Would it be worth the blood, sweat, and keystrokes necessary, if an online political pundit wrote a column comparing the passive aggressive tactics of the Republicans in the House and Senate to the autoworkers sit down strikes in the Thirties and then kicked back and waited to see that metaphor “go viral” on the Intenets?
What’s the payoff if a writer posts a column online about Germany’s Pirate Party three or four days before the New York Times publishes a piece about it on the OpEd Page?
After a severe cold interrupted the string of consecutive weekly political punditry columns, the World’s Laziest Journalist made a rash decision to go “cold turkey” and spend a week without accessing the Internets and to write the next column about the experience of going a week without a digital “fix.”
Don’t most Americans love to experience addiction vicariously? Maybe a week offline would produce something like “The Lost Weekend Column,” “The Man with the Golden Arms Deal Column,” or William Burroughs’s lost masterpiece, “The Naked Bunch” column?
Staying off the Internets for a week would mean delaying the opportunity to inform our audience about an update regarding the <a href =www.calpirateparty.org>California Pirate Party </a>. The California residents have a weekly chat room on Monday nights and the<a href =www.pirate-party.us>National Pirate Party</a> has a nation wide chat room on Tuesday nights. Maybe we could suggest a mock “Jack Sparrrow for President” movement and if they thought it would bring them publicity from the national mainstream media that suggestion could go viral. If no one else is going to offer them that idea won’t the “better late than never” rule apply?
During the “week in the penalty box,” we got the bright idea of sending an e-mail to Norm Goldman alerting him to the idea that we would write a column comparing Bishop Romney to MacHeath in “The Three Penny Opera.” If Norm liked the possibility of an opera that portrays beggars as thieves being a variation of Bishop Romney’s political philosophy, then maybe we’d hear a reference to the World’s Laziest Journalist on Goldman’s nationwide radio show. Aren’t the chances of that happening just about the same as our chances of getting an on air mention on the next Wolfman Jack broadcast?
What would happen if we wrote a column that asked the question: “Is the controversial online movie critical of the founder of the Muslim religion being used as a rationale for staging riots that are payback for the killing of Osama bin Laden?”
After buying the book “No man knows my history,” by Fawn M. Brodie (Alfred A. Knopf 1963), the World’s Laziest Journalist was intimidated by the task of reading all that material just to get a thumbnail sketch of the life of the founder of the Mormon religion; so we went to an encyclopedia in the Berkeley Public Library and learned that Joe Smith (will there be Mormon riots in the Middle East if this column is perceived to be disrespectful in its regard for that religion’s founding father?) kept the details of his biography well obscured and that he co-mingled the concepts of religion and politics with a political philosophy he called “theodemocracy” and that he left some investors feeling cheated in the wake of a church-bank experiment. Could Mitt be trying (consciously or unconsciously) to make the story of his life a duplicate of Joe Smith’s biography?
Many conservative commentators are completely disregarding St. Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment (“Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”) and dishing out some severe criticism of Bishop Romney’s campaign tactics. Should we pound out a column asking “What up wid dat?” or should we try something more unique such as attempting to find a common thread connecting the Republican Presidential Nominee’s political career with those of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and America’s Senator Paul Wellstone?
With the music group, Puss Riot, getting extensive news coverage, we noticed that Der Spiegel also reported recently that Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in the movie “Goldfinger,” has a supporting role in the new film “Cockneys vs. Zombies.”
Didn’t a famous newspaper columnist (Herbus Caenus?) in the era of Julius Caesar X once state that all web content falls into one of two categories: either bread or circuses? Hell’s bells, it ain’t no fun waiting around to become a nationally known pundit.
As the week progressed, we became more and more aware that getting access to the Internets was often a cure for boredom and that if we filled the lulls with books, we wouldn’t really have much need for going online.
We were beginning to think that for every perceptive and insightful posting online, there are tens of thousands of inane and asinine entries that praise some acquaintance’s effort to post a link to a video of a kitten dancing on a typewriter’s keyboard and tapping out a carbon copy of the first page of “Tropic of Cancer.”
On the night of Thursday September 20 to Friday September 21, we caught a local TV news broadcast that delivered the information that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would do a fly-by at the Golden Gate Bridge between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Friday morning. We calculated that if we got up early and took some busses, we could be in position for a great news photo opportunity before mid morning.
Fatigue, which may have been a residual effect of the aforementioned cold, convinced us that some extra sleep might be a better executive decision.
We had breakfast and then aimlessly wandered over to the area in Berkeley where the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory “campus” is located and had a chat with a fellow who was on a smoke break enjoying his cigarette amid some magnificent Indian Summer in Berkeley weather.
We heard an airplane and when we looked up there was the Space Shuttle Endeavor on top of a Boeing that was banking west for a landside approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. We wondered if the airplane’s itinerary had been selected as a way to pay tribute to the hard working staff at the Amalgamated Factory. Would the Government say they were paying tribute, instead, to a nearby weapons laboratory?
We pulled out our beloved Nikon Coolpix and commenced to avail our self of the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. The Nikon Coolpix viewing screen in daylight is not as clear and sharp as is the viewfinder image provided by a Nikon F, but that old reliable workhorse doesn’t fit into the front pocket of our jeans; so you go with whatcha got.
We have always been vaguely aware that watching something happened and taking photos of the same event are two different activities and so while we scrambled and fumbled with the various factors (such as a the telephoto zoom option and the hard to see screen) that needed our immediate attention, we sacrificed the option to just stand there and “drink in” the spectacle.
Simultaneously we had a variation of the St. Paul moment and our lifelong fascination with the category of philosophy called nihilism snapped into focus because we realized that we had thee options: A. We could suspend our weeklong experiment with Internets avoidance and immediately start the process of editing, preparing, and posting the images we had taken. B. We could maintain our boycott and post the results on Monday. C. We could skip over the results and put them away in our digital shoebox photo storage area. That was when we had the St. Paul epiphany moment. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of “the History of the World,” the result for all thee options was (in Texting talk) IDFM. (It Doesn’t F****** Matter!)
Posting on the Internets and Solipsism have a great deal in common. Often, posting a column is like delivering a grandiose soliloquy at a dress rehearsal.
LIFE magazine had been posting the best newsphotos of the day on their website, but they dropped that feature awhile back. We have been intending to write a column lamenting the lack of one major resource for still photos online.
The San Francisco Chronicle had a magnificent photo of the flyby at the Golden Gate Bridge on their front page Saturday morning. The shot will probably win more than a few regional photojournalism clip contest awards and become a historic image (similar to the shot of a Pan Am China Clipper doing the same thing) in the future. Our humble efforts pale in comparison.
The weeklong experiment provided the World’s Laziest Journalist with a reality challenge. In a country where a fellow who’s business experience seems to mimic the antics of the cartoon character Snidely Whiplash, and where that same fellow becomes the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee, who consistently gets fifty percent of likely voters to say they will vote for him; then the tendency to rely on nihilism to provide the narrative thread for the writer’s lifetime becomes expedient again. IDFM.
So why continue writing columns? We find it amusing to think that in the future some unknown (but pop culture savvy) historian will chortle over a snide online comment that asserts that Bishop Romney’s secret plan to end the Recession will ultimately remind some folks of a Twilight Zone episode that ended with the line: “It’s a cookbook1”
Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Darin’s song “Mack the Knife,” the Doors’ “Alabama Song,” and the Three Penny Opera. We have to go do some fact checking for a possible column on the current state of football in the USA. Have a “so what?” (Just like a noteworthy NY Daily News front page headline?) type week.