Are pop culture stories fading from the Journalism scene?
In the annals of Los Angeles Political History there is a
half century old story about a fiery challenger who, in the best David vs.
Goliath tradition, issued bold and provocative challenges to a powerful
incumbent to hold a debate. The
conventional wisdom at the time held that the fellow in office had nothing to
gain by sharing the spotlight with an unknown underdog. Finally the exasperated hopeful bought some
local TV time and debated an empty chair.
This bit of extreme stunt campaigning helped deliver a stunning upset
victory for the outsider.
Since Clint Eastwood, who was born in San Francisco in 1930, started a Hollywood acting career that was underway in the late Fifties, it could well be that he was trying to imitate that obscure, but successful, bit of political strategy when he spoke at the Republican National Convention last week.
The media storm caused by Eastwood's speech may have been
partisan payback for the "meltdown" allegations that were hurled at Howard Dean
when he let out an enthusiastic yell at a primary election victory rally.
The fact that the critics of the Clint Eastwood's empty chair shtick were supposed to be journalist and not partisan political hacks made the omission of a mention of the Los Angeles precedence, and its relevancy to last week's event and the subsequent analysis, seem shoddy and inadequate. Some of the Eastwood speech did seem to be a bit rambling and disjointed and thus provide a basis for the comparisons to Grandpa Simpson but the L. A. connection with the chair was just too obscure to be appreciated by folks who were not well versed in L. A. political history. Repeated efforts to find out what L. A. personality successfully used the debate with a chair ploy were unsuccessful.
The first time this columnist encountered the phrase "a
senior moment" was in a movie line delivered by Clint Eastwood.
As this year's Presidential election draws closer the atmosphere in journalism is becoming very partisan and that makes the World's Laziest Journalist reluctant to attempt to deliver snide remarks about either or both candidates.
A columnist who works with limited access to the Internets
has to rely on instinct and personal preferences to select the material to be
included. It could be that while
pounding out the keystrokes for a column that mentions an obscure bit of political
history in Los Angeles,
people have been inundated with similar mentions of it among the vast variety
of commentary available to them. Or not.
If the World's Laziest Journalist stumbles across a mention somewhere (Muy Interesante magazine perhaps?) of the photos being made by South American artist Cecilia Paredes and they, in turn, remind us of some trompe l'oeil work featured in Popular Photography magazine a few decades back; would it be worth the effort to do all the work necessary to get permission to reprint some of her work plus examples of the images from American media past? Isn't it easier to let interested readers do their own Google Image search? (Google Image hint: Cecilia Paredes Photography)
Form follows function and to produce a variety of items
quickly, a columnist has to use the "put it on a bumper sticker" attitude to
get the column posted and get the collection of material for the next one
If the readers of this column have had numerous encounters with the news stories about the "Euthanasia Coaster," which is supposed to be a design for an extreme roller coaster ride that will kill the riders, and it is mentioned here; it is up to them to say "Can't this columnist find something new?" or, if this is their first encounter with that news item, they can choose to do a Google Image search and "be the first on their block" to make a reference to it on their Facebook page.
One wag suggested that the Euthanasia Coaster could be a
conservative scheme to give folks a cheap solution to use when the Republicans
start using death panels to cut medical costs.
If Bishop Romney announced that his plan to solve the recession problem was to wave a magic wand, saying "Poof! Be gone" to unemployment, would that generate any skepticism among journalists with a national audience?
Since it should be obvious to this columnist that he will
never deliver a column that is a tie breaker for a Presidential race that is
continually reported to be a virtual photo finish race, we will settle for
doing the work necessary for amusing a small online audience.
What if doing the necessary fact checking also provides a chance to cross an item off the columnist's bucket list? It could be that writing columns is the excuse for the worker going out, taking pictures, seeing interesting things, having fun and that writing about the process and posting the results online is just a bonus for readers who want to enjoy the process vicariously. We like to think that Hunter S. Thompson would approve.