January 3, 2014

Lenny Bruce, Alan Ginsberg, and Rush Limbaugh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:32 pm

Jann S. Wenner had a very seductive way of convincing writers to work on his new magazine; he would promise them life in the journalists’ Valhalla by saying:  “You can write about anything you want” and since prospects for liberal punditry at the beginning of a year that will consist mainly of covering the Republican Sitdown Strike in Congress at a time when leftists have been banished from the ranks of talk radio, the only way for management to generate enthusiasm from beleaguered columnists is to duplicate the vague mission statement that lured talent to the headquarters of Rolling Stone Magazine at 625 Third Street in San Francisco almost a half a century ago.

Who wouldn’t want to be assigned to escape Winter in the Northern Hemisphere and go to Canberra to write an article titled “SummerNats is Decadent and Depraved!”?  The defunct Scanlan’s Magazine started a journalistic tradition of writing an installment in the Decadent and Depraved series of sports exposes when they sent a rookie to cover the Kentucky Derby.  That pioneer of Gonzo Journalism is gone, but shouldn’t the tradition be preserved to spark enthusiasm in a new generation?

Since the 2014 SummerNats is being held this weekend in Canberrra, it’s too late to seek an assignment that would subsidize a trip there.  Wouldn’t the 2015 installment of an annual Australian event that uses the unofficial motto of “beer, boobs, and burnouts!,” seem like an excellent choice to qualify for being included in Scanlon’s magazines series of profiles of depraved sporting events?  We should probably send them a query letter rather quickly.  (Note:  we used a file photo from the 2009 SummerNats as the illustration for this column.)

If Dr. Hunter S. Thompson isn’t available to spoof political punditry in 2014 by writing a scathing piece to fill the space under a headline that reads:  “Is the USA ready for a chick President?;” then who in the Gonzo bullpen is a better choice than The World’s Laziest Journalist?  Wouldn’t a quote from Frank Sinatra about “frails” put it over the goal line?

Aren’t the Republican strategists beginning to assemble an arsenal of sexist sentiment in anticipation of the 2016 Presidential Election?

Since articles about the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines must either be an enthusiastic endorsement of that questionable facet of democracy in action or be a nominee for the Conspiracy Theory Bunkum of the year award, it might be an example of discretion to aim, instead, for something more accessible.  Since the schedule has just been posted, it may be time to decide how (not “if”) we will cover Noir City 12, the film festival that starts in San Francisco later this month on January 24.

If Phil Robertson just got forgiveness for his recent controversial rant, could it be that conservatives are slowly building toward a denouement in 2014 that provides a crucial turning point whereby Uncle Rushbo either gets absolution for using the N-word on the air, or destroys his career and becomes a martyr for freedom of speech?  Would the Leftists’ holy trinity of freedom of speech then become Lenny Bruce, Alan Ginsberg, and Rush Limbaugh?

Fox got some publicity by airing the F-bomb word as part of their New Year’s Eve coverage.  Is this going to be the year of the on air F-bombs?

Since progressive radio talk show host Norman Goldman had a scoop about how the series of “fiscal cliff” crises had been broken, we would rather not write a sloppy seconds version of that obscure aspect of American Political History.

We have missed the deadline for applying for press credentials for covering the Oscar Awards Ceremonies which will be held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood in just a few weeks.  Perhaps we can channel the spirit of Gonzo Journalism and talk our way into getting a special deadline dispensation, getting a press pass, and then doing some reports about this year’s mad scramble to give acceptant speeches.   (Garry Cooper gave the shortest acceptance speech.  It consisted of just one word:  “Thanks!”)

Speaking of eloquent sales pitches, perhaps we can convince Jerry Cimino to resurrect the Beatmobile (AKA the Beat Museum on Wheels) and take a contingent of writers on a round trip from the North Beach area of San Francisco to this year’s celebration of Hemingway Days in Key West, Fla.  If we could get a ride on such a hypothetical quest journey, we could do a series of Gonzo reports on our continuing effort to establish Hemingway as the prototype Beatnik.

The assignment desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist World Headquarters will tantalize the staff with the possibility that in 2014 somebody will be assigned to cover the 24 hour sports car race at Le Mans before being given the task of being the results wrangler for the Mid-Term Elections Desk later in the year.

Speaking of Demographics, recently a friend insinuated that crusading liberal journalists are “mouth breathers.”  If he thinks that Leftists are dummies, perhaps we should start doing some fact checking for a column that would provide statistics to back the contention that the average PBS News Hour audience member has a better education than the high school dropouts who are addicted to the quality level available at Fox propaganda?

Have some clever Republicans started using reverse psychology?  Aren’t some staunch Republicans starting to wear some Wendell Wilkie “No Third Term” buttons from the 1940 Presidential Election as a way of introducing a move to grant President Obama an exemption from the two terms limit?  Isn’t that a stealth a way to manipulate disgruntle Democrats into either endorsing a third term for Obama or expressing public disappointment in the lame duck’s track record?  If the Republicans do pass such a change, wouldn’t Barick Obama still be young enough for a third term in 2020 if the incumbent isn’t’ a fellow Democrat.

Berkeley blogger, war correspondent, and grandmother Jane Stillwater, tipped us to the fact that this year’s Boucher Con known as “Murder at the Beach” this year, for the fans of mystery novels will be held in Long Beach California and so we are penciling in coverage of that event which will be held November 11 to 16, this year.

The new film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is a Horatio Alger, rags to riches, saga that will motivate and inspire young Republicans for decades to come, and so we may soon write a full film review as a column.  The Ayn Randian premise of the film is simple:  If a fellow makes millions of dollars, it doesn’t matter who else gets hurt in the process.  The real question is “How many Oscars will it win?”

It brings to mind the old Hollywood wisdom:  “Be careful whom you step while climbing to the top, because you may have to step on them again, on your way back down.”

Speaking of wolfpack capitalism, will 2014 be the year that the Republican majority Congress starts to take measures to solve the looming prospect of a deficit for the Social Security program?

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson described the Myth of Sisyphus aspect of a late start when he wrote:  “The press handler was shocked at the idea that anyone would be stupid enough to apply for press credentials two days before the Derby.”

Now the disk jockey will get us in the SummerNats frame of mind by playing Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What made Milwaukee famous,”  Rusty Warren’s “Bounce your boobies,” and the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coup.”  We have to start checking to see if a certain couch in Marina del Rey is available for crashing during the Oscar weekend festivities.  Have an “I want to thank the members of the Academy . . .” type week and a happy new year.

May 10, 2010

My kids’ mom is SO Berkeley that…we actually survived Mothers Day!

Did you know that there’s a website out now that is completely devoted to jokes about Berkeley moms? Blond jokes and Polish jokes are out now. Berkeley Mom jokes are in. “My mom is so Berkeley that….”

Hey, I’m a Berkeley mom.

So when my daughter Ashley and son Joe asked me what I wanted to do for Mothers Day this year, I got to thinking about Berkeley. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s drive around Berkeley to all the places we used to hang out at when you guys were kids.” Tot lots? Soccer fields? Elementary schools? No way! My kids had different kinds of memories about their pasts.

First we went to the Cafe Mediterraneum up on Telegraph Avenue, where I used to sit and gossip in the 1970s and drink caffe lattes while my kids played under the table. Other kids may have gone to Blue Fairyland for daycare but not mine!

“My mom was so Berkeley that she raised me at the Med.”

Then we drove by People’s Park. “I was there when we first started to plant its gardens back in 1969,” I told the kids. “I was there for the riots and the tear gas. And I got my picture on the front page of the Berkeley Barb during our victory parade.”

That’s just great. “My mom is so Berkeley that she was a cover girl for the Berkeley Barb….”

Then we drove by the University of California. I always measure my life by this benchmark: “Am I having as much fun now as I did while going to Cal back in the 1960s?” And the answer is still always no.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she used to take us to hunger strikes up on Sproul Plaza.” And I still do.

Next we drove down past the old Mandrake’s nightclub, where I first met one of the backup guitarists for a band called Joy of Cooking. Two months later I was pregnant. “That’s not my child and goodbye,” said the lead singer for a band named Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she spends our entire Mothers Day making us listen to stories about when she was a Flower Child.” Damn straight. And before that I was a Beatnik. And don’t you forget it.

Next we drove past the law office where I used to work. “Remember when I used to work for Bob Treuhaft? He was a lawyer for the Free Speech Movement.” And his wife Jessica Mitford had gone to Spain to fight against Franco in the 1930s.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she used to take us to reunions of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.”

Then we drove past the infamous Woolsey Street House, where Alan Ginsburg, Chogyam Trungpa, Timothy Leary and Country Joe McDonald used to hang out in the attic with the crew of the Floating Lotus Magic Opera.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she can remember taking LSD back when it was still legal.”

Then we drove past the now-defunct Mothers Motors, where I first met Ashley’s father. He and I used to go on road trips on his Velocette. And I tried to learn to drive his old Triumph Bonneville.

“My mother is so Berkeley that she gave us motorcycle helmets for our birthdays and I went on my first chopper ride when I was three weeks old.” Not only that but you were conceived after a Grateful Dead concert.

But now all that’s changed. Berkeley is starting to become just another bedroom community. One of my daughters has rebelled and become a Yuppie. And I myself have become just another aging and forgotten recluse who doesn’t even own a cell phone — let alone an iPod.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she’s beginning to talk about being buried in the back yard when she dies….”

Next we drove up toward Tilden Park to Lake Anza, the merry-go-round and the Little Farm. How many times have I dragged the kids up there when times got tough for me, the ultimate Berkeley single mother? I can’t even count them. And we used to go to Edy’s for hot caramel sundaes when things got tough too but Edy’s went out of business. As has Mr. Mopps, Berkeley’s legendary toy store.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she used to read Sartre while we swam in Lake Anza.”

Then there were all those scholarships. I must have applied for a million scholarships so that my kids could go off to camps in the summer. Camp Tuolumne near Yosemite, the YMCA’s Camp Gualala, Cal Camp down near Santa Cruz, the Lawrence Hall of Science. Even the official NASA U.S. Space Camp. Did I leave anything out? Day camps. Overnight camps. Girl Scout camps. Science camps. Martial arts camps. Music camps. My kids went to Cazadero and Ashley learned how to play the saxophone. Joe played electric guitar back then. He still does.

“My mom was so Berkeley that we never even saw her during the whole month of July.” Hey, I believe strongly in the curative powers of fresh air.

And to finish off our fabulous Mothers Day Berkeley tour, we went off to the Albany Twin to see that movie “Babies”. It doesn’t get much more Mothers Day than that. Then we went to the Cafe Tibet for dinner but it was closed so we ended up at an organic Thai food restaurant that served pumpkin curry and brown rice.

“My mom is so Berkeley that we all grew up on Edy’s sundaes and brown rice.”

And I am also still enough of a Berkeley mom to still hope for — no, demand! — world peace. “Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World Peace in one generation!”

Screw all these people who still think that violence and neo-fascism and “war” is the answer. It is definitely not. All we have to do is make a graph that will project into the future all current Pentagon expenditures for weapons and all death by violence in all countries where Washington sends military aid or is currently conducting this or that “military action” — and what we will see is a red line going up and up and up until there is nothing left of the whole human race.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she still thinks that nonviolence is still the only answer.”

I’m also so Berkeley that I can’t stand living without some kind of hope that there will someday exist a better world for my children.Berkeley Mom

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