Posts Tagged ‘Ayn Rand’

The Case of the Missing Conspiracy Theory (Book)

May 31, 2013

“Conspiracy Theory in America” (University of Texas Press, Austin TX, © 2013) by Lance de Haven-Smith came to the attention of this columnist when it was spotted in the window of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and seemed worth the trouble of being granted an exception to the rule:  “We don’t buy books to review them” because we have been worried by the idea that if we don’t soon find a comprehensive encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, we will have to fill the gap in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory reference library by writing such a book and that would be a lot of work to undertake.

It turned out that the book wasn’t aimed at readers hoping to reap new and sensational disclosures for the “round up the usual suspects” list of conspiracy theories.  The “Conspiracy Theory” (AKA CT) label has become the equivalent of a chess game that involves the “Fool’s Pawn” strategy, in which a beginner plays a game that involves only three move.  The victim makes one unwise move and the game is over.

Lance deHaven-Smith bolsters his claim that the CIA used the “conspiracy theory” label to attack critics of the Warren Commission Report by providing a transcript of dispatch #1035-960. 

For debaters, the “Conspiracy Theory” label is the verbal equivalent of a come from behind walk-off grand slam in baseball.  Can’t you just imagine the voice of Mel Allen doing a play-by-play account of the debate?  “The Theorist asserts that one bullet can not possibly deliver that amount of damage to two victims and remain in (virtually) pristine condition. . . . the opposing debater steps to the plate.  Three on two out and the score is six to three against the ‘Official Version of the Truth’ team.  The pitch.  It’s a long drive to right.  The ‘Conspiracy Theory Lunatic’ charge is invoked! It’s outta here.  Home run!  End of debate!  The crowd goes wild as the batter (debater) trots around the bases.”

The defendants at Nuremberg were tried not for specific murders or incidents of torture, but (page 71) for “‘participating in the formulation or execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy’ to wage aggressive war.”

The book discusses the “conspiracy theory of the Fourteenth Amendment” which was promoted by Charles Beard and his wife Mary in 1927.  The “Corporations are people” move started long before the current members of the United States Supreme Court were sworn-in.

On page 107, readers are informed:  MWAVE is the name of the CIA station in Miami.  Wasn’t it actually JMWAVE (J M as in Jose Martine?).

In the back of the book, in Table 5.1, we learn on an unnumbered page that in 1968 “With RFK out of the way . . . Nixon is reelected.”  WTF?

On page 106 a sentence that spills over to the next page states that the Warren Commission findings are unchallenged.  Apparently the author is unaware of the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations


 or chose to completely ignore that Inquiry. 

Recently we found a used copy of “True Enough:  Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken N. J. © 2008) by Farhad Majoo and it asserts that the Swift Boater attack on 2004 Democratic Party Presidential Candidate John Kerry’s record in Vietnam was a “conspiracy theory” that aimed to turn the record of an undisputed war hero into the belief in a story of a dishonorable soldier who didn’t deserve the medals awarded to him.

Could these two books taken together convince an unbiased reader that in an era when no official explanation of baffling events can stand up to scholastic investigation that the government misleads voters with lies or are there valid gaps in reality that are due to occasional anomalies such as things not conforming to the scientific (them again!) laws of physics that get a temporary suspension during intensive moments of history that carry a tremendous emotional impact (“Back and to the left!”)?

The two books present an odd paradox.  In one instance in the deHaven-Smith book, the concept of “conspiracy theory” is used to dispel the effect facts might have on a debate, while Manjoo examines the fact that the Swift Boat vets didn’t supply any valid facts to change voters’ opinions about Kerry’s conduct in combat.  (“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. . . . He loved Big Brother.”)

“True Enough” is an entertaining and informative book length elaboration that concurs with the psychological investigation done by Simon and Garfunkel that was summed up thusly:  “ . . . a man hears what he wants to hear and all the rest is lies and jest . . . .”

We have also acquired a bargain used copy of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”  Disciples of St. Ayn Rand believe that capitalists were and continue to be benevolent philanthropists whose generous attitudes towards employees make the need for unions and strikes irrelevant, immaterial, and obsolete. Unfortunately the (Leftist?) folks who read about the Ludlow massacre, the Pullman strike, the Republic Steel strike (“Autopsies showed that the bullets had hit the workers in the back as they were running away; . . . .”  Op cit, page 392), and the Ford Motor Company strike, seem vulnerable to a more cynical attitude regarding duplicity and deception from captains of industry than the loyal fans of Ayn Rand do.

Zinn’s book makes a reader wonder:  If what you learn in history class was subjected to exaggeration, spin control, and rewriting, is it reasonable to expect the government to flat out lie about some events?

A copy of “It’s a Conspiracy!” written by “The National Insecurity Council” published by Earth Works Books of Berkeley CA in 1992 was acquired used for a bargain basement price.  It is a well done book but since there have been one or two more instances since 1992 where skeptics charge that the United States Government deliberately committed prevarications, a revised and update version of this work might be a good idea.  Whew!  Looks like we don’t have to write an encyclopedic overview of the topic of conspiracy theories after all! 

Will the questions being asked about the details surrounding the recent death of a suspect in Florida spawn a new conspiracy theory about a cover-up?

Recent news reports indicate that top secret American Military plans and designs have been acquired by hackers.  That news makes us wonder why the military didn’t use the services of the companies that designed and provided the unhackable electronic voting machines.  Was there a conspiracy to exclude them and use the inept people who let this scandalous electronic invasion occur?

Some skeptics who think that the “low ball the bid and be caught off guard by cost overruns that will provide the missing margin of profit” trend may, in the future, be invoked by the a low bid winner of a facet of California’s coveted “bullet train” project (that voters don’t want to subsidize) out in the dessert.  Cost overruns can always be explained away by the old “blindsided by reality” (i.e. “no one could possibly have foreseen . . .”) ploy.

Can allegations of unexpected “cost overruns” be classified as a subcategory of “conspiracy theory” and thereby be exempted from embarrassing witch hunt style investigations?

There is supposed to be a march from Oakland to Stockton, to publicize allegations of “police brutality” in the bankrupt city, starting at noon on Friday May 31, 2013.  The march is scheduled to start shortly after this column is posted.  Will critics contend that police brutality in that city is being covered up?  We’ll have to include an update on that topic in our column next Friday.

If we score a press pass, we’ll go to the Conspiracy Convention ( ) this weekend in Milpitas and write up our perception of it for next week’s column.

[Note from the Photo Editor:  Dueling perceptions is the crucial element for conspiracy theories, so it seems that a photo that shows what some people may see as a turtle and others may just call a manhole cover with chalk graffiti markings qualifies for being the photo to run with this column.  Is it an image of a turtle or does it show a manhole cover?]

Legend has it that Aimee Semple McPherson’s response to reporters who were skeptical of her explanation of her kidnapping was the famous line:  “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Now, the disk jockey will play (from the Twenties) “I Know that you know,” Peter and Gordon’s “Wrong from the start,” and Conway Twitty’s “It’s only make believe.”  We have to go put on our Gonzo Journalist disguise.  Have a “Just keep walkin’” type week.


Austerity Budgets for Fun and Profit

May 3, 2013

Conservatives, who were unaware that Fox ignored the fact that Dubya completely disregarded the principles of invasions established at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, have been very enthusiastic about the Fox effort to find out the facts about events related to an incident in Benghazi, Libya, which is where the threat of nationalizing British Petroleum’s holdings are rumored to have caused an investor with large amounts of stock in that company (a fellow who owns newspapers in Great Britain, Australia, and the USA?) to urge the company’s largest stock holder (AKA Queen Elizabeth) to use military means to protect their cash cow. 


The Fox team stonewalled criticism of George W. Bush but has suddenly had the journalistic St. Paul’s moment when they saw the chance to investigate a Democratic Party President for (possible) malfeasance regarding the attack in Benghazi.  Why do they have such different attitudes about Presidents from opposing parties?


Speaking of reviving the double standard, on Tuesday Uncle Rushbo took fiendish delight in repeatedly playing Larry Flynt’s endorsement of the Republican Congressional candidate in South Carolina, Mark Sanford, because of the family values conservative’s implicit endorsement of the double standard and exposure of hypocrisy in America regarding morals with a recent high profile love affair.  It wasn’t clear if Flynt was being sarcastic or ironic with his endorsement, nor was it clear if Uncle Rushbo was being ironic with his enthusiasm about Flynt’s endorsement. 


If President Obama makes a military move into the Syrian Civil War without calling for a vote in Congress, would the masters of the double standard forget that George W. Bush pulled two similar stunts, and call for the immediate impeachment of Obama for using illegal means (executive order) for starting a new war?


Uncle Rushbo is encouraging his listeners with a high school level of education to look down on the Democrats (with a college education?) as “low information voters.” 


Recently, while doing some fact checking on Ayn Rand, we noticed that she is not mentioned in any of the various “Beginners Guide for Dummkopfs” series of introductory books.  What’s up with that?  Could there be a conspiracy among scholastics to discredit her and keep her out of those comprehensive survey books?  Is that comparable to the fact that most compact histories of the United States fail to mention the reign of Emperor Norton? 


Is there a secret double standard in the world of academic Philosophy?  You are automatically disqualified if too many people buy and read your books?  If that’s the criteria would that mean that the author of “Mein Kampf” was also a disqualified Philosopher?


Would it be an example of the double standard if compassionate Christian conservatives insisted that leftist pundits had to produce grammatically flawless work while they enthusiastically approve the eloquence level of the President who mangled his thoughts with examples of grammatical errors that were hilarious?  Is there a double standard for articulation?


If the Republicans cringe when they are compared to Nazis and the Democrats have conniptions when they are accused of using Gestapo tactics, why doesn’t some University professor, whose area of expertise is the Third Reich, speak out with the tie breaking vote and say which of America’s political parties are putting the principles elaborated in “Mein Kampf” into action in America’s political arena?  Do both American Political Parties each have a double standard for judging allegations of being like Germany’s dominant political party in the Thirties?


Does the mainstream media care (or know) that most voters in California are very unenthusiastic about building a bullet train for the Golden State.  Supposedly the husband of one of California’s Senators owns a company that (reportedly) will play an integral (and very profitable) role in the historic upgrade effort.  Our efforts to fact check that allegation have been unsuccessful.  Doing a Google News search was very futile.  It seems like the Democrats in California have a double standard regarding the appeal of an obvious boondoggle.


Is there a Double standard for news coverage of protests?  Would an anti-war rally that attracts a million people and had no violence, injuries, or arrests get more coverage than a small march with some smashed windows, broken bones, and arrests?


In a Democracy, can the citizens be forced to pay for a Bullet Train that the majority doesn’t want?  In a Democracy would the President start a war the voters don’t want?  It looks like the citizens of the USA are going to get the XL pipeline whether they want it or not.


Do Republicans have a double standard regarding the care of wounded veterans?  Benefits for vets are a commendable endeavor before a new war starts and then are subjected to sequester cuts when the wounded vets come home?


Is there an unspoken double standard in the world of journalism?  Does the kid who mumbled the f-bomb word in North Dakota have to embrace the “rugged individual” school of achievement and start at the bottom of the ladder while rookies like Luke Russert, one of the Bush twins, and Chelsea Clinton start at the network headquarters?


Speaking of Texas, we noticed that the New York Times quoted Barbra Bush’s response to a question about JEB’s turn in the White House by saying “ . . . we’ve had enough Bushes.”


Would disregarding his mother’s opinion help JEB establish an image of him as the political version of a rebellious youth?  Are the Republicans going to use the “cross the red line” as an excuse to promote an image of Jim Backus in an apron to goad Obama into stretching the boundaries of Dubya’s “Forever War” to include Syria?


Will the image of a reluctant JEB be used to set the stage for a carefully orchestrated campaign in the mainstream media to get him to accede to a public outcry to accept a draft nomination in 2016?  What are the latest British bookie odds on JEB?


Would the do nothing party goad Obama into a war with Syria that would destroy America just to see Obama’s legacy ruined?  Is that a double standard of patriotism?


Meanwhile over on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, the staff has been alerted to a move to switch to a higher level of activity and that all leaves and vacations are being canceled to start work on new explanations to prove that some nefarious plot was unfolding recently.  In the radical left wing (is that ironical or what?) of the main building, some extremists are pointing out that since some “fine tuning” of the chemicals in cannabis sativa are producing some very specific psychological reactions, a new possibility for accelerating the dumbing down of the USA exists.  Could it be, they ask, that in a manner similar to the fluoride conspiracy theory “they” are dumping chemicals into America’s water supply that cause people to become more bellicose, belligerent, and argumentative?  Are psychologists calling it the “McLaughlin” effect?


Are the members of the mainstream media analyzing the implications of the challenge of assembling a detonator or when it comes time for them to do that do they suddenly switch to some innocuous bit of information that is interesting, possibly humorous, and completely irrelevant?


Is it true that a restaurant in San Francisco is about to become involved in a scandal that alleges they have been substituting horsemeat as the main ingredient in their dog soup?


Saturday, May 4, will bee National Comic Book Day featuring some free comic books at locations around the USA.  It is (coincidentally?) also Kentucky Derby Day. 


[Note from the Photo Editor:  The May Day Protest Parade in Oakland was very low key and lacking in news value, but the photos that the World’s Laziest Journalist took at that event are the only available images with some “news value,” so we figure using them is better than not using any at all.]


“I’m endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today,” was Larry Flynt’s effort to win the “quote of the week” competition for the Kentucky Derby week.


Recently we suggested that Willie Nelson should sing a duet with Mick Jagger.  The disk jockey recently found on Youtube a version of the perfect Derby Day song, “Dead Flowers,” featuring Willie and Keith Richards so he’ll start us out with that and follow it with Peter Paul and Mary’s “Stewball,” and Spike Jones’ “Beetlebomb.”  We have to go make some bets.  Have a “Mad Men” type week.

Bombs, Bullets, and Books

April 26, 2013

“The Third Bullet” (Simon & Schuster New York © 2013) by Stephen Hunter is a fictional account of an investigation by a former U. S. Marine Corps sniper named Bob Lee Swagger into the murder of President John F. Kennedy.  Since this is the year of all gun chat all the time on talk radio and since this year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy in Dallas Texas on November 22, we were pleasantly surprised to learn of the existence of this new installment in a series of mystery-adventure novels about a fellow who is loosely based on the legendary Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock because it seemed that none of the trolls who dominate the national discussion on guns has mentioned this new book.  We have read several of the preceding installments in the series and were aware that the book would contain some very detailed technical information about guns and bullets.  Suffice it to say that this new book blends accurate details of known American history with some speculation in a manor that is both entertaining and thought provoking. 


Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent,” which describes the anarchy caused by bomb throwing Bolsheviks and was published in 1907, is based on a true life incident that occurred in London in 1894 but it still has that “ripped from today’s headlines” aura of relevancy to it.  We wonder if teachers will urge their students to read this example of American Literature.  Conrad’s novel “Under Western Eyes,” is an almost century old look at the world of political fanatics in Russia.  What’s old is new and these two old books may start selling again.


“Twilight at the World of Tomorrow,” (Ballantine Books New York © 2010) by James Mauro tells the story of the use of a bomb by terrorists at the Great Britain Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair on July 4, 1940.  There had been other bomb incidents at that time in the New York City which were caused by a union dispute.   This bit of New York City terrorism remains an unsolved mystery.


“Live Fast, Die Young (The Wild Ride of Making ‘Rebel without a Cause’)” by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel (Touchstone © 2005) just happened to be the next book on our recreational “in” pile as pundits around the world faced the task of doing a weekend wrap-up for the week that included the Boston Marathon Bombing.  In that book, we learned (on page 79) that on the G. E. Theater episode titled “The Dark, Dark Hour,” James Dean worked with Ronald Reagan.    


In a world where folks can see hundreds of cops standing around (on OT?) doing nothing, while the air traffic controllers are taught the pragmatic reasoning behind the move that destroyed their union, some cynics think that it may just be the latest installment in the long history of the anarchy caused by bomb throwers.


Did the folks on all Gun Chat radio all the time notice that while the police searched for the bombers, Sen. Harry Reid was saying “gun control legislation is dead for this year.”


Will the capitalist business owners in Boston charge employees who missed work on the day of the lockdown with a vacation day or will they cry “sequester cuts!” and declare that it was a one day sequester event and they need not pay for it?  How many will be magnanimous and pay regular salary for the missed work day?


Boston dominated the news but KPFA reported that something bad may have happened at Guantanamo the Saturday before Patriots’ Day.  Naturally the mainstream media ignored that and other important stories. 


A fellow who was arrested for sending poison to politicians was released and can resume his career as the most famous Elvis impersonator alive.


If the Butthead and Bevis duo used cell phone technology to detonate the backpacks, did they also learn how to do that from material they found on the Internets?  If not who mentored them?  If the two brothers were enrolled in Terrorism 101, will President Obama pull a Dubya and invade the campus and destroy the school?  If the American military is spread too thin, then does it not follow that the investigation must conclude that the older brother, Lee Harvey Tsarnaev duped his younger brother into being part of the gang of two and that they acted alone?

Now that the story is out that Syria has used poison gas after President Obama warned them not to do that, he seems to be caught in a classic binary choice familiar to barroom brawlers:  “Throw a punch or shut up and go away.”  Will President Obama and the Syrian leader now do a political version of the “chickie run” sequence in “Rebel without a Cause”?

If Obama sends American troops to get involved in that country’s Civil War, will Kim Jung Un get bolder thinking that Obama has run out of troops to send abroad?

Will Obama back up former President Bush’s threat to deal severely with any country that provided a training ground for any terrorists who would subsequently attack the USA or will he find out that the military is stretch too thin to back up that old warning with the promised action?

After seeing the spectacle of Boston being brought to a complete halt for a day by two young bomb throwers, cynics are asking:  “Will their quick apprehension serve as an effective deterrent or will it act as a catalyst inspiring copycats to make many more well publicized political statements with bombs?”  Will historians say that the boys from Chechnya opened the flood gates for a hoard of Mongol copy cats?

Has one other news item, the slipped past most of the mainstream media?  According to the Los Angeles Times, more charges have been filed against the County Assessor.

Since Dubya was notorious for not putting anything on paper we have always wondered what will be displayed at the Bush Presidential Library.  Apparently all the e-mails from fans will be one of the major attractions.

In the recently published book, “Ayn Rand Explained,” (Open Court Chicago © 3013) readers are informed (on page 17):  “Ideas, values, and behavior which we would reasonably think were wrong because they lead to the destruction of life are considered as acceptable as any others.”  What will conservatives do if it turns out that Tamerlin Tsarnaev was an avid Ayn Rand fan?  Could it be that he wore a WWJGD (What Would John Gault Do?) bracelet?

The guy, A. J. Clemente, who dropped the “F-bomb” on his debut as a news anchor in Bismarck, North Dakota, got invited onto the Letterman and Today TV shows, but our attempts to just find the name of his co-host, who remained composed and continued doing her job, were inconclusive.  Did A. J. read “Atlas Shrugged”?  Have American kids learned yet that “Incompetence Rules!” and that the old philosophy “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” would make a better motto for use on the money use by the USA.

Did the debate over “Miranda Rights” precipitate a situation where the prosecution’s case in the trial of the Boston Bomber is compromised before the opening statements are made?

Is an online pundit, who lives in Berkeley CA, being facetious and critical of the Democrat in the White House when he sports a 1940 Wendell Wilkie political button that proclaims:  “No Third Term”?

Speaking of the New Deal, we are working on getting more details about an effort to establish a <a href>New Deal Museum</a>.  With our luck the assignment editor for the features desk at the New York Times will read this column, scoop us, and save us a bunch of work.

According to “Live Fast, Die Young,” in early 1955, after being inured in a car wreck, actress Natalie Wood summoned movie director Nicolas Ray to her hospital room.  A Hollywood legend was born (page 40) when she (allegedly) whispered in his ear:  “They called me a goddamn juvenile delinquent.  Now do I get the part?”

Now the disk jockey will play the new Boston anthem, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” a memorial playing of Ritchie Havens’ “Freedom,” and a memorial playing of George Jones’ “He stopped loving her today.”  We have to go find a good Walpurgis Night Party to crash.  Have a “Why do we do this, Buzz” type week.

It seems like just the other day . . .

August 23, 2012

Finding a <a href =>

story on the Hispanic Business website</a> about a trust fund that the Republican Party’s presumptive Vice Presidential nominee had “forgotten” seemed like a good topic for a column but since the Republican Party’s “presumptive” nominee has based his campaign on his business record and has refused to release his tax records which would clarify questions about his qualifications for the Presidency, and since that clever bit of coyness seems sufficiently alluring to earn the fellow a virtual tie in polls; we deem the prospect of doing the work to produce a column that offers intelligent analysis of the implications of an overlooked trust fund an example of absurdity for inclusion in the Dadaism Hall of Fame.

The fact that this week’s polls show that the Presidential race is a toss-up, means that the only people who will question the final results that are produced by the electronic voting machines in November will be conspiracy theory lunatics.  It also means that it is too late to present facts which might help informed citizens change their mind about which candidate will get their votes.  As the croupier would say when the roulette ball hits the wheel:  “No more bets!”  The die is cast.  It’s time to write columns about sailing ships (the America’s Cup competition has started in San Francisco Bay), sealing wax, cabbages, and kings.

Would people who doubt the existence of global warming because it is based on the opinions of scientists be likely to consider the validity of an effort to use Schrödinger’s cat as a metaphor that explains the three card Monty game Mitt Romney is playing with his tax returns?  “Ah, hah, Mr. Romney. you have the Maltese cat?  You are a card, sir.”

We sent a link to the forgotten trust fund story off to radio talk show host Mike Malloy because he has more media clout and a bigger audience.

People seem to find the fact that TMZ found and published a photo of Paul Ryan without a shirt more interesting than the forgotten trust fund (or the completely ignored story about Paul Ryan’s girlfriend while he was in college.  [Google News Search hint:  “Paul Ryan girlfriend college”]  Keli Goff at The Root seems the reporter who got the scoop)

We have been intending to shift the focus of our columns to feature topics such as the effect the death of singer Scott McKenzie might have on tourism in San Francisco because that, at least, might lure some new readers from across the big pond, to this website.

Tourists from all over the world arrive in San Francisco and, equipped with maps, and then go walking around the various neighborhoods trying to imagine what it was like being there in the past during the Beatnik era.

Back in the Sixties, one had to dig deep to learn that the area around the Bus Stop bar had been called “Cow Hollow.”  That was the past.  The Beatniks had come (the location of the legendary Six Gallery was about three or four blocks away) and gone but who cared about the writers from the past when everyone was hip to Flip Wilson’s comedy routine about “The Church of What’s Happening Now!”

Learning to drive a stick shift V-dub on the streets of San Francisco at the time when folks were still chuckling because of Bill Cosby’s comedy routine on that very topic wasn’t funny because you could very easily get into a car crash whilst learning to make the deft maneuvers with the clutch pedal and the brakes.  Yeah, forty years later it may seem amusing, but not when it was actually “going down.”  There were laws governing how the front wheels of a car had to be positioned when parking on one of the famed hills.

Who cared about Beatniks when the cast recording of “Hair” was ubiquitous?  Beats were from a different decade.  Jack Kerouac was an old man in his forties reportedly living in Florida.  The Mamas and the Papas, the Doors, and the Jefferson Airplane were young and most likely would be playing a gig at the Filmore West very soon.

Back in the Fifties, when the Beat Generation in San Francisco was a popular media topic, the beats would have been talking about topics such as:  the Bay area disk jockey Don Sherwood, Herb Caen’s columns, and the arrival of the New York Giants at their new west coast home.

The beatniks had had their day and when the hippie era arrived it was time to enjoy KFOG and KABL radio, read Herb Caen’s columns, talk about Benny Bafano’s sculptures, see the Fantasticks, and voice an opinion about the War in Vietnam.

Young folks who stay this summer at the San Francisco Civic Center hostel will see a poster listing the lineup at the Filmore, for a concert on the 1969 Labor Day weekend.  They can look at the poster and just try to imagine what it would have been like to be able to go see that show.  About three and a half years ago, we were in that hostel, looking at that poster and thinking that very thing:  “Wow!  What would it have been like to be in San Francisco that weekend and have the option of seeing that show?”  Then we remembered, we had been seriously considered buying a ticket to that particular show until we got the chance to spend that weekend going for a job interview at the newspaper published in South Lake Tahoe.

On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, while doing some fact checking in the Beatnik North Beach neighborhood, we noticed a local artist using masking tape to make some political statements.

The map wielding tourists were searching for Beatnik ghosts and ignoring a fellow who was doing some street art.  We wondered if, forty years from now, tourists would be wandering around the same neighborhood wondering what it would have been like to stop and chat with Elvis Christ.  Since we can’t rationally expect to have that opportunity in 2052, we decided to take some photos and asked about him and his work now whilst we had the chance.

When we started back to the Transbay Bus Terminal, we encountered a photographer named “Grant” who had been shooting an assignment at the City Lights Bookstore for Interview magazine.  He had been taking photos of the store owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was also a poet, a book publisher, and a genuine member of the group of pioneers who started the Beat Era back in the Fifties.

It would have been a great photo-op if we could have gotten the chance to take some pictures of Grant and his subject, but it has always been a tenant of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s philosophy that (as they used to say in the Sixties) you have to stop and smell the (pop culture) flowers  along the way.  “Be here, now!”

Writing about the pop culture is similar to writing about horse racing.  In the future, historians will look back on the summer of 2012 and focus on specific stories which will have become significant factors for inclusion in books about the election of the President in that year, but for a columnist trying to writing about the summer of 2012 as it is happening; an encounter with Elvis Christ will provide a desperation chance to solve the weekly dilemma “What will this week’s column be about?”

Ayn Rand has said:  “Whoever tells you to exist for the state is, or wants to be, the state.”

Now, the disk jockey will play a Pussy Riot album, a Jefferson Airplane album, and Scott McKenzie’s “(If you’re going to San Francisco) Wear a flower in your hair.”  We have to go check out the column potential of the Blackhawk Auto Museum.  Have a “California Dreaming” type week.