Coping with sporadic stints of volunteer file clerk typist duties for the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association down in the Los Angeles, while simultaneously trying to “get a handle” on some unfamiliar new topics in the San Francisco bay area caused a “Eureka!” moment for the World’s Laziest Journalist when a paradigm for all the diverse issues began to form.
During hard times what’s not to like about a sure-fire way to make a new fortune, reelect incumbents and bilk voters? Is there a common thread here connecting the long battle in the L. A. area with the new issues in theSan FranciscoBayarea? What if you can get politicians to give you free land for your business, get them to build the building where you will conduct your new enterprise, get some tax breaks thrown in if you can, and then soak the voters for as much of the money in their bank accounts as you possibly can? Wouldn’t you then feel obligated to use some of that loot, to subsidize the reelections of the politicians who handed you that windfall license to steal? Could Liberal pundits please call such campaign contributions “tithing” and not make snide remarks comparing the cash donations to “kick backs”?
We noticed this possible pattern recently after being asked if we could help the Marina Tenants Association write up an annotated report on the long close relation ship between real estate developers and various members of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to be submitted to the new California Attorney General.
Baseball fans inSan Franciscoare upset because the baseball team seems to be asking a city in theSouthBayarea to get some land, build a new baseball stadium, and then let the Giants baseball team move-in and charge more money for seats and season tickets. The fans for that baseball team think they are being exploited.
The folks urging government expenditures to lure theAmerica’s Cup boat races to the San Francisco Bay Area seem to be asking for the rights to develop various Piers after the city gives them the real estate. In return for the added recession era municipal expenditures such as additional traffic control and police work, the locals will (if they can’t use a helicopter, airplane, or yacht to get close up views of the competition) get the chance to buy expensive binoculars and telescopes, and thus boost some local businesses, if they want to try to get a glimpse of the race participants doing their high speed version of the Sunday duffers roaming about the bay.
Didn’t George W. Bush exploit his close connection with and access to the occupant of the White House to get land via eminent domain? Then didn’t he get the citizens ofTexasto subsidize building a stadium on that land? At that point, didn’t he help (in exchange for a bit of stock?) a group of businessmen buy a baseball team and move it into that very stadium? Eventually didn’t he sell his share of that team and make a tidy profit?
If you see a familiar pattern in these random examples of self made fortunes, then perhaps you need to consider seeking professional help to break you of this terrible propensity toward conspiracy theory lunacy.
Back to MTA problem. The invitation/challenge arrived when we were trying to “digest” a vast quantity of information of, by, and about the Beat Generation writers as part of the preparations for doing a column about a new book focusing on an assortment of relevant topics.
The challenge of writing something new, concise, and well documented using a vast array of newspaper articles that were published over a fifty year period seems daunting, to say the least. Concurrently reviewing information about writers and poets who felt that they were beat before they got their careers started, for a future column, conjures up comparisons to the old Myth of Sisyphus story.
The fact that all this is swirling around in the World’s Laziest Journalist’s “in box,” while efforts are being made to coordinate information about attempts to revive the Occupy Wall Street series of political actions while a suspected war criminal is getting a heart transplant begins to overload the “current topics” circuits.
Could the fact that the Conservative noise machine is drowning out all the concerns about wealth inequality getting worse be compared to the battle the Beats had in various courts for using words that were condemned for being “Obscene!”?
Could the uphill fight use the pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” as a basis for a comparison the futility of fighting the tsunami of Fox Propaganda? Isn’t trying to warn members of the proletariat that they seem to be voting against their own welfare when they vote Republican a lot like Dr. Miles J. Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) trying to convince his town that something bad is happening? Isn’t the blank look response in both cases identical?
Since this column is being written in the city that was, for many year, Philip K. Dick’s hometown, could we channel him to cook up a science fiction column describing how it would have been if the Beat writers had time traveled back to Berlin in 1935? Didn’t William L. Shirer describe in one of his books about life during the Third Reich era how Hitler told his associates when they entered the Chancellor’s office, that when he final left there they would carry him out on his shield? Isn’t that how the Republicans view their “mandate”?
The Bonus Army, Beatniks, and OWS protesters and the homeless seem to be connected by a long continuous series of aggravations for the ruling class.
Couldn’t the never ending efforts of the wealthy to train the little people to pay their taxes and not complain be compared to the work Sisyphus was assigned?
Could the “stand your ground” law be compared to legalizing lynching?
Some years ago (1994?), the Los Angeles Times made a commendable effort to draw attention to the fact that a cozy relationship existed between various real estate developers and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, but they were unable to neither instigate any legal investigations nor win a Pulitzer Prize for the series of stories they published.
It is flattering to be asked to make a new effort to do what they couldn’t accomplish, but the overwhelming feeling is that the next time we hear about Sisyphus’ rock, our response will be: “Been there; done that!”
It has come to our attention that some motorcycle gangs assert that if a person picks a fight with one member, the attacker will have to contend with the entire club membership to win the battle. Do the wealthy and the politician secretly hold that same philosophy?
It seems that if a tenants’ association attacks a group of politicians, they have to fight all the politicians to win any ground and if they do make any progress, a Republican majority in the United States Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional. Rest assured your attempts will be beaten down.
Why do the New York Giants play their home football games inNew Jersey?
Aren’t the Giants moving out ofSan Francisco?
Maybe we should write a column about the two big cites that lost a team called “The Giants”?
Remember how reassuring it was to hear Harry Harrison on WABC inform his audience he was broadcasting from the “GreatestCityin the world!”?
Who paid for the new stadium where the Yankees play baseball? Hmmm. Maybe before we go running off to the Marina Tenants Association offices, we should detour throughTimes Squareand do some additional fact finding? Wouldn’t that be a far, far better thing to do in a far away better place?
In “the Rolling Stone Book of the Beats,” Richard Meltzer, on page 72 of the paperback edition, wrote: “His (Jack Kerouac’s) actual bloody masterpiece, and one of the great, great works of the English language, is <I>Big Sur</I>.”
Now the disk jockey will play Ornette Coleman’s “Shape of Jazz to Come,” Slim Gaillard’s “Slim’s Jam,” and Cecil Taylor’s “Unit Structures.” We have to go look up the California Attorney General’s snail mail address. Have a “totally cool” week.