Posts Tagged ‘Woody Guthrie’

Bob’s new column

June 28, 2013

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made a decision because, they asserted, prejudice in the voter rights case was an outmoded consideration from the past, then the next day they struck a blow to protect gays from marriage discrimination.  Due to the fact that irony does not work well on the Internets, the World’s Laziest Journalist was on the verge of pulling the old “best of” dodge and skipping the weekend roundup column for the last full week in June of 2013.  One day the SCOTUS five are saying that racial prejudice is extinct in the USA then the next day a reconfigured majority of five says that since the work of eliminating discrimination against gays is still far from the finish line, they had to lend a helping hand.  Which is it? Is bigotry dead or not?


Will the late night comedian/political commentators try to get laughs by saying that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity when they did not get involved this week with the furor over Paula Deen’s use of the N-word?


Paula Deen suggested that she needed to be executed by a crowd of stone throwers and that got us to thinking that perhaps President Obama could offer patriotic Americans from the Democratic and Republican parties a chance to buy a spot on the firing squad that might be needed some day to deliver a death sentence to Edward Snowdon. 


That, in turn, brings up this question:  If Snowden is stuck in an area that is not a part of Russia, why doesn’t the United States’ State Department send someone from the American Embassy in Moscow to meet with the suspect, shoot him, and then use diplomatic immunity to walk away from the event?  Would that be so very different (and less messy) than using a drone strike to “rub out” the fugitive from justice?


We had hoped to write a sensational column, for this week, about the decline of journalism in America and maybe link the work of real journalists from the past such as Ernie Pyle and Hunter S. Thompson to the comic book hero, Spider Jerusalem, who is a popular and highly paid columnist who exposes political corruption and scandal.


Has the story arc for Journalism in America gone from Edward R. Murrow’s “This is London calling” to a comic book hero with weird glasses in less that 75 years? 


The World’s Laziest Journalist had assumed that conservative animosity would trump the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause and deliver a ruling that rendered marriage rights for gays as being unconstitutional.  We were wrong.  It was just like the time we picked Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby.  We were wrong then, too.  Twice in one lifetime?  We won’t let it happen again!


A friend in the Eastern Time Zone called right after the decision was announced and said that the New York Time confirmed my erroneous prediction.  We were listening to Armstrong and Getty and challenged the accuracy of the headline on the Internets.  Our friend read more and amended her assessment because it seems that the great gray lady (as the famous newspaper is called in the gin mills that cater to journalists) had posted a bad (“Dewey wins!”) headline.


Randi Rhodes said that both landmark decisions, when considered together, indicated that the cause of States’ Rights had been bolstered by the week’s history and that continued political stalemate had been assured by the decisions.


Speaking of the status of Journalism in the USA, we had recently noted that some citizen journalists were advocating the use of a consortium approach to investigative journalism.  Since we have monitored the news media coverage of events in the Los Angeles area concerning the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and their administration of the Marina del Rey area, we are aware that the concept of investigative journalism is a complex and time consuming way to fight for gaining access to information that is deliberately put out of reach.


A web site that is intended as a central clearing house for altruistic investigative journalism projects was announced recently.  There is a tendency among writers to want to jealously guard against the theft of intellectual property but there is also a human tendency to want to participate in a community project that is working towards a large goal that is unavailable to the lone wolf rogue journalist.  (Insert nostalgic reference to Sartre, Camus, and Combat newspaper in Occupied Paris here.  [Them again?])  We will expand this topic in a subsequent column.


Speaking of lone wolves, citizen journalists, and the Internets, we went to San Francisco on Sunday June 23 to cover the City Lights Bookstore’s birthday celebration.  We got some OK photos outside the store but our tendency of avoiding claustrophobic situations to work “on spec” caused us to miss the chance to get to the poetry room to get a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti signing books.  It was amazing to see how much drawing power a beatnik could still have.


Berkeley is looking to increase tourism and the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car is rapidly approaching, perhaps the city fathers should consider holding an anniversary event.


The saga of Spider Jerusalem, which is the product of the creative team of writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson, was told in the Transmetropolitan comic book series.  It was published in the late nineties and the early Dubya era, and contained a good number of accurate predictions of technological advances and political malfeasance.  The comic book columnist hero fits in with our recurring leitmotif of famous journalist, so we made an effort recently to chat with Robertson and get some photos of him doing a drawing of “the helmet,” which can be seen as a prediction of Google glasses.


If citizen journalists hope for fun, fame, and fortune, but get aced out of the fame and fortune by the proprietary attitude of the high priced media talent (and their “owners”?), then the Leprechaun attitude will become more prevalent in journalism than Hunter S. Thompson ever imagined.


Would it be rational to expect the Huffington Post to hire an Internets loose cannon (let alone Fox) or would it be more realistic to expect that only those who subscribe fully to the “ya gottta go along to get along” style of expressing opinions are acceptable to management as members of the team?


We picked up a bargain copy of Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow recently and were reminded of just how much time devoted to dealing with office politics was necessary at the time that he was reporting live from London during the Battle of Britain.


When Ernie Pyle showed up in England in December of 1940 to cover the effect that the Battle of Britain was having on the ordinary citizens, he stayed in a posh hotel and was not bothered by the riggers of rationing.


Did anyone hire Woody Guthrie to go to London to report on the effect on workers that the Battle of Britain was causing?


The dog days of summer draw neigh and so the next few weeks may be a very opportune time for a columnist to begin a whimsical attempt to find amusing and amazing feature material while the Supreme Court Justices do some relaxing and start to select the next batch of cases needing their attention.


Horace wrote:  “The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from is firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant’s threatening countenance.” 


Now the disk jockey will play  “Here Come da Judge,” “Strange fruit,” and Waylon Jennings’ “WRONG!,”   We have to go look for a time travel machine.  Have a “Great Caesars’ Ghost!” type week.


Just one word?

January 5, 2010

In the past few years, the people who perform movie stunts have started to give out awards during the annual awards season, but they are still ignored by the folks who give out the ones known as Oscars®.  Tain’t fair because, as most American movie fans know, sometimes a stunt will leave the audience dumbfounded and asking “how did they do that without killing the actor?”  Don’t they deserve to get an Oscar® for their best effort for each year 

The James Bond series of movies is particularly known for stunts that truly deserve the adjective stupendous when being discussed.

Maybe it’s just an American thing?  Europeans are the ones who like long lingering shots of some poor sap standing on the platform at the Gare du Nord train station dripping wet in the rain with a sad music playing (usually a tinkling piano) while his girlfriend boards a train with her husband.  No one ever said being an existentialist is supposed to be fun.

American’s love them some movies with cars driving off a cliff a la “Thelma and Louise.” 

In the age before Computer Generated Images, the stunt sequences spoke for themselves; it may be that in the computer era, two different awards are needed:  one without a boost from computer animation and one where it was part of the magic.

The shortest acceptance speech of all times happened when Garry Cooper picked up his Best Actor award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences by saying just one word:  “Thanks!”

Will some conservative troll object to this column?  You betcha!  Any capitalist worth his salt (look up the origin of the word salary) knows that if you start giving workers any sort of encouragement in the form of awards, it must follow as the night the day, the next thing the rascals do will be to form a union and demand higher wages for risking their lives as part of an effort that will earn hundreds of millions of dollars for the studio owners.

Would Woody Guthrie second the motion to honor the actors and actresses who put their lives on the line to help tell the stories that range from a guy named Luke running away from a pack of baying hounds to a fugitive diving off a high dam?  You betcha!  The guy who sang “I’m stickin’ with the union” would most certainly endorse honoring the best examples of those anonymous daredevils at work.

Advocating the establishment of a new category for the Oscars® may seem too mundane when compared to issues such as the stealth efforts to sneak Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) past the citizens, but being a progressive liberal means fighting a war on multiple fronts.  Not just in the Middle East, but metaphorically speaking, it means paying attention to all the facets of politics, which have to be considered simultaneously. 

The conservatives seem to be unanimous about all the contemporary issues they face; so solidarity with smaller progressive causes seems to be a necessary response to the Reagonists’ “Three Musketeers” strategy.  Have the Republicans been influenced by the Hell’s Angeles’ “fight one of us means fight all of us” type philosophy?  Hell, yeah.

Don’t Uncle Rushbo’s disciples seem to have a knee-jerk automatic disapproval of anything suggested on a liberal web site? 

Those capitalist mongers will greet this column’s topic by quoting the most famous cinematic line of dialogue of all time:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

Now, the disk jockey will play Dooley Wilson’s version of “<a href =>As Time Goes By</a>.”  It’s time to add the tags, because if I don’t I will regret it.  Perhaps not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.  Have a “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship” type week.