Just Above Sunset
August 14, 2005 - The Return of "The Point of No Return"

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World's Laziest Journalist

August 15, 2005

By Bob Patterson


As last week's column ended, we promised that this week's column would be about "E - none of the above," and that boils down to nihilism and that is a topic that should be being revived at this point in time, but isn't.  Well, step back, we know a thing or two about nihilism and we've been monitoring current events and it sure as heck seems like now is a good time to dump a bunch of nihilistic items into one column.


When the movie The High And The Mighty was first released, this columnist first heard the expression "the point of no return."  My Aunt Dorothy explained the concept as it related to the movie.  If an airplane has mechanical difficulty on a flight from Honolulu to the mainland, it is easier to go back to the airport where the flight originated, if it is closer than the destination.  When the airplane gets to the halfway point, logically, if there is some difficulty, it makes sense to continue on to the destination.  Technically the point of no return might be a few clicks closer to the point of origin than the halfway point, because it might be a question of increased fuel consumption to turn around; that's the kind of precision that appeals only to professional fact-checkers.


The Mainstream Media (MSM) has been informing their audience that the 1954 John Wayne film has just become available on DVD and it seems inevitable that the pundits will revive the "point of no return" concept and apply it to the war in Iraq. 


August 15, 2005 is the date that has been selected as the deadline for a new constitution for Iraq and that deadline was mentioned in a few news reports about Al Qaeda warnings.  As July was ending, there was one report online that one of the Al Qaeda warnings advised countries that belong to the coalition armed forces in Iraq to depart quickly, because if they are still there after August 15, Al Qaeda will bring their terrorist efforts to the homeland of those particular participating countries.


That particular story got very little play in the Mainstream Media, so if Al Qaeda makes good on their threat (when have they ever made a threat they couldn't or wouldn't deliver?), the MSM can act surprised.  Folks who dabble in amateur "intelligence" efforts (they read Eye Spy magazine and subscribe to various underground reports) will shrug and say "we saw it coming" - but the highly paid anchors and pundits will be surprised, which indicates either they are faking or they are not making any effort at being well informed journalists.


When the July 7, 2005, bombings in London occurred, some TV pundits wished that Paris would host such violence.  They all seemed to ignore or be ignorant of "Red October" in 1986 when there was a series of bombings in Paris.  Making a minimal effort at journalism is being lazy; making no effort whatsoever isn't journalism, it's being an impostor. 


Could it be that they think that some well-acted hysterics would be more entertaining and desirable than a few facts provided by the research department?  Whatever!  That is the official (because I say so) nihilist's battle cry!


Speaking of a flight from Honolulu, when last week's column ended, we offered the readers a multiple-choice question about what the topic of this week's column would be.  One choice hinted that one airline contributed $300,000 to the Hubert Humphrey For President campaign and got the rights to fly to Hawaii in return.  The correct answer "E - none of the above" was code talk for nihilism and that is what the topic of this week's column actually is.


Other than some film critics who revere the film noir genre, nihilism doesn't get much press.  If the American media wants to write about nihilism they have to include one particular aspect: how can Americans profit from it?  If you can't use it to make a profit, then nihilism is useless.


Will Iraq become a pro Iranian Islamic Republic?  This columnist isn't the only one to see things going that way.


"Shoot to kill; aim for the head!" is the new nihilism motto.


Only lawyers and nihilists use the word "fungible."


Oscar season is approaching.  Ahhhh!  That means there will be a stream of new films about alcoholism, infidelity, wife beating, murder, lives destroyed by sports injuries, incurable diseases, insanity, and drug addiction.  Nihilists always look forward to going to the movies during Oscar season.


Is part of the official nihilism uniform a "wifebeater" T-shirt?


Nihilists love it when conservatives won't let a sick person commit suicide and they won't let them have painkillers either.


A nihilist doesn't need a reason for a war.  They just say, "Bring 'em on!"


Recently while in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, we met some young folks working on a project for the Environmental Action Group. We didn't sign their petition, but we did promise to plug (did William Safire ever do the etymology for that word?) their efforts in one of our columns, so in honor of Ronald "if you've seen one redwood tree, you've seen 'em all" Reagan, we'll run the plug and also mention the idea that a lumber company will be permitted to chop down one giant sequoia just so that new conservative judges will have cool gavels, is an urban myth


Which reminds us that there is in Bakersfield (home of Buck Owens' nightclub the Crystal Palace) a high school team that is known as the (Oil) Drillers.  When we pointed out to LA Times columnist Steve Harvey, where we found out that bit of trivia, he shared it with his readers and gave a plug to Just Above Sunset online magazine.  (Yah for Steve Harvey!)


When Australians want to say "nada" they use the expression "piece of piss," but after reading a story on the American Journalism Review website about the length of stories, it might be more accurate for journalists to say a "piece of pith."


Two folks from the jury that recently found Michael Jackson not guilty have written books about the trial and now say (on NBC) that they thought he was guilty.  (That should help boost sales.)  Next thing you know, Jay Leno will be doing jokes that indicate OJ might want to use a mirror when he goes looking for …


As this paragraph is being written, Bill O'Reilly is pointing out that Jon Stewart isn't credible because he has no ideas about how to solve the War on Terrorism and/or the situation in Iraq.  Letting Osama escape from Afghanistan was genius, Bill, because now, while Osama orchestrates the operations of Al Qaeda, the Republicans can say "The Democrats have no ideas about how to solve this mess" and that contention (unlike the Humvees in Iraq) is bulletproof.


O'Reilly relishes it when he goads folks to come on his show and they decline the invitation.  You'll notice that he has never offered to match wits with the World's Laziest Journalist.   


On Monday August 8, 2005, the ABC evening news show ran an extensive amount of coverage of the death of their news anchor Peter Jennings.  Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather were shown on shows like Extra, Access Hollywood, and Entertainment Tonight (the axis of buzz) saying nice things about Jennings.  The NBC evening news noted Jennings passing.  On PBS the half hour of news (no commercials all news) from the BBC, they didn't mention it.


In Manhattan Murder Mystery, Woody Allen delivered this line: "Is it my fault that every time I hear Wagner, I feel an irresistible urge to invade Poland?"  Will Dubya attend the Wagner festival being held in Germany?


This week the disk jockey is extremely proud of his efforts.  He went deep into the WLJ music vault and found a mint copy of the theme song from The High And The Mighty.  It won an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington [Three Coins In The Fountain won that year].)  While we stroll out of here, you can whistle along with the music.  The Rolling Stones are about to begin their new Bigger Bang tour in Boston this week.  Tune in next week for our Big Bang column.  Until then, have a "case white" week.




Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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Paris readers add nine hours....