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September 18, 2005 - On the Road to Becoming the Pundits' Pundit

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World's Laziest Journalist

September 19, 2005

By Bob Patterson


Now that the Al Qaeda kid has been seen on the TV predicting that Los Angeles has become the next terrorists' target city in America, all the pundits are (probably) going to be jumping on that topic.  First, there will probably be a nice selection of new columns about how decadent and deviant things are in Los Angeles, which will subtly hint: "They deserve it!"  Sodom and Gomorra disguised as Tinseltown has been a popular pundit topic for decades.  Nothing like taking an old idea out of the attic and doing a quick update. 


The pundits will delineate how the LA Police Chief, Bill Bratton, dismissed the young man as a lunatic.  If something happens, this will (in retrospect) look, if anyone afterwards remembers what he said, like an uninformed propaganda response.  If nothing happens, Bratton will look confident and competent. 


There will be some attempts to predict the possible methods and the most likely target for a potential terrorist plot.  Obviously, if they run an airplane into a building this won't get any credit for creativity on the part of the terrorists. Then the pundits will reach the conclusion that to get as much, or more, coverage, Al Qaeda will have to do something imaginative, and different.  Then the political pundits will notice just how much coverage entertainment personalities get and enumerate just how heavy the security measures will have to be to make sure that no suicide bomber is ever admitted to a big show business event. Then the pundits will begin to wonder if the security is good enough to prevent a tragedy. They will conclude that it will be impossible to sneak an explosive device into any event.


What can a rising pundit do to catch the attention of other more established pundits and/or commentators?  A columnist can't or shouldn't write about what kind of attack could be used to circumvent the security measures in place because that might (just possibly) give the terrorists an idea they had not previously considered and spur them into that particular plan.


Don't all online pundits yearn to for the chance to respond to Chris Matthew's after he says: "Tell me something I don't know."  [Chris: We dare you to change the intro and just once add the old "Laugh In" line: "Sock it to me!"]


Wouldn't the nationally known pundits flock to an Internet pundit who served up good topics in the "build it and they will come" mode from Field Of Dreams?  For example, how about these column ideas:


1.  Will the Spin Center maintain that the abandoned old folks who died in the hurricane were either (it might be urged) too stupid or too lazy to get out?  Aren't old folks equal to young folks who did get out?  Then, logically, it must be asked: "Shouldn't old folks know that the government can't always be there to help them?"  If the old folks had access to a .357 Magnum ("probably the most powerful handgun in the world"), they could put it rather succinctly to the fleeing staff: "How many of us are you going to take with you?  Is it five or six?  Well now, you have to ask yourself another question: 'Isn't abandoning old people tantamount to negligent homicide and don't I have the right to use this gun in self defense?'"  The bed ridden have a right to own guns, too!


2.  Which nationally known pundit will be the first to see "Lord of War" and show how it's theme is applicable to the War in Iraq?


3.  Would certain national pundits prefer that America's citizens could only listen to approved news such as the German AM radio from the 1930's (Volksempfänger VE301) exemplified?


4.  Is Baghdad listening to an American radio pundit?  On the BBC news (as seen on PBS on Wednesday September 14, 2005) a fellow there, reacting to the series of car bombs, said that it appeared that the government wouldn't always be there to protect him.  Isn't that exactly the same line that one guy was telling Americans after Hurricane Katrina?


5.  If John Roberts shouldn't be questioned on specific issues, why bothering him with any questions at all?  Are Senators going to get any information that will help them decide how they will vote on his confirmation by asking him to name his favorite movies or give an extemporaneous speech of the "What I did on last Summer's vacation" variety?  [After that item was written and before it was shipped off to Just Above Sunset's World Headquarters we learned that his favorite movies were Dr. Zivago and North By Northwest.] 


6.  If a Hollywood event such as the Emmys were to be hit by a terrorist attack and a big earthquake were to kill thousands in Africa the next day, which event would get extensive network coverage in the USA?


7.  Don't term limits discriminate against only one person?  Since Bill Clinton has been disbarred in one state, doesn't that mean he can't run for President in the future?  Who, then, is the only eligible person in the world who is being prevented from running in 2008?  Just one - George W. Bush.  Is a Constitutional Amendment that discriminates against one person legal?  Shouldn't the Supreme Court decide that question?  (I know, it's a hypothetical but columnists can do what nominees for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court don't and discuss potential cases.)


8.  Sociopaths are not good at accepting blame.  (This has been discussed previously in Just Above Sunset online magazine.)  Traditionally they never accept blame.  What happens when one is somehow forced to say that something was their fault?  Shouldn't some enterprising nationally known pundit get a psychologist to say what, in such a hypothetical case, might happen?  Then the pundit could draw any applicable parallels with a well know political personality, who is reluctant to say: "The buck stops here."


9.  Wouldn't a poll conducted near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, be very different as far as the percentage of whites who support George Bush's response to the Hurricane Katrina, than ones conducted in Hollywood and/or New York City?


10.  If the number of deaths that occurred during Hurricane Katrina is underestimated, won't a great many dead people still be issued Social Security checks for years to come?  Isn't accuracy in the death toll and casualty list important?


If nationally known pundits don't respond to good ideas, why not resort less subtle tactics for attracting such a readership?


How can pundit for a small online magazine could (conceivably) catch their attention with his devious mind without tipping off the terrorists?  One way would be to make this offer:  "If any nationally known pundit contacts the rookie, he will tell them his hypothetical strategy theory about how an event such as the Emmys could easily be disrupted without getting someone inside the building."


Then if the hypothetical Internet pundit's ideas were prescient, he could become the pundit that other pundits read.  If the wannabe makes a bogus prediction, then he will just have to listen to the established pundit stars boast and realize: "The more things change, the more they remain the same."


When the journalists do a story about the execution of a criminal, they almost always describe the condemned man's last meal in minute detail.  So it isn't unreasonable to expect many pundits to come to Southern California and soak up as much decadence as possible under the guise of using it as a metaphor for the condemned man's last meal.


Morituri te salutant (Those about to die, we salute you.)  Should that slogan used by the gladiators become the new motto for the city of Los Angeles? 


Now, if the disk jockey will play the sound track album from Deadman Walking, we'll shuffle out of here for this week.  What will next week's column be about?  Well, come on back and see if we lived that long.  Maybe we'll do a column about "Kink in LA."  Meanwhile have a "you only live once" style week. 




Copyright © 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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