February 7, 2011

What can we do to help?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:22 pm

The world’s laziest journalist approached Super Bowl XLV with great trepidation not just because the Super Bowls haven’t been as good since the days when Broadway Joe pulled a magnificent upset, but also because of a great sense of shame because the American Journalism community, which would flock to cover an earthquake in Indonesia and would send as many reporters to New Orleans as there were soldiers on the Normandy Beaches, doesn’t seem capable of running a blurb about the recent monsoon disaster in Australia.

Suppose the Australians have a Spartan’s pride and need help but can’t bring themselves to ask for a helping hand? Shouldn’t American Journalism be covering the devastation story as well as they are attempting to cover the crisis in Egypt?

The United States should be asking “What can we do to help?” Let’s not wait to be asked. America’s strongest ally shouldn’t have to ask for help. It should be being offered right now.

Australia loved Oprah. Isn’t she retired or retiring? Couldn’t she make an attempt to be the catalyst for an instant benefit concert and thereby show some love in return?

Do you think that if Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and Mel “Mr. Road Warrior” Gibson (Maybe we should put Hugh Jackman’s or Cate Blanchett’s name in here, rather than reference the bad boy out in the ‘bu?) asked some musicians to perform one song, they’d get some positive responses? Isn’t Australia a farm club for Hollywood? (Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know that Crowe was born in kiwi land. His apartment is in the Wilamaloo section of Sydney [rather close to Harry’s on Wheels hot dog stand] and his production company office is [?] in Santa Monica.)

Do you know what the official name of Australia’s Border Patrol is? It’s called The Coast Guard and they use boats not horses and SUV’s. Dude, is there any country in the world with more beaches? If he were alive wouldn’t Patrick Swayze, who played Bodie – the ultimate surfer – in the movie “Point Break,” (Where is Bell’s Beach?) lend his name to an Aussie Aid Benefit Concert?

After British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offended Australians, during WWII, by insisting that they send Australian troops to defend the Suez Canal (the British Navy needed the oil that traveled through that strategic bit of geography), Americans won a considerable amount of gratitude when they won the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway and saved Australia from a planned Japanese Invasion.

The threat was so real that the Australian government officials worked on the details of a potential surrender negotiations. They were ready to sign a peace treaty that would have let the Japanese occupy most of the Northern half of the island continent.

During 1943, the Thomas Y. Crowell Company published a book by Corporal Thomas R. St. George, titled “c/o Postmaster,” which was a humorous look at the story of a Yank who was shipped off to Australia and sat there at a remote post in Australia laughing about the SNAFU. Reading that book after learning the importance of the early battles in the Pacific during WWII, while visiting the War Museum in Canberra, it is obvious that for generals expecting a Japanese Invasion, it was a wise strategic deployment of allies’ troops and not a paperwork blunder. Expectations of an impending Japanese invasion were best kept secret from America’s civilians.

Writers are always striving to convey a sense of place and so perhaps we can inject a few words here that illustrate how Australia today is comparable to the United States in the “Wild West” phase of its history. On a bright December morning, in 2008, after nighttime noise in the hallway of a hostel in Kalgoorlie indicated that an altercation had occurred, two of the fellows, who were good friends, were suspected of being the ones who had the scuffle. They looked “pretty beat-up” but both the Falcon and the Bishop would only respond to inquiries about the noisy encounter by saying: “I don’t know what you are talking about!” What made folks think it was those two good friends who had the fight?

If you go to Google News and scroll down to the links for other news pages, the one for Australia will deliver a much clearer indication of the recent disaster than you can find in/on American news media. Whatsamatta Rupert Murdrock? Is he also using the stoical “I don’t know what you are talking about” Aussie macho pose? Or is he more interested in helping a certain potential Republican Presidential Candidate by keeping America’s attention focused on the Egyptian Crisis rather than Obama’s domestic agenda?

The great Greek humorist Plato once predicted that someday every man would be sitting in his hovel looking at his computer screen thinking that he (OK- or she) was accurately perceiving the world outside the 99th floor of his block. So it is that most Americans spent Sunday, February 06, 2011, worrying about the entertainment value of a Super Bowl without Joe Namath rather than checking up on the news from America’s closest Ally.

Australia has sent troops to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. What the hell does the tribal bickering in two far away countries (one is completely landlocked and the other almost is) have to do with the welfare of the island nation that is famous for koala bears and kangaroos? The reason they are there is because the US said they need them and friends don’t balk when they are asked to help. Shouldn’t that be a “two way street”?

Speaking of conspiracy theories from insane bloggers, this might be a good time to slip in the question: “Where was Felix Rodriguez on the day Australian PM Harold Holt went for his last swim?” (We don’t think that certain files in Langley will ever be released by a Freedom of Information request.)

Here’s another almost incomprehensible full of bits of arcane, obtuse, and esoteric material that baffles teabagging trolls. This columnist is a big fan of the guy who does the Brad Blog and fills in for Mike Malloy on his radio program when he is sick or on vacation, but (there’s always a “but” in these columns, eh?) we would love to see/hear what would happen if one of Malloy’s most popular callers, an Australian called “Blue,” would be ever get the call to come in and substitute for Malloy. It seems to this listener that Blue would provoke Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity and a few regular liberal listeners more than Ann Coulter ever upset the liberals.

When the Internets opened and the pioneer bloggers wanted to “go beyond the black stump,” the most optimistic declared that perhaps the fad would generate some “unique voices.” Others feared it would limp along and eventually devolve into a homecoming/prom king popularity contest that would mirror the ratings races of the major media.

Gentle reader, please, if you agree with this columnist’s suggestion that an effort to send monsoon cleanup money and aid to Australia should be made, please send the link for this page to all your posse and suggest that they do what they can to increase a grass roots effort to hold an Aussie Aid Benefit Concert. They have also had a drought and a previous big fire, so maybe they deserve a good will gesture?

It’s obvious that it would be better to “go along to get along” and echo the daily cause and join the chorus in an internet version of the chase sequence in “Lady from Shanghai” rather than persisting in an attempt to follow Longfellow’s “I shot a column into the ether world . . .” example, but it kindda looks like the Crisis in Egypt is now so last week, why waste the time and energy doing a column that’s “a day late and a dollar short”?

Didn’t the lady who just sold her news aggregator site for $315 million, once say that bloggers don’t need to be paid? Were Murrrow’s boys in the union and getting union scale? Was Ernie Pyle in the guild? Will any bloggers see one penny of the proceeds from that sale? Isn’t the Ayn Rand philosophy of life so profitable? We digress.

The other day while walking among ghosts on Spoul Plaza, this columnist was approached by a young lady who asked: “Do you like vaginas?” It turns out that she was promoting a production of “The Vagina Monologues,” which will be held February 10, 11, and 12 at UC Berkeley. Can you just imagine her doing that in Australia?

In the book mentioned above, Corporal St. George, as he prepared to leave Australia and finally go to a combat zone, described it thus: “I amused myself with some morbid guesses on who, of these men in our truck, would be the first to “go.” Some online searches indicate he lived through the war, married an American nurse he met while stationed in Australia, and became a newspaper man in the Mid-West.

Now the disk jockey will play “Waltzing Matilda,” “A pub with no beer,” and “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap” (did you catch that bit about obscure and esoteric references?). We have to go find a news story about the fires near Perth. Have “Mad Max” type week.

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