Note: This post has been updated with an additional Pulitzer claim.
This is one of those relatively unimportant stories, but one I found interesting as a sort of microcosm of the fringe history movement. It concerns our friend Treasure Force Commander J. Hutton Pulitzer, who recently claimed to have “100% confirmed” proof of a Roman sword discovered at Oak Island in Canada, and who more recently heavily implied that skeptics of his claims were the moral equivalent of Islamic State terrorists. For reasons I can’t quite fathom, I started reading J. Hutton Pulitzer’s official curriculum vitae, published in 2014 as J. Hutton Pulitzer Curriculum Vitae: Autodidacticism, written by Chris Cline.
While Pulitzer is not the author of the volume, it was clearly produced with his endorsement. He claims copyright for the text on the book’s copyright page. The author claims to be in awe of Pulitzer’s “genius,” describing him in glowing terms that apparently do not include spell check or basic Word formatting, since the book, like many Pulitzer products, is error-ridden and badly laid out. It’s also no longer for sale, for reasons unexplained.
The book was published under the name of the National Treasure Society, an organization represented by a single blog post from 2009, and the Cacheology Society of America, another organization lacking much information. Both are referenced online only in conjunction with Pulitzer and his associates. Neither had its name trademarked, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. According to the Dun & Bradstreet credit reporting agency, the Cacheology Society is a limited liability corporation based in Dallas, Texas. The Texas Comptroller’s Office, however, does not have a listing for the company as a taxable entity. That would be because the company is actually registered in the state of Utah, where it was established in June 2010 and renewed its registration last April.
I guess that as the official publisher of Pulitzer’s many books, this corporation might be the legal entity Pulitzer referenced to me when he demanded I remove a photograph for my website. At that time, he claimed that he assigns all of his copyrights to a company. However, there is no way to know whether this is indeed the corporation since Pulitzer is associated with more than one company. In fact, the National Treasure Society is also a limited liability corporation based in Dallas and registered in Utah, and, confusingly, it shares publisher duty on many of Pulitzer’s books. It was founded in April 2010.
Unfortunately, Utah requires payment to find more information about the corporations, and I’m not interested enough to give them money. So, to return to Pulitzer’s curriculum vitae:
In the book-length celebration of Pulitzer’s “genius,” the fifth chapter claims that Pulitzer was the recipient of the “Smithsonian Laureate Award,” later specifying this as the “Laureate Medal – Media, Arts, and Entertainment.” But the text of the chapter doesn’t back that up, instead claiming that Pulitzer’s CueCat bar code reader was selected as one of the Computerworld case studies in business for 2001.
This is different still from how Pulitzer characterized the award in a 2011 blog post: “In 2001, CueCat, DigitalConvergence and J Hutton Pulitzer, the Inventor, was (sic) awarded the coveted Smithsonian – ComputerWorld – ‘Search For New Heroes Award.’” This is different yet again from how he described his award in late 2015 in promoting his upcoming books on the Roman sword: “Commander J Hutton Pulitzer won the Smithsonian Laureate Award for being the ‘Person Most Likely to Change Society as we know it...’”
The program in question was the Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Awards, which were instituted in 1990 and continued until 2001, when the Smithsonian severed all ties with the awards program. The awards continued under the Computerworld moniker thereafter. According to Computerworld, each year a series of businesses, individuals, and programs were designated finalists for the Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program, and case studies in their business or nonprofit ventures were deposited in the Smithsonian as a record of their innovations and accomplishments. “Finalists selected for further recognition during that first decade of the Honors program were designated as recipients of Computerworld Smithsonian Awards,” Computerworld explained.
The Smithsonian did not have direct involvement in administering the awards. Instead, honorees were selected by a group of their business peers.
To puzzle this out required a little bit of work. Last week I asked Computerworld to help clarify things, but as of this writing I have not received a response from the magazine. This is what I have been able to find so far.
According to Computerworld’s official list of winners, the actual top award for the Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program in the category of Media, Arts, and Entertainment went to the Jim Henson Creature Studio in 2001. Because I wasn’t sure whether the awards given out in 2001 were labeled 2001 or 2000, I also checked the 2000 awards, and that category’s award went to Real Networks.
But here is where it gets complicated: According to the Computerworld Honors online archives of the case studies, a company named JD Edwards actually did nominate CueCat and DigitalConvergence (but not Pulitzer the man) for the Media, Arts, and Entertainment award, and the CueCat did indeed achieve “laureate” status. However, while it was one of 311 nominees (“laureates”) whose case studies were submitted to the Smithsonian, it was not (so far as I can tell) singled out for further recognition and thus not a Computerworld Smithsonian Award winner under the definitions Computerworld used to define winners in 2001. According to the website and press release, the pool of laureates was narrowed down to five finalists, and one was selected as the award winner. Here is the list of the “finalists” for each category that year.
I am happy to correct this if anyone can find evidence that CueCat was indeed selected as an award winner, but nothing in the Computerworld Honors archives or press releases indicates that it was. By the way, the “Search for New Heroes” was not the name of the award but its slogan and the title of the annual journal in which case studies were published.
Computerworld began using CueCat codes in its magazine on May 14, 2001. Not long after, a massive security breach and a lack of consumer interest in the product led to the collapse of CueCat, resulting in around $185 million in losses to investors, which included NBC, Coca-Cola, and RadioShack, according to published accounts I found in books, magazines, and the Wall Street Journal.
So, overall, the claim given in the book is partially true and partly false. Pulitzer did not win the “Smithsonian Laureate Medal,” but his company, CueCat, was named a laureate of the Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program, along with many others.
The book goes on to claim that “As a result of winning the Laureate Award, Pulitzer’s Life Work is available for Study at the following Academic Institutions…” (capitalization in original) with a list of dozens of major universities. This is also a partially true claim. The universities listed subscribed to the Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program and received printed copies of each year’s case studies for their libraries. The case study was for CueCat, not Pulitzer. (I read it, in all its boring puffery.) This would be like me saying that my “life work” is available for study in hundreds of university libraries just because they bought copies of one my books.
1/4/2016 11:35:22 am
Looks like just another guy trying to inflate his honors and credentials. It's a bit more difficult to make these claims in an age where people can, with relative ease, research claims being made and discover the truth.
1/4/2016 11:54:58 am
His embellishments put Scott Wolters little 'ol Coffee Cup Masters to shame.
1/4/2016 12:05:46 pm
You forgot to mention his important work curing cancer, his Nobel Peace Prize for bringing stability to the Middle East, and his status as the first person ever to do XRF work on Neptune.
1/4/2016 12:15:29 pm
Also, he is probably a Notary Public, so he's got that going for him and also a library card from Elmira, New York.
1/4/2016 12:21:07 pm
Library card? What would he use that for? Don't be silly.
1/9/2016 01:17:45 am
Ah, but was he Blackboard Monitor as well?
1/4/2016 01:05:06 pm
Andy, did not J. Hutton Pulitzer himself write in correspondence directly to you, or during one of your facebook/twiter exchanges before he banned you, or as a comment on a blog post on your site, http://www.andywhiteanthropology.com/blog, that he was indeed a “Smithsonian Laureate Award” winner and that his "works" were taught or available for study in hundreds of universities worldwide?
1/4/2016 01:28:52 pm
I'll check the comments of the "Philyaw Follies" post when I get back to my other computer. It is currently busy scanning the Design Toscano sword and I don't want to bump the table.
1/4/2016 02:39:11 pm
This was one of his comments:
1/4/2016 03:06:45 pm
Thank you Andy, that certainly removes his "wiggle room" or any possible backpedaling.
1/4/2016 12:34:50 pm
If he is doing business in Texas, he is required to report income to the comptroller and pay sales tax, if he collected any.
1/4/2016 12:49:41 pm
"Not long after, a massive security breach and a lack of consumer interest in the product led to the collapse of CueCat, resulting in around $185 million in losses to investors, which included NBC, Coca-Cola, and RadioShack, according to published accounts I found in books, magazines, and the Wall Street Journal."
1/4/2016 01:41:20 pm
I must say you are extremely generous in your sympathy towards him. My sympathies in this CueCat fiasco are allotted to RadioSchak, a company I fondly remember doing business with from the late 50's on into the early 80's, purchasing many items from my first pocket transistor radio to various electronic kits to adapters and cables for my stereo.
1/4/2016 02:04:23 pm
Eh, what can I say? I feel compassion towards all living things, my good chum.
1/4/2016 01:45:06 pm
That's why I made sure I actually bought my PhD in Medieval Metaphysics from Miskatonic U. Anyone questioningit, I can show them the hard copy.
1/4/2016 07:37:18 pm
Is it written in a script more ancient than the stars, the likes of which drives men to madness?
1/10/2016 11:03:33 pm
I'm more curious about what it's written on. *Shudder*
1/4/2016 03:29:36 pm
>>> Abbé Augustin Barruel, a Jesuit conspiracy theorist who argued in 1797 that the French Revolution was an anti-Catholic and anti-monarchist conspiracy orchestrated by the Illuminati and the Freemasons.<<<
1/4/2016 03:37:49 pm
The whole subject matter of Freemasonry and its historical role needs to be re-evaluated anew from an objective and impartial position.
1/4/2016 08:04:03 pm
Ran Halévi, Les Loges maçonniques dans la France d'Ancien Régime aux origines de la sociabilité démocratique, Paris: Armand Colin, 1984
1/4/2016 07:06:53 pm
Apparently, no one told MeagerFarce Pretender that the Smithsonian is the lynchpin for all fringe claims of conspiracy and suppression of historical discovery.
1/4/2016 07:27:43 pm
I just found this on his promo page for his book(s) about the Roman sword, "Solomon's Secret" and "Commodus' Secret":
1/4/2016 07:36:37 pm
Including his name
1/4/2016 07:58:49 pm
I noticed he claims he's "one of the Top 50 Inventors of all time." It's funny...when I looked into this bold claim, I found this:
1/4/2016 09:03:52 pm
1/5/2016 11:53:48 am
The main difference between the Edsel and the CueCat is that the Edsel did/does work. It was a marketing failure and ugly. The CueCat was a failure because it didn't work.
1/5/2016 11:21:37 am
Time magazine concurs:
1/19/2016 09:35:52 pm
I would disagree. As a computer professional and hobbyist I ordered at least 5 CueCats as they were FREE! Once a hack was produced to turn it into a "standard" barcode reader, I opened the boxes and used them to catalog my VHS tapes and floppy disks. I think thatbthey finally went to the recycle location when I moved last, about 4 years ago. Had I known it was essentially a collectable I would have hung on to them.
1/4/2016 10:34:16 pm
>>>Fringe History Movement
1/4/2016 10:40:04 pm
There's a Police File in Scotland where the main suspect of a murder is an alien from Outer Space and the Police Commissioner went on film in a documentary to state that. You can't get more fringe than that. And that's within established society.
1/5/2016 12:39:24 am
Sure. Why not? Scott Reaney's grown boring enough for the moment, so we'll take a swing at disassembling your idiotic argument.
1/5/2016 04:28:17 am
My take away from your comments is...well, yeah.
1/5/2016 08:11:56 am
DoD gave up on the Remote Viewing and Psychic Warfare research decades ago, but fringers continue bringing it up as though it's current.
1/5/2016 07:34:24 pm
Cue Cat being awarded something is not an endorsement. His bragging rights to the company he worked for, which then later failed, doesn't prove him a winner. Just saying.
1/5/2016 08:07:55 pm
CueCat was nominated but didn't win (nor even make the finals) is what I took out of the article. All that means is that they got someone on the panel to send in a write up on them. Not exactly a major achievement. Especially considering they had backing from companies like Radio Shack.
1/6/2016 05:30:36 pm
There was a point in time when the tech was released that someone else had claimed they built the concept and technology and it was summarily taken and they were threatened with legal action. Reference the comments about a stalker publicly made, as they are still used when people question his motives more than once.
1/10/2016 09:29:40 am
I have a :CueCat and for a while it was the best way of reading barcodes for keeping track of my book purchases. I had no idea that it was available so cheaplybecause of a massive business failure.
1/19/2016 09:42:40 pm
I got mine for free as the original idea was to scan a barcode from the associated magazine, ComputerWorld, and it would launch your browser and take you to a website like QRCodes of today. I suspose the idea was to sell the idea to other magazines, but for fairly obvious reasons it wasn't a big success.
1/10/2016 10:26:34 am
Read this; particularly the opening line when you get to the J. Jovan Philyaw section regarding cuecat. Hand to forehead when I saw it actually was shaped like a cat.
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