Just Above Sunset
November 20, 2005 - No One Died When the Dog Ate My Homework

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World's Laziest Journalist

November 21, 2005

By Bob Patterson

[Clicking on underlined type will take you to another page with some related information.]


[Note: When the Just Above Sunset fact finder read about the employees' sauna, the whole column was rejected as "fiction" just because he isn't permitted access to that part of the World Headquarters building.  He scrawled, "Fiction can't be fact-checked" across the printout and tossed it back on the editor's desk.]


The beloved editor and publisher of Just Above Sunset (JAS) weekly online magazine, Alan Pavlik, and I were getting massages in the employees health spa and talking about various and sundry important topics such as "sailing ships, sealing wax, cabbages and kings," when he suddenly became stern and gruff (not necessarily identical to a discerning observer fully versed in the subtle psychological differences). 


"You're going to have to get more people to read your column, if you want a Christmas bonus this year," he snapped.  [That made me think of H. L. Menken's assessment, "All managing editors are vermin," which was quoted by James Thurbur on page 73 of his book The Years With Ross.]


"I have a small audience of significant opinion makers.  Think of my reading audience as small but extremely influential," I rebutted.


"Oh yeah, just because you use the blackmail of giving a plug to Dr. Frederick Phases just to get him to play your requests on his radio show, I'm supposed to think you are having a perceptive influence on the contemporary culture?"


I asked:  "Are you referring to the KXLU disk jockey who hosts the psychedelic hour on Saturday nights from 10:30 to midnight (Pacific Time)?"


Alan grumbled:  "That's more than an hour."   


"It's a capitalism thing," I explained.  "His boss gives him two hours worth of stuff to do and when it gets done in an hour and a half, el jefe dismisses it with the comment 'I could have done it in one hour.'  It's one of those subtle examples of management MF (Mind finesse)." 


"I fully concur" Alan harrumphed, pouring some of the liquid from his "secret additive" bottle into his glass of diet Vanilla Pepsi (he thinks of it as a performance enhancing steroid for the soft drink) and muttered, "So now, you're going to tell me yet again about how you've gotten subtle hints that Roger Ebert had read one of your movie reviews?"


"Well, yeah, there's that and the fact that Paul Newman did ask for my autograph once," I reminded him.


"Ya gotta do better than that to earn a Christmas bonus," he reiterated.


OK, I'll take the challenge.  "What if I make a suggestion about how Karl Rove can help Bush with his image problem and then a week or so later, what I suggest is being reported as a new White House maneuver on the evening news?" 


Lately, it seems, the President's advisor is facing a marketing problem with the Iraq War that is reminiscent of the time that a soap company found out that the model whose picture appeared on their product had subsequently become the star of an adult film.  [See below - AMP]  If the presidential advisor is as desperate as the Mainstream Media (MSM) hints, he might even be willing to read this column to get a suggestion that might help his "client.'"  Saying that I'd get that fellow to read my column reminded me of the (urban legend?) time that Babe Ruth pointed to a flagpole before hitting a home run that bounced off it.


"If you can do that, I'll personally call the Factory Five PR Department in Massachusetts and suggest that they consider making a demo model of one of their replicas available to you for your 'Kerouac in a Cobra' project!" http://www.justabovesunset.com/id1200.html


Sipping my Pepsi (free of the performance enhancing additive Alan uses), I nodded in agreement.  "Okay."


After a long silence, he asked: "So what are you going to suggest?"


"Well, if the fellow affectionately known around the White House as Turd Blossom were here, I'd say this: 'TB, it's simple.  You just announce that you have intelligence that says (touchy subject, I know, but stay with me, now) that Osama died in the earthquake.'"


Alan had to act as the well known consultant's proxy and ask: "What good is that going to do?  'Splain, Lucy, splain.'"


"They should say that Osama is dead and that the Al Qaeda hierarchy is undergoing über-consternation in the subsequent attempts to establish the new chain of command in the power vacuum that has resulted.  Folks in the Middle East are good at squabbling with each other and if it looks like there is no one person as the new commander, then they will bicker with each other and fight to achieve the prestige of being Osama's replacement.  While they are coping with organizational hysteria, Bush can goad them into even more disarray and watching them quarrel.


"They can portray the situation as America having the football on a first down with one yard separating the team from the end zone.  They can say that the Democrats, who urge a pull out now, are giving up just before the Al Qaeda management team disintegrates into total disarray."


Alan asked, "What if Osama isn't dead?" 


"In that case, they can portray it as an effort that would cast Bush in the 'I act and they can only react' mode, which will also make Bush look better at home and abroad.  They can stress the "we don't know who to deal with" aspect of the mystery surrounding the health and whereabouts of Osama."


Olga, the JAS masseuse who was working on me, used some maneuvers that (I believe) are outlawed in professional wrestling and pinned me to the mat.


"I like it when you do columns about stuff like the bottle jersey, which hasn't gotten much attention elsewhere in the mainstream media.  Didn't you say that you saw a Michael Moore action figure doll, recently?  That would be something that isn't an 'overdone' topic that looks like 'me too-ism,'" Alan opined. 


Bottle Jerseys are a way for sports fans to express their team affiliation while taking a swig because when the hold the bottle up, they are simultaneously holding up a unique new item of apparel that indicates which team they are supporting.


There isn't much online about the Michael Moore action figure, which we saw on display at the Rhino Records store on Westwood Boulevard.


Due to the fact that news value has become a matter of giving extensive coverage to stories that has already appeared on the audience's radar scope, and so, paradoxically, the MSM outlets are less inclined to break a new story because it doesn't score well on the popularity meter, the journalism business has progressed into the realm of an "anti-scoop" mentality.  If a story is new, it has no popularity quotient and therefore isn't worth any effort to report. 


In the old days, the newspapers loved the concept of a "scoop" that indicated no other publication had discovered that particular item, yet.  Now, how can people send an email to Brian Williams urging him to do a story about something they haven't seen or heard about?  That's a contradiction in concepts.


"Don't you think it would be cool to have circumstantial evidence that the President's closest advisor was reading our web site," I asked?


"I'd prefer that you write some clever insight that gets us a plug elsewhere like maybe a mention on the 'Minding the Media' segment on KCRW."  He was referring to the weekly installment of journalism criticism done each Tuesday at 4:44 p.m. (Pacific) by the fellow who used to work for the Santa Monica Outlook, but now is the media reporter for the Baltimore Sun.


"On the other hand, if we get some logons, during the Thanksgiving week, from the White House server, I'll call Factory Five and make some inquiries." 


My ulterior motive was that if I make a suggestion to help "Turd Blossom" restore Bush's tarnished image then maybe he could arrange for some publicity for my plans to become a millionaire by selling t-shirts urging the changes so that Bush can run for a third term in 2008.  Maybe at a press conference he could drop a reference to the T-shirts and observe - "It's a groundswell that started in Mar Vista!"  Maybe he could arrange for one of the corporate supporters of the President to order ten thousand copies of my "3rd for 43" T-shirt?  That would get the grassroots movement started and then they could get me some publicity and it would become a self-fulfilling prophesy kind of deal.


Until the Great White Father's trickster reads this column, we can only urge the regular readers to e-mail our site's homepage URL -http://www.justabovesunset.com/ - to their friends and hope that the old "Field of Dreams" philosophy applies to online magazines.


The JAS mascot, Clarence the clairvoyant parrot, this week, squawked - "In January, a dozen Republican congressional representatives will switch to the Democratic party in a frantic effort to stave off being voted out of office in the fall elections."


While contemplating the allegation that some things were distorted to make the evidence fit a particular conclusion before the debate began, I thought of Ursula K. Le Guin's opening paragraph for The Left Hand of Darkness -  "I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a mater of the imagination.  The soundest fact may fail or prevail in the style of its telling: like that singular organic jewel of our seas, which grows brighter as one woman wears it and, worn by another, dulls and goes to dust.  Facts are no more solid, coherent, round, and real than pearls are.  But both are sensitive."


This weekend, everyone seems to be plugging a Johnny Cash song, so our disk jockey will play his version of The Ballad of Ira Hayes and we will march on out of here for this week.  Until the next time, have a "total victory" week.





Copyright (including logo and photo) © 2005 - Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com


That time that a soap company found out that the model whose picture appeared on their product had subsequently become the star of an adult film?


Bob sent this photo of same –

The star of an adult film?


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.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....