Just Above Sunset
November 6, 2005 - A War That Was Started For No Reason Can't Have An Ending

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World's Laziest Journalist

November 7, 2005

By Bob Patterson


[Click on underlined type to go to another web page with related information]


[Note:  The fact checker labeled the beginning of this column as poetic license for the purpose of "setting it up."  Some of the quotes were not transcribed nor recorded and therefore they may not be the exact words uttered.]


After putting the last issue of Just Above Sunset to bed, this columnist and the beloved editor and publisher were sitting on the verandah of the World Headquarters (you've heard of reading someone their verandah rights, haven't you?) enjoying a good cigar and fine drink (diet vanilla Pepsi in my case) talking over recent events in a manner not unlike the conclusion of most (if not all) episodes of Boston Legal.  (Alan is, after all, the Denny Craine of blogs and online magazines.)


"Why the heck did you make such an effort to cover the attempt to set a record for the World's Longest Hearse Procession when we are trying to establish an identity for providing readers with astute political commentary?," Alan harrumphed, puffing on his Caribbean cigar.


"Almost anybody can sit around in their pajamas and fulminate for or against Bush, but if a web site goes out and gets original material - then the readers might get the idea that the staff for such a hypothetical online publication can do similar fact-checking for their Bush bashing diatribes," I grunted.  "Besides, it makes it easier for googlers to find us."


I popped the bubble my cigar bubble gum had produced, and added: "All guys like cars and so if we cover cars, we can possibly lure some new readers to our site and then hope that they will stray over into the other pages of the publication and become return satisfied customers again next week."


It was fun going to that particular event, so why not take a camera along and "cover" it?


The attempt to set a Guinness Book of Records for the Longest Hearse Procession held at the Petersen Automotive Museum had come to our attention while reading the Thursday Calendar Weekend Section of the Los Angeles Times on October 27, 2005 and we had decided immediately that the event was worth the effort of packing one of the Just Above Sunset Photo Department digital cameras into the bag, taking the bus ride over there, and seeing.


It was one of those media events that had been publicized greatly and when it occurred, a handful of ordinary citizens saw an army of journalists swarming about.


Forrest Lawn Cemetery had news reporters there for the event.  The History Channel covered it.  There were students from Cal State North Ridge, as well as the columnist/photographer from Just Above Sunset.


Coffin Case, a company that produces guitar cases that are shaped like (you guessed it) a coffin had their spokesmodel, Mora DeVoura there to vamp for the cameras and get publicity for their product.  They also handed out guitar picks that featured an image of Dracula on one side.


Suppose, I hypothesized, I write a column that asks: "Is Pete Carroll becoming the John Wooden of college football?"  If someone googles for Pete Carroll, John Wooden, or college football, they might find that column and thereby take a look at our site.


If the question is how is it that a nation that is getting fat can sustain such a wide array of magazines that offer suggestions about the latest trends in clothing which feature pencil think models?  Do the fat folks really think that wearing the same outfits as those shown in the pictures will make them look svelte?  Are people really that gullible?  If the names of the top fashion designers were thrown into such a hypothetical column, then, obviously, some Google reconnaissance efforts might bring them to Just Above Sunset's e-doorstep. 




If I write a column that asks how can a war that was started for no real reason be ended?  If it were a masterful composition that explained that a war started for no reason can't be ended because that made a peace treaty impossible to produce, how would new readers find it?  Will the citizens (not the Al Qaeda insurgents who will never come to a peace negotiation with the US) ever sit down at a table (old Vietnam lesson: it has to be round) and admit that they never had any WMD's which the Americans came seeking?  That sounds crazy.  Would they ever sign a paper that says they had them but the dog ate them when the invasion started?  Will they ever sign a piece of paper that says they are sorry for tricking the Bush Junta into starting the war? 


It's a simple matter of logic.  The insurgents are upset and think the US invaded their country for no reason.  They will never sign a peace treaty that says there were no WMD's but we'll let bygones be bygones.  They will fight to get the Americans out.  If America ever leaves, it will look like the insurgents forced the US to leave.  Therefore, it's a "Mexican standoff."  No one will ever win.  The US won't leave.  It will go on and on and on.


How would a Google search find such a (theoretical) column?  Will anyone ever do such a search for "war started for no good reason?"  Maybe they could Google for "war started for the wrong reasons?" - but do people Google for "surreal peace treaty terms?"  Or: "A peace treaty that might have been written by Andre Breton?"


The editor and publisher nodded sagely.  A vapor of smoke drifted away like ghosts at dawn.


I inquired - "Will the Americans one day say: 'Whoops!  Sorry.  We'll just leave.'  One day will the Iraqis just wake up and notice that the American military has packed up and disappeared ("Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs / And as silently steal away.")?" 


The editor and publisher took a draw on his pipe.  "So, a hundred years from now, folks will be reading our back issues to see what pundits were saying when the war, which will still be going, got started?"


"Yeah, something like that," I responded.


"So," he asked, "if it is never going to end, it's useless to keep a final tally of how many soldiers have been killed because there will never be a number which will be the total number of fatalities.  Is that what you're saying?"


"Precisely," I mumbled. 


"Well," he drawled, "that's a depressing thought.  That means our work of commenting on the cast of characters who got us into it, will never be completed."


"Which, is why we have to occasionally throw a 'change up' column at the readers and write about stuff like an attempt to hold the world's longest procession of hearses.  Which might symbolically be relevant and easier to find via a Google search."


"Whatever," he growled as he poured more diet Vanilla Pepsi into my glass and I popped another bubble with my cigar gum.


"The Moving Finger writes; and having writ, / Moves on: nor all your tears nor all your Piety nor Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, / Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."  [I knew that he was quoting lines from Edward FitzGerald's The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.]


Somewhere in the distance I could hear someone's TV blaring and the old song playing was one titled "The Sheik of Araby." 


"That's a poetic way of putting it," I said.




Copyright (including logo) 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com





Editor's Notes:


This link will take you to an audio clip (3:11) of the highly recommended Fats Waller version of "The Sheik of Araby," recorded April 12, 1938, in New York (Victor).  Words and music to this are by Harry Smith, Francis Wheeler and Ted Snider, from 1921.  There are many versions, even one by the Beatles (1962, sung by George Harrison - The Quarrymen At Home and The Decca Tapes - TMOQ:LK4438).


Although the discussion above is fictional, the World's Laziest Journalist continues his real and persistent efforts to have Just Above Sunset drop almost all political commentary in favor of publishing only items on automobiles, pop culture, and local curiosities, unless anything political is reported first hand from the White House or Iraq or whatever the scene.  The current editor is, of course, considering whether he has been doing this site all wrong for the last three years, and whether the World's Laziest Journalist, with his deep experience in real journalism – stints at the Torrance California Daily Breeze, the Santa Monica Outlook and the local paper in Reno, Nevada, along with monitoring the flow of shots across a local Associated Press photo bureau – knows far better what readers want.  Perhaps the current editor is, indeed, rather stupid and stubborn, and elitist, a falsely intellectual.  But the current editor is not considering this change in format very seriously.  When he wins the lottery he will buy the World's Laziest Journalist a real computer, a fast Internet connection, and urge him to start his own site, and become rich and famous and popular.  That was never the aim here.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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