast trove of photographs he had taken on the expedition for publication as The Philippine Islands and their People. Those photographs of natives adorned only in the scanty raiment of savagery backed up Worcester’s claim to have evidence of the “real” Philippines his Manila- centric competitors were not showing. Together with his visceral prose and abundant stories of heroic confrontations with nature – like Barrett, he made sure to drop references to killing pythons – Worcester’s appeal to the lowest sensibilities proved successful in a marketplace of ideas that rewarded extremes of representation delivering simplified, dramatic messages. The subtle cosmopolitanism of Barrett and many of his elite-oriented contemporaries was not the expressed preference of the mass of readers, or at least not for the publishers who catered to the largest audiences. The appeal of the savage image can be seen in many examples. Consider journalist Oscar King Davis’ popular eyewitness account of U.S. soldiers’ first contact with the Philippines, Our Conquests in the Pacific: The book made no mention of such peoples, yet the slim selection of photographs accompanying the text were primarily devoted to loincloth-clad tribesmen holding spears or aiming arrows. 18 The image of grass-skirted natives dominated editorial cartoon depictions of Filipinos. 19 Even the Sears catalog for Fall

Authors: Vaughan, Christopher.
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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
10
meant for Americans – particularly one restless missionary’s son headed nowhere in
academic life. While Barrett mined the suspended scene halfway around the globe for
ephemeral articles and experts such as Steere, unmotivated by the imperial bounty
promised by expansion across the Pacific, urged caution, Worcester plunged ahead.
Having won a contract to produce a book based on his previous journeys, he returned to
Vermont to furiously edit the letters he had sent to his family years before, integrating the
vast trove of photographs he had taken on the expedition for publication as The
Philippine Islands and their People.
Those photographs of natives adorned only in the scanty raiment of savagery
backed up Worcester’s claim to have evidence of the “real” Philippines his Manila-
centric competitors were not showing. Together with his visceral prose and abundant
stories of heroic confrontations with nature – like Barrett, he made sure to drop
references to killing pythons – Worcester’s appeal to the lowest sensibilities proved
successful in a marketplace of ideas that rewarded extremes of representation delivering
simplified, dramatic messages. The subtle cosmopolitanism of Barrett and many of his
elite-oriented contemporaries was not the expressed preference of the mass of readers, or
at least not for the publishers who catered to the largest audiences. The appeal of the
savage image can be seen in many examples. Consider journalist Oscar King Davis’
popular eyewitness account of U.S. soldiers’ first contact with the Philippines, Our
Conquests in the Pacific: The book made no mention of such peoples, yet the slim
selection of photographs accompanying the text were primarily devoted to loincloth-clad
tribesmen holding spears or aiming arrows.
18
The image of grass-skirted natives
dominated editorial cartoon depictions of Filipinos.
19
Even the Sears catalog for Fall


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