Posts Tagged ‘Paul Krassner’

What everybody is talking about this week (in the SF area).

July 19, 2013

 

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-patterson/50707/justice-yachts-and-journalism

 

http://bartblog.bartcop.com/?p=14159

 

 

[<B>Due to austerity budget measures the services of the fact checker have been eliminated for this column.</B>]

 

A very wealthy conservative who is upset with the impact the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage will have on family values has decided to form a corporation and will hire a bevy of extremely attractive young ladies to fill the board of directors and will then marry that person/corporation. His law staff assured him that it will be legal since corporations are people and since the definition of marriage has been expanded far beyond the limitations of “between a man and a woman,” his marriage might offend some liberals who preach family values, but it will be a legal marriage.  He expects that some private tapes of his romps with the board of directors might actually win some adult film awards and that a reality TV show deal is a “gimme.”  What young couch potato wouldn’t enjoy the vicarious experiences of an old curmudgeon with the power to hire, fire, and manage a de facto harem?

 

Great Britain announced this week that the Queen has decreed that gay marriages will be legal.

 

Speaking of “family values,” the Armstrong and Getty radio show assures listeners that the mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, will become famous nationally because of his hypocrisy regarding sexual exploitation.

 

Another news item about Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who may be charged because of a weekend incident, was featured on that radio show because it made a Democratic Party politician look like a family values hypocrite.

 

Paul Krassner’s opinion, awhile back, in The Realist magazine that the Democratic and Republican political parties in the USA were examples of the old “identical twins separated at birth” phenomenon caused extreme skepticism when we read those words.  After last weekend, when the Republicans hailed the verdict for the George Zimmerman trail and President Obama shrugged it off with a comment about how the jury had spoken, we noted that our opinion of Krasner’s insight will have to be revised to a much higher level of esteem.

 

On the 8 a.m. CBS radio network news broadcast for Tuesday, July 16, 2013, listeners were informed about a violent reaction to the verdict in the Zimmerman trail occurred in a franchise for a well known fast food hamburger chain in Los Angeles CA.  Folks who actually live in that berg don’t need to hear Jack Webb doing a voice over capsule description of their home town to know that more than one franchise operates in that large metropolitan area and that the specifics about which particular one was the scene of the fracas would be a relevant fact that should have been included in the news item.

 

The CBS audience also heard about another facet of the nation’s reaction to the verdict and was told that a third night of unrest had occurred in Oakland.  Since it was a chilly gray overcast day the chance to run down to the Oakland City Hall area and see if we could get some photographs of the clean-up efforts for possible use with a weekend wrap-up column seemed like a constructive way to pass the time.  Some mediocre news photos were not worth using.

 

On Tuesday night, we went down to the City Hall area of Oakland for a personal inspection of the potential trouble spot.  There were about two dozen people assembled there at 7 p.m. with four TV trucks and a large contingent of police standing by to handle any unlawful conduct.

 

On Wednesday night CBS Evening News did a feature story on the Civil War battle at Fort Wagner in Charleston harbor.  They noted that one fellow was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor (which he received many years later in the mail) but didn’t tell their viewers that the Fifty Forth Massachusetts Regiment, the first black unit recruited in the North, was engaged in a dispute over equal pay when they were given the assignment to attack Fort Wagner, which was, according to Otto Friedrich’s article titled “the Trial of Sergeant Walker,” a virtual suicide order.  A fellow who was a hero in that battle, Sergeant William Walker, was later executed for mutiny sparked by the equal pay dispute.  This week probably was a bad time to publicize any facts about American History containing any instances of racism.

 

In an episode of “An American in England,” broadcast in 1942, which, according to Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow, was “a time when black GI’s were being lynched by white American soldiers for dating English girls,” hinted that there was some animosity based on racism occurring between the members of the American military stationed in Great Britain during WWII.

 

Speaking of racism and the military, until recently we had never heard of “the Double V” campaign, now we see that Bloomsburg Press has just published Rawn James, Jr.’s book titled “The Double V:  How Wars, Protests and Harry Truman desegregated America’s Military.”

 

The public’s enthusiasm for the America’s Cup Races, which are being conducted on San Francisco Bay, has failed to generate a massive amount of interest for local sports fans.  Some of the contests have been described as one boat races, which might tend to diminish the amount of illegal wagering those contests could generate.  Not to worry, any financial shortfall caused by lower than expected attendance and related revenues will be covered by the local taxpayers.  San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll Wednesday wrote:  “Conspicuous consumption, the kind represented by the extremely pricey – and useless for anything else – America’s Cup boats is sort of rude in this era of austerity.” 

 

We have been told that the one boat races are the equivalent of the timing of practice laps for a car race that are used to determine the starting positions for the participants in the race.  The intrigue factor for a lone boat sailing on the bay isn’t quite as appealing as a chance to get an up close look at fast cars vying for the pole position at the Indianapolis 500.

 

After being acquitted of the charges that Lizzie Borden used an ax to chop up her parents, did she convert her fame into a fortune?  Isn’t becoming a pop culture star the ultimate step in the process of the rehabilitation of a person suspected of criminal activity?

 

[Note from the photo editor:  Photos that were more feature-ish than hard news were taken on Tuesday night July 16 in Oakland at a verdict protest rally.  For a photographer, who was offering anti-war protest photos to AP 47 years ago, less dramatic photos of protest signs taken earlier this week were good enough.  (The writer, who claims to be 28 year old, might have to remind readers at this point that this column has not been approved by a member of the fact checker union.)]

 

Homer Simpson has been quoted as saying “I didn’t do it.  Nobody saw me do it.  You can’t prove a thing.”

 

Now the disk jockey will play Girls with Guns’ song “Girls with guns,” Elton John’s “I feel like a bullet (in the gun of Robert Ford),” and Ry Cooder’s “The Girls from Texas.”  We have to do some fact checking to learn what Peaches said to Browning.  Have an “Oxbow Incident free” type week.

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The Return of “Street Fighting Man”?

September 6, 2011

As the ninth month of the year begins, here are a few items that the columnist considers important cultural tidbits:  an unpopular Democratic President is struggling to get renominated, a bumper sticker being sold on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley asks:  “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?,” there is an ongoing protest at People’s Park, the Freedom of Speech issue is spawning arrests, a new book by Shel Silverstein is due out this month, the Playboy Club (and “the bunny slouch”?) will be featured in a new TV series, and Pan Am will get tons of free publicity from a new fall TV series (perhaps based on the book “Coffee, Tea, or me?”?), so with out looking at a calendar can you please say what year is this?  British disk jockey Danny Baker recently proclaimed that this year is 1968 and he might be right.

The longer Obama is President the easier it becomes for a pundit to make clever and perceptive comments; all that’s needed is a great memory.  A case in point would be pollution and global warming.  You don’t need to be a conspiracy theory scientist to have a major emotional reaction to a bit of popular American culture from 1970.  Who can watch the Iron Eyes Cody Public Service Announcement and not get the point?

Who can listen to “Man in Black,” Johnny Cash’s 1971 hit that covered just about all of today’s problems, and not find it moving?

For people living in Berkeley and facing the task of preparing to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from the top of a police car, the recent No Justice No BART protests and arrests about the Freedom of Speech issue has a distinct “been there done that” aspect.

People’s Park is back in the news.  Activists are staging a protest.  They assert that theUniversityofCaliforniainBerkeleyis using incremental limitations as a way of trying to end the use of the area known as People’s Park as a campsite for homeless people.  Activists inform journalists that efforts are being made to end the program to feed the homeless in the park.  Similar protests in 1969 were suspended after the Park and the protests, which resulted in the death of James Richter, became national news stories.

Peace is still the objective for Peaceniks only the name of the war has changed.

Mario Savio objected to high tuition fees in the Sixties and asserted that students had a right to express their opinions.  Two years ago students were holding demonstrations at UCB to draw attention to increases in tuition costs.

Over the Labor Day weekend, a march by the United Farm Workers reachedSacramentowhere they hoped to deliver their list of grievances and goals to the governor ofCalifornia.

For a columnist who made futile efforts to get to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, this year’s issues and protests have a strong <I>déjà vu</I> aspect to them.  One ingredient that is missing from attempts to photograph and write about this year’s events is an endless supply of energy and enthusiasm.

Scrambling around theSan FranciscoBayarea to get photos at a benefit for theNorthern California9/11 Truth Alliance, People’s Park and the various No Justice No BART protests, it is obvious that getting a by-line in the <I>Berkeley Barb</I> is a goal that will never be accomplished. 

In one day, can one reporter photographer cover a nine hour event at the Grand Lake Theater inOakland, a planned new No Justice No BART event inSan Francisco, and check in with the protest in People’s Park?  Obviously we’ll have to postpone plans to do a round-up column on the current spate of items concerned with the quality of the judicial branch of government in theUSAtoday.  We’re working on developing other columns such as one that compares the Republican philosophy to that of the Apaches and play with the irony that some famous Republicans have been accused of kidnapping Geronimo’s skull. 

We’ll try to cover the Sunday event at the Herbst Theater inSan Franciscoon September 11.  We’ll monitor the People’s Park protest.  We’ll do updates on the No Justice No BART protests.  Rather than struggling with the knack of loading Tri-X film on the Nikkor reels, we’ll be struggling to learn the new html skills to move our photojournalism into the digital era, but we will also be aware of certain other limitations on our efforts.

Back in 1968, the World’s Laziest Journalist used to annoy the snot out of some close friends by introducing cultural comments and insights with the phrase “Back in 1968.”  We don’t bug them with that shtick anymore because a two of the folks who were most upset with it, have “gone to the happy hunting grounds.”

In the April 1965 issue of Cavalier magazine, Paul Krassner wrote:  “There was, of course, oneBerkeleyadministration official who mustered up his oversimplification gland and labeled the protest there as not much more than a ‘civil rights panty raid.’”

Krassner also wrote:  “There is an Establishment (translate:  in-power) point of view about events such as these – usually predictable but nevertheless in a state of limited flux – and the mass media serve as vehicles for and reflections of the Establishment point of view.”  What if Rupert Murdoch is the Establishment?

Now the disk jockey will give someBerkeleymusicians a bit of exposure by playing the “Fixing to Die” rag, “Run through the Jungle,” and “Long as I can see the Light.”  We have to go and try to buy a copy of Eye magazine.  Have a “hella-groovy” type week.