The Hollywood recipe of sex, high speed car chases, and shootouts, used to attract large numbers of young men to movie theaters during the summer months occasionally boils over into real life and when it does it precipitates a cavalcade of clichés for both the pro and anti gun pundits who automatically proceed to the “round up the usual suspects” mode of operation. Attempting to write a remarkably eloquent example of argumentation for either point of view brings to mind a quote made famous by Inspector (Dirty) Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood): “a man’s got to know his limitations.”
American culture offers such an abundance of pop culture items for relevant allusions that it provides a book manuscript level of possible material and since this will be a quick read column meant to incite readers to do their own analysis rather than offer an “off the rack” set of tailored opinions, we will try to present something that is both unique and thought provoking.
One of the world’s laziest journalist’s recurring complaints is that regimented thinking has become too standardized in mainstream media and we noted with some satisfaction that our subjective reaction to the initial onslaught of news was to wonder how many of the pundits who tackle the subject will use the idea that the shooter obviously needed to get laid as the basis for a column suggesting that the fellow was a poster boy for the idea that prostitution should be legalized.
One of the victims, Jessica Ghawi, was a remarkable rookie sports reporter whose brother asked for a boycott of the perp’s name and so we will not use the name of the young man who methodically attempted to execute an entire movie audience. She was, according to several news reports, a vivacious and talented person who embodied what the French call <I>joie de vivre</I> (joy of living). We have been intending to write a column about that French philosophical concept and realize the poignant fact that the victim epitomized the philosophy that every day is a precious gift and should be appreciated accordingly. We will hoist a glass of our favorite non-alcoholic drink in her memory this weekend.
The kid who is now in custody and awaiting trial, it seems to this columnist, needed some love and sex to suppress his antisocial impulses. We wondered what would have happened if fate had supplied the shooter with a dynamic girlfriend instead of a compulsion.
Many of the news reports about the shooter’s first appearance in court noted that the fellow looked dazed and confused. None of the accounts specifically used the phrase “drug addled moron,” but that seemed to be the consensus opinion of the journalists. It made us wonder: since the fellow had been in custody since early Friday morning, did the District Attorney prescribe heavy sedation for the defendant to prevent the culprit from going berserk Monday as a way of providing a foundation for an insanity plea defense?
During the week, Ted Nugent speculated about how different things might have been if some other members of the movie audience had been strapped (i.e. carrying firearms). When Australian fugitive Ned Kelly was apprehended, he was wearing home made armor and he sustained more than two dozen wounds before he was subdued. Apparently Nugent’s speculation included a magical bullet with a mythological ability to be unencumbered by the restrictions of the laws of physics and would have sent the mass murderer to an early grave.
Could Chuck Norris have delivered such a hypothetical example of perfect marksmanship in the midst of the mass confusion?
Obviously Ted Nugent deserves a place on Mitt Romney’s short list of potential running mates.
Premeditated anonymity for the shooter, in accordance with the wishes of Ms. Ghowi’s brother, caused us to wonder just how many Americans can supply the name of the assassin (Charles Guiteau) who shot President James A. Garfield or the fellow (Leon Czolgosz) who shot President William McKinley. It would take a trivia champ to name the guy (Gavrilo Princip) who shot Archduke Ferdinand and precipitated the mass carnage of WWI.
That, in turn, reminded us that there was a second Congressional investigation to augment the Warren Commission Report into the shooting of President Kennedy and the lesser known study concluded that there was more than one person involved in the assassination in Dallas. Some conspiracy theory scholars suggest that the fellow who shot President Lincoln may have had some help from unknown people who were accessories to the crime.
Just about everything the world’s laziest journalist knows about snipers was learned while reading the novels of movie critic Stephen Hunter. That, in turn, inspired us to read the biography of Carlos Hathcock, a U. S. Marine Corp sniper who killed a Viet Cong general with a shot from 2,000 yards away.
His name sparked us to remember that a poker hand of aces and eights has a special significance for people who are fascinated by the history of the American West.
At this point while doing the keystrokes for the rough draft for this column, caroming off on a tangential topic about which shots are morally acceptable and which are not has a powerfully appealing aspect, but we will address that topic some other day in a future column and continue objectively assembling a collection of gun related items for this particular column.
It seems very unlikely that corporate media will permit any of their indentured propagandists to dwell on the fact that the shooter had a college degree and was overqualified to work the “want a side order of fries with your burger?” jobs available.
If the police found any books by Marx or Engels in the shooter’s apartment, Uncle Rushbo & Co. will be jubilant. Have the conservative pundits ever noted that the Tea Party movement in the USA strongly echoes the Black Hundred political movement in Tsarist Russia?
Some pundits have suggested that the shooter wanted fame and media attention and point out the culprit’s dyed hair as proof that the fellow was bonkers and willing to go to extremes to gain attention. Have any of these expert pundits walked around in a college town lately? If they have they will learn that the War in Vietnam has ended since they graduated and that some young folks these days sport hair dyed green, purple, or gray. Have any of the musicians who pioneered the punk rock genre and used the retro Iroquois haircut started to go bald?
After hearing some recent news reports indicating that a majority of young people want to be famous, we stumbled upon a curious link connecting Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson. Biographers indicate that all three considered being a famous celebrity a curse rather than a gift of fate.
[Both Hemingway and Hunter Thompson were avid gun enthusiasts. We can’t immediately recall any passages from Kerouac’s writing which mentioned guns. We have often wondered (word play alert!) if the inventory for Hunter’s private arsenal included a Thompson submachine gun.
Back in the day when this columnist was too young to qualify for a driver’s license, weekly magazines (such as Look and Colliers?) often featured an ad offering Thompson submachine guns which had blocked up barrels. Quite often those ads were adjacent to other ads which offered replacement parts (such as barrels?) for obsolete military weapons. We haven’t seen any of those ads recently and so we wonder if the Thompson submachine gun is now considered an assault rifle or not.]
Isn’t it rather poignant that the anti-Establishment rock bands from the Sixties, who warned their contemporaries about the dangers of commercialism, have come to epitomize the lucrative aspect of fame? Some day we will get around to writing a column that will convey our philosophy about how fame can be a double edged sword.
[The illusive mystery writer K. C. Constantine was once quoted as saying he wrote and avoided publicity because he had had his fill of fame when he played professional baseball. Our hunch is that the writer’s secret identity would be that of a former member of the N. Y. Yankees who had a subsequent career as a sports caster and lived in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.]
Is the anti-capitalism beatnik/hippie philosophy still being preached? A blogger who posts tips and hints about how to run away to join a hippie commune will get a constant trickle of visitors seeking information on that very subject. Maybe we’ll write a column on that topic.
Is it an example of hypocrisy to note that the conservatives who advocate availability of assault rifles for the masses often live in very secure compounds and fastidiously avoid malls and public movie theaters where they might encounter germs or stray bullets? Would it be an example of über-irony if the gift shop at the World’s Laziest Journalist World Headquarters were to offer a T-shirt reading: “I love hypocrisy!”?
After 9-11, people in the L. A. area who were being admitted to free movie screenings for critics and journalists, were searched for weapons, so is it another example of hypocrisy if people who see new films in a secure location condemn motion pictures for inciting violence at public theaters? Or is that an acceptable example of double standard thinking?
Speaking of cinematic violence, when we were an enthusiastic Three Stooges fan, a relative pointed out that the mayhem in those comedies was “play acting” and noted that the only time an uncle killed an enemy soldier (he was a Seabee who was going for water on Guadalcanal), he hit the fellow on the head with an empty bucket.
Are the journalists in the media suffering from sensational event deficit disorder? Do you expect to see/hear any gun control debate on the Sunday talk shows during the first weekend of the sports games in London? After a news event has been featured on the covers of the weekly news magazines, it becomes ancient history.
Didn’t President George W. Bush end the War in Iraq when he signed a peace treaty with Saddam Hussein at an event that was held on the deck of an aircraft carrier?
As this column was being written, the disk jockey was sorting through a mountain of material to select the best relevant music to play when the time to roll the credits arrives. There are so many songs about shooting that it would be difficult to select the top ten. Items like “Frankie and Johnnie” and “Stagerlee” are fixtures in American Pop Culture. Using the Gonuts song “Hot for Twinkies” would be too confusing for anyone who is not a trivia expert on San Francisco Political History. Is some of the best of Ennio Morricone’s music appropriate? If the disk jockey plays the Ride of the Valkyries, should the columnist say “Getcha a case of beer for that!”? Should he play the theme song from “High Noon”? “I hate Mondays!”?
American folk wisdom proclaimed: “God didn’t create all men equal; Col. Colt did.”
The disk jockey will play the “Annie get your gun” album, the song “America – Fuck Yeah!” from Team America, and the theme song from the TV series “Palidin.”
V. O. (Voice over):
Since we have not gotten an assignment to go to London and extol the delights of the cavalcade of simultaneous sports events occurring there, we will be lucky to get to the Gilroy Garlic festival this weekend. Have a “wear garlic necklace” type week.
[TrustoCorp, which is described online as “a New York based artist (or artists) dedicated to highlighting the hypocrisy and hilarity of human behavior through sarcasm and satire,” put up an example of their work in Berkeley CA about two years ago. It expresses a macho Australian philosophy about guns. We used a shot of that sign (from the WLJ photo morgue) to illustrate this week’s column.]
Photos were posted on my floppyphotos blog on wordpress.