Just Above Sunset
May 23, 2004: Does Zipf's law apply to Schrödinger's cat?
The World’s Laziest Journalist
By Bob Patterson
The mission statement for
this weekly feature at Just Above Sunset online magazine is: “Write a column about anything you want, so that everyone
on the Internet can read and enjoy it.”
Isn’t the prospect
of every webster in the world tuning in to the same site at the same time the journalistic equivalent of the physicists problem
concerning an irresistible force meeting an immovable object?
We’ll start out slow and each week build momentum and audience. The first choice is: should we try to cover the most popular topics just like a myriad of other sites or should we try to come up with items and insights that are not available elsewhere? We will deliver attempts at provoking thought such as: Is the domain name “solipsism.org” an oxymoron?” We will strive to present topics that won’t overwhelm you with alternative possibilities from a Google search such as: “nudism in Antarctica.” (When this column was being written, a search said there were no results to report, but now, if you do a search, this column will be listed as the entire search results.)
Why claim to be the world’s
laziest journalist? If columnists do their job correctly, they come up with the
unique insights and the interesting overlooked topic. If they don’t do
any work at all they run with the most popular subject-matter and sleep walk through the effort. You want to know what are the top items? Check them out on
Pack journalism isn’t considered quality work. We’ll try to go the extra yard and break away from the wolf pack.
From time to time, we will
link our readers to other sites we think are interesting. Many of them will be
aimed at journalists such as the one of/for/by/and about newspaper editors
and in a blatant effort
to encourage “guilt by association” one about the fine art of journalism itself.
We’ll point our
readers in the direction of other blogs that are well done and have a differing point of view.
The word “laziest” implies doing the least amount of work possible. We like to think, but we don’t want to “feel the burn” in that department. Being a copycat indicates doing no work. So, we’ll try to come up with engaging items with the smallest effort necessary on our part. Hence the world’s laziest journalist. It’s also a subtle sarcastic way to point out that some well known news media seem to put little effort into developing “scoops” or even “thinking outside the box.”
There was a great deal of coverage of the first courts-martial trial last week. It seems the Republican administration has applied the “trickle down” principle (from Reaganomics) to culpability in the military. Isn’t there an old Army saying that “Blame rolls downhill?”
There was a great deal
of coverage in the American media for a 50-year-old story. In the French media
the big story from a half-century ago was the siege at Diên Biên Phu. It’s probably a good idea for the US based media to ignore that bit
of military history.
We will drop items in at
various times that form a recurring leitmotif for this feature to give it some semblance of continuity. (Also, some weeks, when we are hard up for something innovative, we can fall back on some reliable recurring
themes to get us by until the muse returns.) Fans of “gonzo” journalism
will want to see the June 2004 issue of Vanity Fair which has a long article on
the Lisl Auman case in Colorado.
Occasionally we will deliver
items that are the equivalent of baseball’s “brush back pitch” such as:
Is it true that Oscar Wilde once said to Rene Magritte: “This sentence is not an epigram.”?
We noticed on the local
newsstand (Talk of the Town in the Mar Vista area) that Life magazine has a special issue on scenic highways of the USA. As
a former resident of the Lake Tahoe area we were a tad disappointed that their look at the resort lake consisted of two photos
on two pages. Colorado can boast of some impressive competition in the category
of mountain scenery, but, civic pride aside, why did they limit it to just the USA?
There is some spectacular easily accessible mountain scenery available to US citizens along the highways in the Banff
Speaking of only Americans
being eligible, what are the chances that a baseball team from Perth will make it into baseball’s playoffs for the World
Series this year?
cat is involved, we will invoke Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle because cats are practically synonymous with the
Sometimes some fact accountability
will be called into play. A reader in Paris (France not Texas) e-mailed to point
out an error in last week’s column. In the movie Paint Your Wagon the song I Was Born Under a Wanderin’ Star was
sung by Lee Marvin. In the same movie Clint Eastwood sang the song When I Talk to the Trees.
Fifteen yard penalty lazy fact checking!
Some Radio listeners in
the LA area still lament the absence of the news commentary done on KXLU by Marvin E. Quasnikki who used to end his broadcast
with the signature line: “If you untie my hands and feet, I promise to
come back later.” (Name two who miss him?
Uncle Byron and yours truly.)
Now, if the disk jockey
will play “In the Jailhouse Now” (featuring Clint Eastwood among others) from the Honky-tonk Man soundtrack album.
We’ll make our escape and promise to come back seven days hence. Until
then, enjoy your freedom and have a good week.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....