June 26, 2015

Zen and the Art of Microaggressions

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:35 pm




crop of close up red tag

[Trigger Warning: The following column may contain words, phrases, and/or topics that readers may find unsettling and upsetting. If not; then the columnist isn’t doing his job correctly and must apologize.]

If the latest example of Berkeley Liberal thinking, which is called “micro aggression” is retroactively applied to Lenny Bruce’s most famous quotes, he wouldn’t be considered just a criminal but he would be regarded as an equal of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial defendants. When the President of the United States recently used the n-bomb, he did not issue a trigger warning and consequently the Republicans became incensed. Their righteous indignation over the use of that word came perilously close to apoplexy.

It seems as if some political commentators do not want a lively discussion about various contentious topics but would rather have a verbal equivalent of the de facto Christmas truce that occurred at Christmas in 1914. Is neutralizing debate a liberal or conservative tactic? Is it an example of microaggression to even ask that question? If so who would approve such behavior other than Lenny Bruce and others from the Golden Age of Sick humor?

If Lenny Bruce were still alive today could he get away with asking this question: “Are the members of the United State Supreme Court acting like drama queens with their coy moves to postpone the announcement of their decisions for the most contentious cases from this year?”

If the conservatively owned mainstream media is satisfied with the Justices shenanigans, who outside the Berkeley city limits will object?

The mainstream media was spared the trouble of taking an in-depth look at the Berkeley Balcony tragedy that occurred early on June 16 because on June 17 a mass shooting occurred and the new media immediately switch the country’s focus of attention to the mass murder story.

The gun manufacturing industry was spared another round of the gun control debate when the news commentators immediately directed the nation’s attention to the Confederate flag issue. The power of political activism was underlined by the fact that several national merchandise chains quickly announced they were suspending the sale of Confederate flags.

Meanwhile, in Berkeley, while the elite of the journalism industry were in town to cover the aftermath of the balcony tragedy, a report by the Berkeley Police Review Commission was released. It immediately was criticized by local citizens for not accurately describing the police conduct on the evening of December 6, 2014 which had sparked the investigation.

It was asserted by some zealous observers to be a “cover-up” or what the kids would call “a white wash job.” Is that a subtle way of saying that only honkies try to lie their way out of a nasty predicament?

KCBS news radio reported on Tuesday of this week that in the aftermath of the six student deaths in the balcony tragedy, no police investigation regarding possible criminal conduct was being conducted. The lawyers and the inevitable lawsuits would be the method for providing justice for the deaths.

On Thursday, the Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley, announced that her office would be conducting a criminal investigation, which might produce manslaughter indictments.

Meanwhile, teachers were realizing that they had to provide students with “Trigger warnings,” if their lectures contained any words, phrases, or topic which might cause emotional distress to the students in the audience.

If these criteria for conduct by teachers were retroactively applied to some of the “teach-ins” spawned by the Vietnam War, wouldn’t many of the teachers have lost their jobs?

The item at the center of the microagressions storm was a Washington Post article written by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. It should be available via a quick Google News search.

The mainstream media seems to prefer focusing on soap opera news that prominently features sexual hanky-panky.   The saga of the prison employee whose sex life caused extensive speculation on the cable news networks was getting more media attention in the USA than was any detailed analysis of the events in the Middle East. It even spilled over onto the network morning show interview of her husband. By Wednesday of this week Getty & Armstrong were asserting that the prison guard had been unfaithful to her husband with a number in triple digits needed for accuracy.

The fans of the Oakland Warriors had to wait forty years for their team to win the championship. The team owners can’t wait for a chance to get a better deal from a different city to move and thereby increase the value of their team.

The new Bay Bridge seems to be a textbook example of the old political wisdom: Build in haste, repent at leisure.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has predicted that the Justices would rule that it was unconstitutional and realize that our batting average number will be seriously affected by the inaccurate prediction.

This weekend the response of the paid commentators who work for mass media owned by wealthy conservative moguls should provide a very high level of entertainment because they might provide opinions that should require a strong trigger warning.

Will the media issue calls for patriots to calmly accept the ruling or will they try to stir up rancor and discontent? The weekend TV shows called “gab fests” may be highly charged and contentious and should be very entertaining this weekend.

Note: Next week’s column will be posted on Thursday due to the long holiday weekend.

In his autobiography, “How to talk dirty and influence people,” Lenny Bruce provided (on page 21) the essence of the cable news addict’s philosophy: “I loved this because I wasn’t as afraid of being killed in battle as I was of being bored.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did you ever have to make up your mind?,” Waylon Jennings theme from the Dukes of Hazzard,” and AC/DC’s “Jailbreak.” We have to go do a Google map search to find out where Thunder Road is. Have a “good ole boy never meanin’ no harm” type week.


June 7, 2013

Wiretapping becomes patriotic!

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:22 pm

Kalgoorlie’s War Memorial

Obama’s efforts to wean the Democratic Party onto Bush Administration policies, which gave members of the Democratic rank and file fits of apoplexy during the Bush reign, seemed completed this week as Democrats and Republicans in both the Congress and the Senate shrugged off reports of government access to citizens’ phone records with an extremely blaze attitude.  Paranoia is patriotic and privacy is passé.

Could any of the politicians, who are überenthusiastic about the prospect of fighting terrorism by inspecting phone records, be vulnerable to manipulation (i.e. blackmail)?  Wouldn’t veteran married politicians, who had (hypothetically) placed multiple phone calls to single young attractive people at odd and non-business hours, be able to act (a key word) enthusiastic about such snooping?

The transition from a Bush Administration promoting invasions, drones, wiretaps, torture, and Guantanamo to a Democratic Administration that continues those policies as if they were venerable American traditions came to completion this week and thereby eliminated any tarnishing on the concept of a Bush Dynasty as an American version of the British Royal family and thus eliminated the largest negative factor from the prospect of JEB Bush’s participation in the 2016 Presidential Primary contest.

For the lefties who find that idea repugnant there were other topic during the first week of June for them to use to vent their outrage, such as the prospect of learning a new list of names involved in the baseball steroid scandal and a new installment of soap opera journalism as a beloved celebrity tries to lick throat cancer.

The Getty and Armstrong radio program, earlier this week, intrigued their listeners with the possibility that California voters had been victimized by a fraud that would result in a need for taxpayers to subsidize the costs of a bullet train.  We jumped online and learned that a court case, which is underway in Sacramento to consider the future of the costly venture, is a complex and confusing topic and any attempts to simplify the Gordian Knot of issues involved would only produce a tsunami of WFC (Who ******* Cares?) reactions in the Facebook mentality atmosphere of the current American Pop Culture scene.

Anyone who wants a tsunami of Facebook “likes” would be better off collecting celebrity gossip items, rather than trying to becoming the pundit other pundits read first.

Back in the Sixties, a series of photos graphically showed a distinctive style of cobwebs produced by spiders who had ingested LSD.  Earlier in the history of the Internets, the topic of kittens who had been taught to paint caused a stir.  Would it behoove the “like” level of the World’s Laziest Journalists’ efforts to go viral with punditry on Facebook if we subsidized the costs of investigating the artistic efforts of feline Rembrandts who had been dosed with LSD?

Marc Eliot in his book “Steve McQueen,” on page 68, describes a tense confrontation between Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra on the set of the film “Never So Few.”  Finally Sinatra laughed.  They became friends for life.

Once upon a time, the judge in Malibu (according to a reliable source) was outraged when her housemaid was bitten by the neighbor’s dog.  The judge, who was a woman, was determined to “read the riot act” to the owner of the offending canine.  On the day following the scheduled confrontation her staff breathlessly awaited the judge’s report.  She told them:  “Mel Gibson has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen!”

Speaking of blue eyes, why doesn’t someone rebroadcast the TV special that was used to welcome Elvis back to America after serving his hitch in the Army in Germany?

Our efforts to e-duplicate (metaphorically speaking) Genghis Kahn’s slog to go visit the Pope in the Vatican via going viral on Facebook produced the fact that recently Australia’s Tourist Bureau brought several lucky individuals to their happiest country in the world (according to a recent Wall Street Journal story [who owns that newspaper?]) to become gainfully employed doing their dream job.  (Like Kerouac in “The Dharma Bums”?)  That, in turn, made us wonder why the Fox Media Empire doesn’t provide Good Morning Australia (GMA) to various cable companies in the USA.

If after a hectic morning Americans could tune in to an early morning TV show that exemplified the old folks adage “the world’s can’t end today because it’s already tomorrow in Sydney,” wouldn’t that in itself be therapeutic and inspiring?  The chance to deliver to Americans some feature stories would help boost tourism wouldn’t it?  If Sydney has a statue of Ivan, Queen Victoria’s dog, what would be the American equivalent of such a canine tribute?

“MarijuanAmerica:  One man’s quest to understand America’s dysfunctional love affair with weed,” written by Alfred Ryan Nerz (Abrams Image New York © 2013) caught our attention in the Berkeley Public Library’s main branch’s new books section and since we are a pushover for a new variation on the drive around America subgenre of literature and since columns that address the topic of the devil weed always get extra readers, we checked it out and will read it for a review in a future column.

Speaking of driving all around the USA, we wonder why some of the cynical, ever vigilant political pundits on TV haven’t questioned the curious fact that a lame duck President is doing an extensive amount of traveling to attending partisan fund raising events.  Should we start wearing our Wendell Willkie era “No Third Term” button again

In an era of austerity budget cuts some cities in the San Francisco Bay Area were uncomfortable with the concept of paying local police for providing extra security for a lame duck President raising funds for candidates spouting the liberal philosophy.

That brings us to FDR’s 1940 campaign promise that America’s kids wouldn’t be used as cannon fodder in a war on foreign soil. At the same time, Australians were a bit perturbed that many of their young men had been sent to participate in the slaughter of millions of young citizens of the British Empire in a war that was waged thousands of miles away from their homeland.  The Australian Prime Minister during WWII, John Curtin, told Winston Churchill that the Aussies in the military would only be used to defend their own country.  The American President seemed more concern with the potential loss of Australian land to an invading Japanese military than the British Prime Minister was.  The Brits were concerned about protecting access to oil in Saudi Arabia (sound familiar?).

Prime Minister Curtin, who isn’t mention in many history books about WWII, kept his commitment to his citizens and the Aussies were not sent to the European Theater of Operations as they had been after an Austrian nobleman had been “offed” by a (tah dah!) deranged lone gunman operating in Serajhivo.  When they promised to “never forget” the sacrifice made by those who died at Gallipoli, they kept their promise.

[Note from the photo editor:  Many Americans who are baffled by the word “Gallipoli” would be astounded to learn (by Watching Good Morning Australia?) that Kalgoorlie’s War Memorial is prominently displayed near the train station where most of the city’s tourists arrive.]

Would Australians be traumatized by the thought of sending troops to participate in the Syrian Civil War if they knew it is (relatively speaking) close to Gallipoli?

Isn’t it an odd coincidence to note that media moguls in the USA seem as reluctant to permitting foreign media into the lucrative market in America as were the staff of the German OKW during WWII?

Feeding Good Morning Australia to America’s cable TV audience might “poison the well” as far as pure ideology is concerned and therefore be as unappealing as the possibility of including Triple J radio, Sky Rock, and (if it still exists) Radio Caroline to the folks who get an app that lets them listen to thousands of American radio channels.  (Cue the image of the hall of mirrors sequence in “Lady from Shanghai”?)

The purity of America’s political philosophy must be insured and thus restricting access to foreign political punditry is as essential now as it was back in the day when news was controlled by Goebbels, eh?  Berkeley CA once elected a member of the Socialist Party as mayor and so American’s must be ever vigilant to stand guard against the possibility that their kids’ minds can be corrupted again by claptrap ideology from foreigners, eh?

The French teach their kids “One for all and all for one” (Just like in the book ?)  Do you want your kids thinking like the members of a famous Oakland motorcycle gang?  This is America and our motto (which should be on the money) is:  “Every man for himself, boys!”

W.E.B. du Bois said:  “Freedom always entails danger.”

Now the disk jockey will play AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” the Bee Gees’ “Nights on Broadway,” and Olivia Newton John’s “Have you never been mellow?”  We have to go investigate the disappearance of pay phones.  Have a “clean phone records” type week.

Powered by WordPress