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October 17, 2004 - Does carpe diem mean the daily special at a rug store?

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World’s Laziest Journalist


By Bob Patterson


People, who read this column (the geographically diverse dozen as it were) while it appears as part of Just Above Sunset online magazine’s current issue can sample the American culture and sentiment in the closing days of the 2004 Presidential election elsewhere.  We try to feature items that aren’t what the bloggers are talking about before the stories trickle up to the national media; we try to find the topics that the bloggers haven’t written up … yet. 


Whatever happened to the National Enquirer’s habit of assessing things presidential by using a voice-stress analyzer to determine if a public figure may be fibbing?  Don’t they now sell such technology to parents so that they can use the bargain basement “lie detector” to help when they ask their kids about booze, drugs, and unprotected sex?  So, why then hasn’t that methodology been adapted by the New York Post, Daily News, and London tabloids when they assess the debaters’ performances?


Has anyone mentioned that the folks who belong to the Writers Guild seem to have reverted to doing piecework?  Are they now getting paid by the word?  Some movies and TV shows seem to function on the premise that dialogue must be non-stop.  Audiences in the fall of 2004 are being inundated by words, phrases, metaphors, and sentences in such a rapid-fire mode that a future parody might consist of Alvin (of the singing chipmunks) reading crucial passages from Sartre’s Being and Nothingness on speed.  Is somebody afraid that if you slow things down, Americans might take some time to think about what things mean?  Notgood,betterspeedthingsupevenmore.


What about movie formatting?  It seems that they shoot movies in an almost square format and then, often, show them in the USA on a wide screen which leaves the audience to conjecture about what the top of the star’s head looks like and guess what the unseen décolletage reveals.  Get the critics in the states to rave about the feeling of intimacy that such an extreme close up produces.  Let the audience scramble to catch up.


Is Campbell’s soup being clever and innovative when they have their current (Fall of 2004 again) essay contest included in the plots of American Dreams (known as Our Generation in Australia and as Mes plus belle années in France)?  The series is about life in the Philadelphia area during the Sixties.  Can the folks in Oz and Paris enter the contest now?  What will the contest look like when the series is shown in reruns in Tokyo in 2011?   Eh bien, Didn’t Gertrude Stein say: “A plug, is a plug, is a plug?”


The folks at the Columbia School of Journalism, who are assessing the press coverage of the 2004 election as it occurs, will, when it’s over, be in possession of a trove of information about the quality of the news coverage and will be positioned to produce an in depth (if not definitive) book about the effect the news media may, or may not, have had on the final results.  They’ve hit a major vein of golden subject matter.  Maybe they will continue their mission beyond November 2, and dog the news outlets about their shortcomings so that the journalism students at Columbia and elsewhere will know the flaws that future reporters will want to strive to reduce if not totally eliminate.


One of my teachers in high school always said that the only people who start out on top are ditch diggers, hence the need for a Delusions of Adequacy night of music, which will be held next weekend in Rochester New York.


Ya can’t become the Rolling Stones on your first gig.  It’s like famed musician Keith Richards says: “If you practice anything long enough; you’ll get good at it.”  Rock bands have to practice not just the music; they have to practice being rock stars, too, ya know.  Hence the need for a Festival of Future Stars.


Here in LA we get many opportunities to see stars, but it’s the ones who are the real “about to become stars” that are hard to find.  (There are plenty of folks in “tinseltown” who are legends in their own mind, but they never make it past the waiter in waiting stage.)


Maybe, after the election, bloggers will shift over and concentrate on the month long celebration of photography that will be held in Paris during November.


The guy in New Jersey who reads this column regularly, and supports president Bush, says that his guy will win and then the two liberal bloggers will be gripping about the legitimacy of the election results then and for a long time to come.  It doesn’t take Karnack the Magnificent to predict that he’s right about that.


Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore may have used one of Karl Rove’s tactics to help sell DVD’s of Fahrenheit 9/11?  We were astounded to hear a commercial for the Moore documentary last week while listening to Bill O’Reilly.  They use an incredulous tone to tout his points.  “Michael Moore says the war in Iraq is about oil!”  Then they suggest that you buy the film to hear the real truth.  Conservatives who aren’t listening closely might mistake the ad for an anti-Michael Moore advertisement.  It’s clever and deceptive like most of ads for the guy whose team hasn’t had one conviction of a terrorist and yet he wants to be reelected for the way he is handling the war on terrorism.


Speaking of O’Reilly’s No Spin Zone, does that mean he will never play the song, Rubberband Man (by the Spinners) on his radio show?


For some, November on the Internet means it is write a novel month.


Each year, the third Saturday in October is designated as “Sweetest Day,” which brings Jackie Gleason’s trade mark comment to mind: “How sweet it is!”  He did seem to enjoy his coffee almost as much as, if not more, than agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks.


Looking ahead to December watch for stories about the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit a home run (his first as a Yankee?) at Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923.  If the balance for your checking account doesn’t have seven figures to the left of the decimal point, fahgedabouddit.  It’s expected to sell for over a million dollars when Sotheby’s puts it up for bids in New York City at a sale of sports cards and collectibles. 


Doing some Christmas shopping for baseball fans who live in New York or Boston?  They might like The Rivals: The Boston Red Sox Vs, The New York Yankees ($29.95 St. Martins Press) which is a collection of stories by the baseball writers of the New York Times and the Boston Globe.


Winston Churchill was quoted (Power Quotes by Daniel Baker, page 85) as saying:  “I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place.”


The DJ will play the song In the Year 2525, sung by Evans Zager, and we’ll march into the inevitable future where we will try to write next week’s column.  Y’all come back and see how we did.  Until then, have a Star Trek week and do it boldly.




Copyright © 2004 – Robert Patterson


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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