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Saturday, May 07, 2005
THINGS GO WORNG
Some people call it "allergies." My optometrist calls it "acute allergic conjunctivitis." Still others call it "pinkeye." I call it a royal pain in the ass.
I can't see to write, so I've take a couple of daze off.
Meantime, though, I had a letter in the local paper today, which will partially suffice. Why don't the "enlightened" people ever get that law exists, ultimately, to the benefit of all? Just because one's cause is noble is no reason to hold oneself above the law.
And, of course, I found a great ad slogan generator. Here's the URL and some samples.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Date: May 6, 2005 10:40:53 AM PDT
Subject: ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME, or, JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY TODAY
As usual - entertaining, funny; but this time, there are 2 problems with your logic.
1) News people have never (not once) been objective purveyors of truth. The assumption that they have now begun to "bend farther over" is a construct of your own imagination. (And theirs, frankly).
The danger to our society is to assume that "good journalism" = truth. No such relation or thing exists. The well informed citizen takes all info with a grain of salt, no matter the source.
2) Paul Harvey. Hasn't he been doing this for years? What is the REAL difference between Charles and Paul? (hint: none).
There is no slippery slope, it has been ever thus. The real danger is passing. The inter-net blog (and of this you are part) resurrects the pamphleteers of old.
The passing danger of the last few decades thankfully recedes. TV brought us "you must believe your eyes, so it must be true" journalists and ism. May it rest in peace.
The reason we like to be distracted with Michael and Scott and Lacey and the bride and the spectacle is because it makes us feel better. My life is not that out of control yet. I'm O.K.
Has nothing to do with the quality of "news" or our intellect. It's our state of self-analysis that is at issue.
I'll agree with you, provisionally.
But there are two other issues here:
First, I came of age during the post-Watergate era, and every reporter I knew was imbued with lambent fire, hell-bent on exposing the "truth" etc. etc. I know. I worked beside them from the old LA Herald-Examiner back in the late 70s, to the present day.
So, I want to know where that high-falutin' hypocrisy is now, when it's actually needed. The fact that news has never been perfect doesn't excuse the slovenly, contemptible and corrupt reportage of the present.
Secondly, there was, once, a certain amount of competition that forced people to occasionally follow those high-falutin ideals that old Joe Pulitzer (who never once practiced them) propounded* and the diversity of voices did create an atmosphere of oversight. The media did, to a great degree, its implicit job -- as enshrined in the First Amendment -- of oversight, of getting the facts out there, and exposing propaganda. It was never perfect, or even that good, come to think of it, but, compared to what's going on today, it was positively a Golden Age.
[ * Pulitzer's 1883 manifesto for good journalism: 'Always fight for justice and reform, never tolerate injustice and corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing the news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.']
So, I intend to shove the shiv into their spotty behinds at every opportunity. They are deserving of our most profound contempt and disdain.
I DO believe and agree with you that they've driven people to the internet for their news, and managed to marginalize themselves in the process. The proof? Increasingly, you hear the "internet" and the "bloggers" spoken of with barely-disguised contempt and disdain, which means they're scared of it.
Problem is, fully one-third (by some polling) of the public get their news from talk radio.
We're back to antebellum journalism, where every town had a Republican/Whig paper and a Democrat paper, and the news was spun accordingly. In fact, the [local Eugene] Register-Guard was originally the Guard (the Democrat paper) and the Register (the Republican paper) which were merged by Alton Baker in the 20s, as that old paradigm died out. (e.g. The Albany [Oregon] Herald-Democrat, and the [Little Rock] Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).
thanks for your letter, ****.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
TOPEKA KANSAS (XI) - Interjecting themselves into the heated debate on Evolution, a new group has suddenly emerged. Billing themselves as advocates for a new theory of the origin of the specious, Unintelligent Design advocates are arguing that, given the utter lack of complexity in the brains of Kansas State School Board Members (and citing the utter lack of intelligence in Ohio School Board Members, who 86'ed Darwin from the curriculum a few years ago in favor of the "Creationism-in-Scientific-Drag" theory of "Intelligent Design"), there cannot be -- given the evidence -- any intelligent designer for such nitwits.
Unintelligent Design -- or UD, as it's referred to by adherents -- is a theory which has been gaining stature lately in satirical circles, and is based entirely on the provable assininity of "Intelligent Design" arguments, which, gaining currency, have swept through the demographic of the feeble-minded, the credulous and the gullible (a demographic most recently identified as the core constituency of Bush/Cheney voters, coincidentally) in recent months like a sharp scythe through winter wheat.
According to UD spokesperson, Thorvald Emmanuelsen, "Given the complete lack of intelligence currently driving the debate, and given the fact that the so-called 'intelligent' population has rolled over and played dead in this debate, and willingly allows dangerous morons to rule them, there can be no doubt that 'intelligence' could not possibly have created the current universe."
Emmanuelsen adds, "Mark Twain said it better when he noted: 'Faith is believing what you know ain't so. It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. Our Bible reveals to us the character of our god with minute and remorseless exactness... It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading by contrast. [The Bible is] a mass of fables and traditions, mere mythology. If there is a God, he is a malign thug.'"
So far, there has been no response from advocates of Intelligent Design, who have barricaded themselves in the restroom of the Denny's down the street from the hearings.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME, or, JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY TODAY
I listen to talk radio. I often hear interesting things, but the main topics are rarely the real news. It's the little sidelights. A few years ago, I learned of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp from a caller on the old Art Bell show, while Art cluelessly made fun of the NAME ("The Bop-Shoo-Bop" commented Art, sniggering and chortling at his own half-measure of wit) all the while pooh-poohing the news.
I got online, tracked it down, and as newsletter editor for the Eugene Astronomical Society (whose latest issue I was finishing) I was able to scoop MOST of the mainstream press by a week! So, I pay attention to the little stuff. It's often the most telling.
There is a new commercial running on the radio. Charles Osgood, whom you might recall took over the "folksy" news beat at CBS when Charles Kuralt ("On The Road") passed away, is shilling popcorn.
Now that might not strike you as odd.
But listen to what he says: "Hello, this is Charles Osgood of the Osgood Report."
The instantaneous reaction is that this is a "news" story.
He tells you how this popcorn has no trans-fatty acids and no omglicatory doublespeak. That this popcorn is filled with fuklajunic pilgomdrowns. And, of course, that the smetzl is conjugated by farquarkian dimbledores.
And reminds you that he's Charles Osgood, and he'll see you on the Osgood Report.
The impression that slips by your half-attentive brain is that you are listening to CBS News. That this is a junk news report (like most of the infotainment that you get anyway, by the by).
But it's not. It's a commercial. Nay: it's more than a commercial. It's the next step in the ultimate whoring of news.
Newsmen don't shill products. That's a fundamental canon of journalism. They don't pretend to be reporting just to sell -- appropriately enough, given the PEOPLE Magazine nature of what passes for news these daze -- popcorn.
Instead of bread and circuses, we have updated the old Roman soporific with microwave popcorn and nothing news. Witness the "runaway bride" story.
The intelligent person would have immediately noted that it is not unusual for one party or another to freak out before a wedding -- especially a big one.
So, the disappearance was not, on the face of it, automatic grounds for national freakout.
But, while the military whitewashed the assassination of the Italian journalist's rescuer (and her wounding by same); and while Condoleeeeeeeza Rice spiked the terrorism report that showed terrorism last year tripled, what was the national media obsessed with?
The Runaway Bride.
Now, when she was found in Albuquerque, New Mexico, embarrassed as hell, and needing to make up an excuse for bolting to Las Vegas (having purchased her bus ticket days before, and pre-arranging her ride, thus disproving the "spontaneous" runaway theory, at least according to one report NOT given much attention by a somnombulent press) she claimed that she'd been kidnapped by a mixed-race couple. A Hispanic man and a white woman in a van.
Again, a somnombulent press didn't bother noticing that if you want to pretend you've been kidnapped or that the car with the kids in it that you murdered was "carjacked" you blame someone black or hispanic or whatever.
Zzzzzzzz, quoth the press.
So, even following a monumental non-story, the ever-compliant, ever-willing to please whores of the mainstream press couldn't be bothered to do Journalism 101. Me love you long time, quoth CNN. Me love you long time, quoth Fox. Me love you long time quoth MSNBC (the cheapest whore on the quay), CBS, NBC, ABC and the rest.
But the non-story that they non-reported was too juicy to let go of. The filibuster, the war in Iraq, the failure of the War on Terror, the latest bogus fear-mongering from Alberto Gonzales (who gets a pass in the press for the same reasons that a gullible press was willing to believe that the Runaway Bride WAS kidnapped -- go figure that one), the latest actual news is shoved into the "not interesting" file so that the mainstream press corps can slather and drool over a frankly offensive, half-baked five minutes of amateurish standup comedy before an uncritical, drunken and unprofessional national press corps by the First Lady. Appropriate to these First-Ladies-Of-The-Night.
(Trust me: I covered the professional standup comedy scene in LA and I know the difference between a rank amateur and a pro: Laura Bush couldn't have handled two minutes at the Comedy Store's Monday Night Open Mike, where I've performed -- a story for another day).
The latest of which, Charles Osgood, is at least openly accepting money for his services in servicing his client, popcorn.
It is, perhaps, appropriate that this year's Pulitzer for investigative reporting did not go to a mainstream paper, nor did it go to a story exposing Iraq prison abuses, the malfeasance of a Pentagon that's "lost" at least $8 billion (nearly as much as we spend on things like schools and aid to the poor); not for a stolen election, nor for widespreac cronyism, the shameless war and "Homeland Security" profiteering, the budgetary misfeasance compounded by the outrageous deficits, the accounting tricks and dodges, the corporate scandals or the rest.
No: the Pulitzer for investigative "journalism" went to a peeping-tom report on the sex life of a former public official in Oregon 30 years ago.
So Osgood isn't unusual, whoring for popcorn. He's just more honest than most.
When a whore says she loves you, that you've got the biggest one she's ever seen, that you're a great lover, you ought to know how much salt to take it with. In fact, you can just about bet that there's no way in hell that she's telling you the truth: it goes with the territory.
Unable to let go of the non-story of the bride, the story has hung on for days now, as they speculate on how we can best exact revenge from the woman who dared to become phony news on all the copycat talking heads' programming. Should she be prosecuted federally or locally? Should a civil suit be filed? A criminal suit? What? Inquiring minds already have moved on to the infinitely more profound complexities of the Michael Jackson trial. Will McCauley Culkin testify? Is that a new Versace jacket Michael's wearing?
Meantime, Charles Osgood sells popcorn pretending to be a newsman.
Now, when the press tells you that they're telling you the "news," you know what creedence to give the "burning stories of the day."
And at least you'll be scarfing down gobs of healthy popcorn as they do.
Monday, May 02, 2005
You might recall Galen the Mississippian (see April 29), who managed to quasi-plagiarize an entire column of mindless vitriol from a cribbed Drudge Report, attacking a person he's never heard of (Randi Rhodes) on a radio network he's never heard, NOR will he listen to (Air America). Among his "gems" of folksy wisdom were these:
Liberals are champions of free speech? Now THAT'S funny.A courtesy copy of my Walpurgisnacht section entitled "The New Brownshirts" drew a response from Galen the Mississippian in record time.
I wish I could report on what he wrote, but, frankly, I never read it. I did, however, send him the following response:
Sir:Hoist by his own petard: let the punishment fit the crime, I say.
Still, I am reminded -- after listening to evil 'reporter' Drudge endlessly rationalize last night that Rush Limbaugh is being "persecuted" by "liberal prosecutors" because of his "addiction to pain killers" -- that once before in our nation's history, Southern moralists managed to glibly and all-too-easily rationalize monstrous positions and even obtain the universal blessings of their clergy and the "Good Book" for their evil ways.
Didn't you ever wonder how there manages to be a "Southern Baptist" church and an "American Baptist" church? They split along Civil War lines, and have never reunified. The American Baptists, reading the same Bible, concluded that slavery was morally wrong. The Southern Baptists became the glib apologists for slavery and its rationalization "states' rights."
Still, an addiction to synthetic heroin and sending your maid with $10,000 to buy a shoebox of the stuff from a dealer in a Denny's parking lot is not -- and will never be under the current "morality" of the Galens and the Drudges -- remotely legal, nor is the concept of fair discourse and/or truth an intimate of either Matt (the) Drudge or Galen the Mississippian.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
SIGN NUMBER 687 THAT THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKEThart williams
Working on a long one, campers.
But something I heard today just begs for comment. (When I stop laughing, that is.)
OK. All better now.
CNN Radio announced that large May Day demonstrations and protests had been held in Germany and Russia.
No word, however, on what was being demonstrated or protested. (Good to know that those people in the streets were being heard.)
That's kind of like starting a sentence without ever getting to the
When it comes to sheer drooling imbecility, no one holds a candle to US journalists. Not even the drooling imbeciles of Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid THE SUN (with its topless page 3 girls) who, even though their brows are lower than Brittney Spears' jeans waistband, still screw up and use English properly, as if by inadvertent reflex.
Which just goes to show that they're NOT morons all the time. They merely choose to be in order to guarantee a regular paycheck.
May Day! May Day!
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* O T H E R S T U F Fo There is no other stuff at this time. There might be someday, though. One can always hope.