Posts Tagged ‘Lenny Bruce’

Isn’t turnabout fair play?

July 12, 2013

It’s time to post the columnist’s annual summer reading suggestions

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-patterson/50571/spy-vs-spy-wwii-version

 

http://bartblog.bartcop.com/?p=14145

 

Don’t have the link for Op Ed News yet

 

 

 

War protest sign in Berkeley CA

 

“The Irregulars:  Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in wartime Washington” by Jennet Conant (© 2008 by Jennet Conant Simon & Schuster New York N.Y.) is a handy book to have around if you just happen to be surrounded by peacniks in Berkeley who are outraged by the fact that the United States, the country that saved Great Britain with desperately needed supplies for use during the Battle of Britain, has been conducting monitoring of the Internets and phone calls to protect the world from terrorists. 

 

Roald Dahl, who introduced the concept of tiny malicious creatures called Gremlins, was a wounded war hero who was reassigned to diplomatic duties in Washington to help the American President (FDR) decide to break his campaign pledge to not send American boys to fight in Europe’s war by waging an extensive public relations effort via planted stories in the American media to convince the citizens that duty and honor compelled a reversal of the popular (with Americans) policy of non intervention.

 

The pilot and war time casualty was also dashingly handsome and so seducing American Congressional representative Clare Booth Luce (AKA Mrs. Henry “Time magazine” Luce) was part of Dahl’s mission because issues such as cabotage in the post war world were at stake due to the small print in the Lend Lease agreement.

 

The Brits were also more than a little curious about what faction of the French government in exile would be favored by the Americans.  Would FDR be more partial to General de Gaulle or would he favor General Henri Giraud?  Could stories be planted in the American media to swing the choice in de Gaulle’s favor?

 

Fighting for freedom in the Battle of Britain was a highly touted motivation but when it came time to consider an end to colonialism after the war, enthusiasm waned.  If the French didn’t retain ownership of French Indo China after the war would that be a bad omen for the country that owned and operated India as a colony?

 

Having troops in Vietnam during WWII was a great tactical advantage for Japan.  Detailed explanations of how they gained the use of that bit of territory for use by their troops when they fought to take control of places like Burma is usually missing from books about the run up to the War in the Pacific.

 

Otto Friedrich’s 1989 book “the Grave of Alice B. Toklas” also came to our attention this summer and his 1959 article “How to be a war correspondent” was fascinating because it recounted how Friedrich “covered” the war in French Indo China from Paris.  The main challenge was to add phrases such as “wade through turbulent flood-swollen streams,” “knife through sweltering jungles,” and “fighter bombers zooming low” to statistic laden French government press releases handed out in Paris to inform American readers about the progress the fight against a Communist take over in Asia was progressing.

 

Friedrich revealed the secret of being a war correspondent in a far away nation:  “The outside world needs nothing more than a few announcements of enemy casualties and an occasional declaration that the ‘terrorists’ are on the run.”  Don’t the French have a saying about how things never change?

 

Sunday will be Bastille Day and so this week might be a good time to finish reading our bargain used copy of “Americans in Paris:  Life and Death under Nazi Occupation 1940 – 44,” by Charles Glass.

 

Edward Snowden is in the news this summer and is being accused of treason for revealing information that has been widely known for years.  Since Hans Fallada’s “Every man dies alone” is a cautionary tale about the futility of opposing a government committed to war, we wanted to flip though it again.  It is a fictional retelling of the story of a German couple who left postcards critical of Hitler all over Berlin in the early Forties.  Mostly all of their work was turned over to the Gestapo and proved to be useless.  The hapless war protesters were executed.  Will the real life source for this novel become the patron saints for the bloggers who have been critical of the foreign policy used by both the George W. Bush and Barrack H. Obama administrations? 

 

Book reviewers for the mainstream media have a fiduciary motivation for reading an assigned book all the way through as quickly as possible, but a columnist who is just trying to find a new column topic and simultaneously do some reading for entertainment purposes tends to use a pile of books in the same cavalier way that a couch potato uses his remote clicker.

 

The World’s Laziest Journalist may read a chapter in Lenny Bruce’s “How to talk dirty and influence people,” then pick up Camus’ “The Rebel” and flip through it to see if any of the underlined passages will proved a closing quote for this week’s column, and then because Hunter S. Thompson’s 75th birthday will be July 18, it might be a good idea to go back over the highlighted passages that follow the classic line:  “We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.”

 

Perhaps we should reread Hemingway’s short story “the Killers” and then do a parody for a column that would compare the Social Security program to Ole Anderson?

 

Berkeley and San Francisco both offer  parsimonious book readers a wealth of bargain opportunities for used book buyers and since Berkeley is known for being liberal and also is home for a very respected school of Journalism, we have acquired (for a modest cost) a vast array of books that offer a very critical analysis of the Bush Administration written (mostly) by well known names from the realm of American Journalism.

 

When future historians look back on the wide assortment of voices warning Americans of impending disaster, they will have to wrestle with the question of why the citizens, in the face of overwhelming number of Cassandra voices, reelected George W. Bush.  Perhaps some future historian will propose a full length book that attempts to see it as an entire nation contending (subconsciously?) with a death wish?

 

Which brings us to the nagging question of the week:  “If Rupert Murdock can use hacking to get scoops, why can’t the NSA monitor e-mails and phone calls to keep the free world safe from terrorists?”

 

The topic of impending disaster brings us back to the large number of books dealing with the events just prior to America’s entry into WWII when Roald Dahl would have to do his spying on the USA.

 

Many of America’s future journalism movers and shakers toured Europe and were inspired to write dire warnings about the implications of the Spanish Civil War and the threat Hitler represented.

 

Low information voters were too occupied by the task of getting a job during the latter stages of the Great Depression to pay close attention to and try to critically analyze the implications of the war in Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War.

 

The children from the low information households would provide the essential manpower for fighting the war that the vagabonding journalists saw on the horizon, so maybe the people who were flocking to see “Gone with the Wind” should have paid more attention to the efforts being produced by the multitude of foreign correspondents churning out content for America’s newspaper readers.

 

The folks in the San Francisco Bay area are being informed that the opening of the new Bay Bridge will have to be delayed while the authorities address the issue of some safety violations.  Will any writer tackle a book assignment sometime in the future for elaborating the real challenge?  The politicians know that the project has to be completed.  What can be done to make that happen in such a way that the only people vulnerable to legal proceedings will be the mid level managers if a disaster strikes in the future?  Aye, lad, there’s the rub.

 

The new issue of the East Bay Express contains an article by Darwin BondGraham, titled “BART’s lead negotiator has a history of illegal behavior.”  It only strengthens our hunch that the true goal in this local labor dispute is to continue the policy of union busting that began by St. Ronald Reagan.

 

[Note from the photo editor:  War protests in Berkeley go back a long way so a sign at a bus bench in the downtown that was critical of the War in Iraq wasn’t attracting many readers this week.  We thought that a photo of the sign would be relevant to a column on reading matter.  The sign shows a drawing of a hand holding a shoe and folks should know that throwing a shoe is an extreme demonstration of disapproval in Iraq.  The only English words on the sign say:  “Iraq is devastated.”  For critics of the Iraq War that tells readers what the sign maker had to say.]

 

 

Lenny Bruce wrote:  “My reading matter ran the gamut from a technical book on intercontinental ballistic missiles to Jean-Paul Sartre’s study of anti-Semitism but all I knew about (George Bernard) Shaw was that he wrote Pygmalion.”

 

Now the disk jockey will play “Summer time,” “Having a heat wave,” and “Summertime Blues.”  We have to go look for our next used book treasure find.  Have a “We’ll always have Paris” type week.

 

 

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The case of the Overgovernmentalizing trend in Conservativeland

February 15, 2013

“Reporting at Wit’s End (Tales from the New Yorker)” (Bloomsbury USA, New York, N. Y. ©2010), which was written by St. Clair McKelway, is chock full of true life feature stories, mostly from the true crime genre file, from the Thirties and Forties.  The one titled “Who is the King of Glory” (written with A. J. Liebling), which was an example of a profile of a personality in the news, caught the eye of this columnist because we heard the name Father Devine years ago but have had no other information to add to his dossier.

The story hints that the famous cleric from the past was a tantalizing mixture of an amazing philanthropist and, simultaneously, (perhaps) a charlatan who gave mesmerizing sermons which were a jazz like riff using words rather than notes produced by a musical instrument.

According to information found online Johnny Mercer heard one of those remarkable talks and was inspired to write a song when he heard the phrase “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.”

The story in the book collection did not make a decisive conclusion and inform the readers about a final verdict on the question of any possible fraud or deception about how all the money that flowed into the coffers was spent.  We may have to look for a biography of the famed cleric to learn more.  That, in turn, made us question the journalistic quality of a piece that leaves a reader in the lurch about a central question.

The passages about Father Devine’s unique vocal style don’t do justice to it because in a transcript (page 112) much of the mischievous tone of the word play loses its magic.  “It has been tangibleated, and it can be retangibleated, it can and will continue to materialize, and repersonify, rematerialize, and repersonify, for the great materializing process is going on.”

The fact that a devotee left Father Devine a mansion and a large tract of land in Pennsylvania, made the World’s Laziest Journalist, who can barely get friends on Facebook to share a link to his columns, question his own ability to enunciate enchanting words and phrases.

At this point some skeptics (who want to ask a question in the manner of a Peggy Lee song) might wonder: “If that’s all there is to a career in online column writing, why not chuck it all and say ‘fuck it!’?”  To which we would reply “No my friends, not me.  I’m going to stick around, make fun of both the Republican and Democratic politicians, lace the columns with arcane, esoteric, and obscure facts that will provide Google bait to lure in new eyeballs (which in turn will cause the management to be [just a bit] more tolerant of this columnist’s eccentric style caused by misguided admiration for the three dot journalism pioneered by Walter Winchell and Herb Caen], occasional unintentional malapropisms, typos and/or misspellings, (lapses into poor taste?), and invent some new words (such as promobabble) in the hopes that some day some reader somewhere (Kalgoorlie W. A.?) might notice that sometimes this frazzled and idiosyncratic columnist has occasionally racked up a noteworthy achievement, such as posting a column like last Friday’s (It proved to be an echoed in advance of a news analysis on the front page of the New York Times on the following Sunday.) and thus be inspired to donate a mansion with a lavish surrounding estate, where the World’s Laziest Journalist Headquarters can then be relocated.

[Note here is the URL for the New York Times news analysis online.  People who are registered online as subscribers can copy and paste this link into their browser.  Otherwise it won’t work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/world/obamas-turn-in-bushs-bind-with-defense-policies.html?_r=0]

Until that happy day arrives, we will have to provide our self with our own rewards for churning out a stream of occasional original insights, underreported stories, and pathetic attempts to replicate the wit of George Carlin.

You want original insights?  Did the USA win the Invasion of Iraq or did a lot of Americans get killed and wounded and a number of defense industries experience a boost in business for conducting the most expensive criminal execution in the history of the world?  If it was an undisputed KO win, what exactly did the USA win?  Did the prognostications that oil revenue would pay for that military adventure turn out to be accurate?  If (subjunctive mood) the U. S. did not win will corporate owned media let any reporter say that, let alone just ask the question?

Need another example?  We have done volunteer clerk work for the Marina Tenants Association, which has been embroiled for years in a running dispute with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  Some members of the MTA have the opinion that the Supervisors grant real estate developers very lucrative deals to develop businesses in Marina del Rey, which is county owned land, and (hypothetically speaking) are given vast sums of money for their reelections funds in return.

In San Francisco, famed Candlestick Park, which is located on county owned land, will be demolished after the last Fortyniners’ Game of the 2013 season and the county owned land will be used for new private ventures.

The MTA is busy enough with Los Angeles County matters and they won’t have the time or resources to expand their citizen watchdog work into the San Francisco area.  The journalists in the Bay area will, mostly, be unaware of the fact that for more than fifty years some Nosey Parkers have been writing newspaper stories calling for investigations of the way Marina del Rey has been handled by the Board of Supervisors and thus the Bay Area reporters will not be alert to the potential for a monkey see, monkey do bit of (possible) chicanery in their circulation area.

The World’s Laziest Journalist does do repeated Google News searches to monitor the evolving story of the Los Angeles County assessor who has been incarcerated and has failed to post bail.  We keep wondering:  Is some law enforcement agency trying to negotiate some testimony in return for a sweetheart plea bargain deal?  If so, who are they trying to go after?

In the San Francisco area we noticed that as the 2012 Baseball Season drew to a conclusion, some baseball players had to sit out a few games because they had readings that showed a too high level of testosterone.  We have seen ads on TV that offer to increase the zest for life level of viewers by increasing their testosterone levels.  That made us wonder why Baseball players get punished for increasing their testosterone levels but viewers of the Evening News are urged to take measures to increase their testosterone levels.  Is that fair?

Would George Carling approve of the quip we made while watching the ads for the testosterone boosting products?  While watching the ad we blurted out the comment:  “If my doctor said I had low-T, I’d beat the shit out of him!”

On Thursday February 14, 2013, the Armstrong and Getty Show opened their phone lines and asked folks to make suggestions about how to protest the rising tide of overgovernmentalizing (we invented that word while waiting on hold for our turn to talk) in American Society, so we were full of testosterone and just wanted to suggest that folks call radio talk shows and say words that offend the FCC.  We didn’t want to actually say those words and incur a big fine.  We were immediately disconnected and the 10 second delay must have consigned our attempt to oblivion via the “memory hole.”  Guess they don’t have a sense of humor (at least we got a good item for the column from the effort).  Do conservative talk show hosts have an irony allergy?  Would Lenny Bruce approve our attempt to criticize big government?  Would Father Devine approve our attempt at wordification?

Speaking of increasing testosterone levels for feeling young, virile, and sexy, after we noted that this year will be the Chinese year of the Snake, we thought immediately of our quest to drive (or at least get a ride in) a Cobra and so we fired off an e-mail to the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club (LASAAC), which includes a goodly number of examples of the famed car made by Carol Shelby, asking if they were planning any special Cobra events other than their annual car show, which is usually held in September on the Santa Monica Pier.

A club spokesman replied that there were no current plans for adding an extra Cobra event to their schedule to celebrate the year of the Snake.  Our expert authority concluded his reply with a quote that we will use for the column ending wisdom quote.  We were informed:  “Confucius say: Man who run in front of car get tired… man who run behind car get exhausted… and man who get hit by car get that run down feeling!”

Now the disk jockey will play the “Logical Song,” Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” (because of the line about “you were so good with words”) and Mama Cass’ “Words of Love.”  We have to go look up the meaning of omphaloskepsis.  Have a “senescence” type week.

Deja vu in 2012?

July 16, 2010

[<B>Warning:  Liberals with heart conditions, this column may cause seizures</B>.]

While writing a rough draft for a mostly whimsical column that would assess the summer of 2010 from the hypothetical point of view of a future historian looking back at it, we came across a Huffingtonpost story <a href =

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/15/the-bush-revival-how-jeb_n_647403.html

about Jeb Bush</a>  and realized that the Huffington story augmented by a series of similar items might, in retrospect, be recognized as a very important harbinger of the United States’ political future.

To get Jeb Bush elected as the President of the United States (POTUS) in 2012, legitimately or not, one would have to prepare the country in advance for such a potentially (to some) distressing result.  If it is predestined to happen, it would be very prudent to plant a series of “news” stories assuming that such an election result were possible.  Otherwise if it just came to be that Jeb started winning primary contests in early 2012, some of America’s less gullible citizens might raise a hue and cry.  If, however, the free press would show their sportsmanship and help set the stage, it could go a long way towards sidestepping a rancorous national debate about the need for a continuation of the Bush Dynasty.

In the realm of deceptive activity designed to fleece an unsuspecting victim of his/her money a common factor is often an assistant who seemingly is a stranger to both parties and who provides a “count me in” factor to the proceedings that is designed to alleviate any of the victim’s points of objection.  People tend to be reluctant to be the first to make a move but they also tend to have a flock mentality when a trend gains traction. 

Thus, if some political strategist (with a tendency to play his role in a Svengali/Merlin manner) is calling the shots, the press can play the role of the “count me in” accomplice by rehabilitating the rather tarnished image of the Bush family.  A complicit press could help refurbish that image as one of an American tradition that has suffered a temporary setback rather than a total derailment via the low public opinion of the last President.  With the press’ reputation for truthfulness and integrity (imagine it in terms of Edward R. Murrow doing a “Person to Person” interview with Jeb in his home [or is it “one of his homes”?] with lotsa “softball questions.”), they could do a great deal to help restore the tarnished Bush brand name back to its former eminence. 

Obviously this sounds outlandishly implausible, but if someone told the reader back in the “Impeach Clinton now!” phase of the country’s history that the Republicans would win the next election in the conservative majority Supreme Court and then pull off an even more impossible upset in 2004, who would have believed it back then?

Quite often historians find the most fascinating items go mostly unnoticed while they are part of the contemporary news scene.  Hence, we strongly assert that folks, coping with foreclosure or not, pay more attention to the stories about Jeb and ask themselves if such items are a legitimate examples of a “nose for news” journalistic value judgment or if they are part of a concerted effort to set the USA up for yet another con job. 

It could be that the Summer of 2010 will, some day, be remembered in some obscure and esoteric example of historians scholarship as the time when the World’s Laziest Journalist posted the first claxon alarm about the next successful Republican presidential campaign.

For the time being, such a premise will, for the most part, be blithely dismissed as being inconsequential alarmism.  So noted.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled whimsical column about the Summer of 2010:

Mel Gibson made an audition tape for his efforts to be hired as Uncle Rushbo’s occasional fill-in replacement and when it fell into the wrong hands it got misrepresented in the media and that got him into an embarrassing position.  On the tape did he say anything that would cost him his job if he were saying it on the air from the Excellence In Broadcasting studios?

If Lenny Bruce were still alive would he be fostering a comedy genre called “slick” humor?

Being alive in the summer of BP love is providing curmudgeons with a smorgasbord of news stories just bound to please the “you kids stay off my lawn” style grouches while sending the far lefties into the throes of agony.

The Republicans are castigating (careful with that word) President Obama for fighting a war in Afghanistan that is unwinnable (Word spell-check, like many Republicans, refuses to accept the existence of that word).  Didn’t George W. Bush hand his war off to his successor and wasn’t that a bit like when that silly bird hands the coyote the lit stick of trinitrotoluene (AKA TNT)? 

What grump wouldn’t like the Eddie Haskell-ish trick of wrecking the economy and then ridiculing the folks collecting unemployment during the succeeding administration’s effort to restore prosperity?

Is there a misanthrope alive this summer that doesn’t see that the way to explain Alvin Greene’s meteoric rise to fame and political prominence can be explained by the old concept of “charisma”?  

Isn’t it a shame that cartoonist <a href = http://www.charlesaddams.com/>Charles Addams</a> didn’t live until “death panels” became one of Uncle Rushbo’s recurring leitmotifs?

Back in the Sixties, liberal writers in the mainstream media (MSM) who couldn’t write about very liberal programs and ideas learned they could pull an end-run on the conservative publishers by doing trend spotting stories about people with liberal points of view.  For instance the New York media heavy hitters who couldn’t be anti Vietnam War in their stories could write about folks who were such as Bob Dylan and Hunter S. Thompson and the Rolling Stone magazine.  That brought bigger audiences to those cultural phenomenons which, in turn, helped them get their message out to a bigger audience.  That way the frustrated writers on the nationally respected media plantations could claim that they had (indirectly) helped spread the liberal memes. 

Does Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly ever mention online sites that pointed out the shortcomings of the Bush Junta?  If there is a new online equivalent of the Berkeley Barb or the East Village Other will they ever become a cultural force thanks to trend spotting stories in the MSM?  Is helping to stifle voices of dissention a stealth way to help conservatives?

Does Murdock’s media ever criticize BP?  Was it a group of rogue miscreants who arranged for the Lockerby prisoner to go free in return for some off shore drilling rights from Libya?

Summer of 2010 was also when scientists made news by studying the DNA of Ozzy Osbourne.  It was when the “cheesy easy song of the day” on the True Oldies Channel was in its first year of existence.  It was also (personal note alert) when this columnist discovered Joe R. Lansdale, the man we proclaim to be the heir to wear the “best living” mantle at the next convention (known as <a href = http://www.bcon2010.com/&gt; Bouchercon</a>) of hard-boiled detective story writers.  BTW the convention will be held in San Francisco!

Will the summer of 2010 be referred to by techies as: “when Apple made their Edsel”?

In the summer of 2010, the conservatives are having a ball laughing at dumpster diving for kids and folks running out of their unemployment checks.  Those compassionate conservative Christians are such cut-ups, aren’t they?  The web site <a href = http://teapartyjesus.tumblr.com/ >Tea Party Jesus</a> puts conservative quotes in the mouth of Christ.  It’s meant as irony.

You can help the restoration of the Bush family dynasty by writing to the managing editors of all national mainstream media and demanding that they omit any mention of , <a href = http://www.campaignwatch.org/more1.htm >Broward Savings and Loan</a> from their suck-up “news” stories.

Senator Jim Bunning’s famous “Tough shit!” line may be a strong contender for the 2010 quote of the year.

Now the disk jockey will play “19th Nervous Breakdown,” the “Easy Rider” soundtrack album, and “Helter Skelter.”  We have to go check out the topic of how to get a bet, on Jeb in 2012, with long odds, down now in Vegas.  Have a “<a href =

http://greatbutforgotten.blogspot.com/>Great But Forgotten</a>” type week.

Imagining Lenny Bruce on Fox News

February 12, 2010

It was about six o’clock in the evening of February 9, 2010, the sun was gone and there was a threat of hard rain in the cold crisp air of the Berkeley evening.  I was wearing powder-blue jeans with a dark blue T-shirt, black sneakers, and black socks.  I was neat, clean, shaved and sober and I didn’t care who knew it.  I was on my way to the Pacific Film Archive to see “Pull My Daisy” written and narrated by Jack Kerouac.

In a video introduction, film maker Alfred Leslie told the audience about a time when the film was just being shown for the first times.  In San Francisco, Lucius Beebe hosted a social event, at a restaurant he owned, for the beat poet/novelist and the film maker.  Leslie told about how the two were sulking at the bar when actor David Niven arrived and was escorted to a table which would obviously be the social hub for the evening’s activities.  Niven quickly invited Kerouac and Leslie to sit at his table and immediately offered a toast for the guests of honor.  It was at that point, according to Leslie’s anecdote, the film maker and writer both realized that they had just been anointed into San Francisco’s high society and had graduated up from the ranks of the bikers, beatniks and bay area bohemians. 

Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg had been Berkeley residents and so we wondered if any of the graybeards in the audience were living links to the celebrated hitchhiking legend from the past.  We wondered if the Digihitch web site would cover the PFA program.  We were disappointed to note that the proprietor of the Beatnik Museum over in Frisco was, as best as we could tell, missing from the audience. 

“Pull My Daisy” is a specialty item.  The film would not hold much interest for anyone who was not interested in the subject of “The Beats.”  For those who do like that particular era of literary history, the thirty minute long film was a chance to see members of the famed writing group when they were young and vibrant.

On the walk back to the World’s Laziest Journalist Headquarters, we noted that Berkeley had also been a hometown for Philip K. Dick and since he was the author of “The Man in the High Tower,” Berkeley could legitimately make a claim to being where the cottage industry producing fictional alternative history was born. 

[It seems that this columnist is the only person in the universe who thinks that “The Man in the High Tower” accurately predicts the role Hunter S. Thompson would play in the history of the state of Colorado.]

Riffing on the idea of alternative history, we turned our back to Sproul Plaza and started walking down Telegraph Avenue.  We wondered:  If he were still alive would Fox News hire Lenny Bruce as a political pundit?  That idea seemed absurd, which consequently made it seem like something Fox News might try.

Our expectations of Fox News after the midterm elections are that they will increase the level of subtle racism in their attitude towards and coverage of the 44th President.  How would Lenny Bruce be fitted into such a strategy? 

Wasn’t Bruce a free speech martyr who got arrested and thus became synonymous with a nasty four letter word?  Didn’t George Carlin and the United States Supreme Court collaborate to prove that Bruce’s favorite word had to be bleeped off the airwaves?  Today that word is splashed all over the bleeping Internets and would be of no use to the Fox News game plan.  Unless . . . ?  Is there one word that Bruce could say and maybe get arrested on the air for using?

[Back in the Sixies, this columnist saw a local new reader in the New York City area get arrested on air, for possession, immediately after displaying a marijuana cigarette which had been sent to his station.   It looked a bit contrived.  Why did a cop just happen to be in the TV studio?  Who was that guy?  How did the case play out?]

Let’s see.  Could Bruce get arrested for calling the President a nincompoop, nitwit, nefarious or a nematocyst?  Nope!  Is there some other word that could produce a dramatic freedom of speech arrest of (hypothetically) Lenny Bruce these days?  NNNNNahhh?  Wait, what about if Bruce uttered a one word racial slur?  That might, with a bit of preparation on the Fox News producer’s part, work. 

How would liberals react?  Would they back the attack him or would they defend their darling?  If the Liberals defended Bruce for using the word, they’d look like racists; if they attacked him (in this alternate history case) they’d look like hypocrites.  Either way Fox News could just sit back and chortle. 

Fox likes to lull their audience into a hypnotic state and then download some Republican talking points so that they can be activated later, Manchurian Candidate style.  Lenny Bruce liked to shock and push things to the limit.  Could Fox use Bruce’s psychological quirks and drives to seduce him into their studio to say the most outrageous imaginable thing possible?  Wasn’t his specialty breaking social taboos?  Wasn’t he compelled to be bad when he faced any taboo?  How could the bad boy inside him decline any such invitation from Fox?

WWPKDD?  What would Philip K. Dick do?  It seems like many (most?) of Dick’s tales start with someone going somewhere (just as this column did?) and then running afoul of the fascists in charge of the country.   Their destiny seems to be a doomed existence.  It seems likely that Dick would endorse the idea of Lenny Bruce becoming a free speech martyr again, only this time as a pawn on the set of Fox News for a cause he didn’t believe and to prove the complete reprehensibility of “selling out to the establishment” by doing it.

Ursula K. McGuinn (who was born in Berkeley) has been quoted as saying:  “What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”

Now, in an effort to prove that he’s a hep cat and familiar with the contemporary music scene, the disk jockey will play Daisy Dares You’s “Number One Enemy,” Me$ha’s  “Kiss and Tell,” and Seasick Steve’s “Cut My Wings.”  It’s time for us to go take a nap.  Have a “you are a card, sir!” type week.