Teresa Stack remembers our colleague Gene Case; Esther Kaplan reports on Sarah Shourd’s return home from Iran.


REMEMBERING GENE: About ten years ago, The Nation‘s business staff was approached by a handsome, energetic man with brilliant white hair. His name was Gene Case, and he had a proposition for us: hire his newly formed advocacy-advertising agency, Avenging Angels, and he would double our circulation.

We had little faith in the prosaic power of mass advertising to introduce large numbers of new readers to America’s oldest weekly. But Gene’s power was anything but prosaic: as a young man, he was a “hot commodity in political advertising,” according to the New York Times, working on campaigns for Lyndon Johnson and Nelson Rockefeller. When he left politics to focus on commercial advertising, Gene coined the unforgettable “tum-te-tum-Tums” campaign and the “Thanks, I needed that!” Mennen Skin Bracer commercials. He helped build Jordan, McGrath, Case & Partners into a $500 million business at its peak.

In 2001 Gene founded Avenging Angels, devoting his formidable skills to the progressive causes that were most dear to his heart. His passion for our values, his boundless energy and creativity, and his desire to see The Nation in the hands of more and more committed readers (not to mention his extreme generosity in working at a progressive pay scale) made us so much bigger and bolder. He created enormously successful TV spots for us at a time when no other magazine could make TV ads work; he conceived brilliant radio commercials that introduced The Nation to tens of thousands of enthusiastic progressives; his creativity enhanced our website and our print pages; and his agency continues to create our weekly magazine covers.

When Gene died unexpectedly on September 9, the progressive community lost a matchless champion. We will be forever grateful for his work, his feistiness, his humanity and his unflagging desire to make this country a better place. And even though Gene would never take all the credit for it, our circulation did double! Thanks, Gene. We’ll miss you.   TERESA STACK

SARAH COMES HOME: Some amazing news: Sarah Shourd, one of the Americans detained in Iran for more than thirteen months, was finally released on September 14 to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Her release was set in motion by the direct intervention of President Ahmadinejad. Iran’s Press TV reported that Shourd was released on $500,000 bail, though it is unclear who paid it, as the families were unable to raise the funds and the United States had refused to pay. According to her mother, Nora, Shourd had been struggling with depression and had been denied treatment for health problems, including precancerous cervical cells and a breast lump.

Meanwhile, an Iranian prosecutor announced that Shourd’s companions, Josh Fattal and Nation Institute Investigative Fund reporter Shane Bauer, would be detained for at least two more months. The Los Angeles Times reports that all three were formally charged this week with espionage and illegally entering Iran. But a joint investigation by The Investigative Fund and The Nation located eyewitnesses who said all three were arrested inside Iraqi territory and then detained by a rogue officer of the Revolutionary Guards. Authorities from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as all the editors who have worked with Bauer, have rejected the spying charges as ludicrous.

Masoud Shafie, the Iranian attorney representing the three, says he is pressing for Fattal and Bauer to be released on bail as well. Here’s hoping.   ESTHER KAPLAN

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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