February 12, 2011

“We’ll always have Paris.”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:24 pm

On Friday, February 11, 2011, the Paramount Theater in Oakland offered a program that looked like a prospect for a very pleasant evening of entertainment that was supposed to be the columnist’s opportunity to “take the day off.” Sitting in a single screen movie theater listening to a musician play the organ before the cartoon and newsreel are scheduled to start the show, was a déjà vu moment. When did movie theaters stop showing cartoons? When was the last newsreel made? The time travel thrill came to an abrupt halt when Ricky Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) made it clear that the Nazis were the bad guys because they would torture prisoners to get information about the good guys in the resistance. We wondered if the young American men who died in the European theater of operations during WWII would appreciate the irony of their own deaths if they could see their country now.

Before leaving for the movie, we had tuned into the Mike Malloy talk show program to hear what was happening to Brad Friedman of the Bradblog website and the vacation week substitute radio host. On Thursday liberal news websites had broke the story about how Friedman was being targeted by the United States Chamber of Commerce for some dirty tricks style attacks on his credibility.

During the day Friday, this columnist had zoomed around on the Internets to gather some material for a column about the phenomenon of the mindset that drives pathological liars to be used in a column that will be posted at a later date.

It seems that seeing Casablanca on the day when systematic attacks on newsmen looked like they were part of a premeditated plan to cripple the effectiveness of citizen journalists would only double down on the irony level contained in the patriotic message of the Academy Award (AKA Oscar™) winning film.

The film contains one of the few exceptions to the Hayes code ever seen on American screens. In the World War II era movie, patriotism trumped the rule that no movie must get away with murder. Whew! That must come as a great comfort to the folks who want to sidestep the treehuggers laments about civilian casualties as collateral damage in camel jockey country. Major Strasser has been killed? “Round up the usual suspects!”

Didn’t the bad guys shown in Casablanca make a point of stifling the publication of dissenting points of view?

Lately, both of the two biggest American political parties seem to be using the Nazi image for a reenactment of the old childhood wrangling titled “Your mother wears combat boots!” Heck, back then, most kids who participated in that Monty Python style debate had never heard the word “lesbian;” let alone understood the full implication of a mother who wore combat boots.

Like Ricky Blaine, this columnist prefers to sit on the sideline and make sarcastic observations rather than participate in political debates.

The Nazis style was: fight against communist. Use succinct short slogans. Tell lies so big that no one will believe the teller has the cajones to tell that big of a whopper. Shut down media that doesn’t use pre-approved propaganda. Rig or cancel fair elections. Make the message so simple to understand that a high school drop out can understand it. The Geneva accords were scraps of paper. It’s OK to use torture to find out what the enemy resistance is doing.

Heck, aren’t the Republicans and Democrats equally guilty of using that modus operandi at this point?

Brad’s website was disabled and unavailable all day Friday. Even if it wasn’t a major equipment failure (just like what happened to the Iran nuclear program hardware?), don’t most Americans say that all is fair in love, war, and politics?

If net neutrality rules are imposed on the Internets (just like the Hays code was forced on the film makes) does that mean that citizen bloggers won’t be free to spend their own money to go see the 24 hour race at Le Mans and write whatever they want? Isn’t the traditional headline for the World’s Laziest Journalist’s annual Columnist Day celebration: “I column as I see ‘em!”? Doesn’t that mean that no matter what, bloggers will always be protected by the First Amendment?

There are two styles of column writing; the Dionysian and the Apollonian. Which one would teabagger trolls say is used by the World’s Laziest Journalist?

The United States Chamber of Commerce might be willing to spend $2 million to stifle Brad because he insists on reporting esoteric stories, such as the one about the absent minded professor on the Supreme Court who misunderstood the complicated implications of putting a checkmark in the wrong place on an innocuous and informal office form, but it seems unlikely anyone would notice if the World’s Laziest Journalist writes a column comparing and contrasting the tourist destination ratings of Paris vs. Casablanca.

It’s just like what Ertha Kitt said about money. To paraphrase her: This columnist has been to Casablanca and Paris. I prefer Paris.

Won’t the Huffington Post always be an available venue for disgruntled liberal writers? Did some blogging curmudgeon make some crazy assertion about “First they came to get the Bradblog . . . .”? Don’t take those conspiracy theory nuts too seriously.

Oscar Wild said: “Good Americans think that when they die; they’ll go to Paris.” Why wait that long?

Now the disk jockey will play (you can see it coming a mile away – just like JEB moving the Bush Dynasty back into the White House in 2012) Dooley Wilson’s “As time goes by,” “The last time I saw Paris,” and “Le vie en Rose.” We have to go see when the Berkeley 7 Flashback series will be showing “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Have an “I was misinformed” type week.

July 24, 2008

The Tattlesnake – Humor You Can Use Edition

Or: Further Examples of Why It’s Hard to Write Satire These Days

“Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this?”
– Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) from the film “Casablanca,” 1942.

Be Careful What You Wish For: Republicans snickered and goaded Obama over not visiting the Middle East; Obama took the bait, called their bluff, and turned the trip into a three-point photo-op score showing him looking presidential with various world leaders and greeting smiling US troops. For a bonus, he even got an endorsement from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his 16-month Iraq troop withdrawal plan, leaving Blinky McCain to impotently twist in the wind. Obama also defined the role of a US commander-in-chief in strong Trumanesque terms – no more of the weak Bush Boy’s lame ‘I’ll leave it to the generals to tell me what my policy is’ nonsense. Meanwhile, back stateside, Ol’ Crazy-Eyes is left with egg dripping off of his face, peevishly grousing about the amount of media coverage Obama is receiving and whining that The New York Times won’t publish his op-ed wherein he waves the bloody flag of victory in Iraq without bothering to define it.

12-Step On You Program: “Wall Street got drunk,” dribbled our Worst President Ever last Friday trying to explain why the country’s headed into its second Great Depression. Gee, how’d that happen, Junior? Was Cheney providing them with firewater while you were on vacation in Crawford, recovering from your ‘hard work’ vacationing in Washington? Remember when this goof was advertised as the first MBA president? Was that ‘MBA’ as in ‘Master of Bumbling Assessments’? Oh, brother.

Hit and Run Off at the Mouth: Creature of the Night Bob Novak emerged from the Soil of his GOP Homeland recently to float the story that McCain was going to name his Veep pick this week in a desperate attempt to counteract the massive media coverage of Barack Obama’s overseas trip. Then the Prince of Darkness flipped later in the week, and claimed he thought the Republicans may have played him and the story wasn’t legitimate after all. “Pretty reprehensible,” is the hilarious way Bob the Impaler described the possible McCain camp attempts to ‘use’ him to garner publicity for their candidate. Imagine that – Rove’s Water Boy on the Plame leak and the shoehorn for scores of other GOP-inspired balderdash entering the media mainstream ‘shocked, shocked’ to discover gambling at Rick’s Café. Roll your eyes and laugh, children.


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