January 6, 2012

Fear and Loafing on the road to the 2012 Election

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:34 pm

This is not a candidate’s campaign bus!
Riding a few miles in Jack Kerouac’s moccasins?
The 7 cees bus is visiting beatnik territory

Beatniks, Republicans, and Commies may sound like a list of ingredients for a surefire recipe for an Eisenhower era example of political analysis but an evaluation of this week’s news stories, from the 2012 Presidential Election process, at the World’s Laziest Journalist home office produced a similar roster of potential topics for use in the first weekend wrap-up column of the new year.

Glenn Beck has replaced Stephanie Miller on the (formerly?) progressive radio station in the San Francisco Bay area, so when we turned on the radio at the beginning of the week, we decided to sidestep the issue of lodging a complaint about the abrupt change in the station’s tone and just listen and see if the Beckster would give us a gift rapped easy column item.

He casually noted that the Communists were making a concerted effort to enroll (enlist?) recently discharged members of the American military and that sent us scrambling for our copy of “Lenin for Beginners” (Pantheon Books) to see if we could make a viable prediction that the Republicans would be framing the Occupy movement as a new version of the battle of Patriotic Americans to protect young citizens from being seduced by the Communist Party’s tendency to wage class warfare in the clever disguise of worker exploitation by the rich and greedy bastards at the top of society.

Will Beck suggest a Congressional Investigation into this new trend?

The fact that the possibility that the Occupy Movement echoes past labor struggles indicates that the Republicans might be tempted to save some voters the extensive effort necessary to read up on some very complex issues by oversimplifying the debate by resorting to some clever bumper sticker slogans. That strategy has worked very well for them in the past.

Some German guy advised: “All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to.”

That worked well for the Germans, the Russians and the Republicans. The Democrats, however, still think that a scientist can do a better job of explaining the treat of global warming and so they tend to fail in their attempts to draw attention to a long beautifully written article in some academic journal.

If the Republicans, on the other hand, wanted to use the Global Warming issue to win elections they would just quietly state their case by directing the attention of the “limited intelligence” voters to the current spate of news coverage of the barren ski areas that are desperately trying to cope with a lack of snow and skiers.

The so called Liberal media (that is usually owned and operated by a conservative billionaire) may not run too many stories about the desperate ski areas as a sort of “interline courtesy” gesture among the wealthy who are unanimous Global Warming deniers.

The pundits assessment of the results of the Iowa Caucuses made us wonder if the people, who are rumored to be preparing a new roster of actors for a fresh installment of the Three Stooges comedy franchise, could possibly pay for a weekly (or daily?) half hour of cable TV political commentary featuring their new trio of sincere but bumbling fellows.

They would be able to approach the Republican Primary Elections with a credible “we could do that” voice. Perhaps they could inject some sound effects and “nyuck, nyuck” laught track bytes? Can’t you just imagine a Stooge voice saying “Listen, numbskulls . . .” before they play a sound byte of the Newtster denigrating his opponents?

That, in turn, caused us to wonder why a diabolically clever Republican candidate did not hire the writer Tom Wolfe to come along on the campaign bus in Iowa and portray (for example) Mitt Romney as the modern, lovable incarnation of someone channeling the rebellious “man of he people” spirit of Neal Cassidy?

Wouldn’t a modernized road trip through Iowa with a Republican President wannabe be a very slick way to present the older business man as a palatable choice to the young voters who have made Jack Kerouac a member of the Rebel’s Holy Trinity (along with Elvis and James Dean)?

Wolfe could portray the Republican as the embodiment of the spirit of America’s restless young voters of today just as he catapulted a bus full of beatniks to fame back when he wrote about riding along on the bus going from San Francisco to the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

It could be an insider’s look at the boys on the bus on the road convincing Iowa voters that Global Warming was just a frat-boy prank to fool them. Maybe they could call a book about that hypothetical journey “The Eclectic Kool Aid Global Warming Test,” eh?
Thus they would be equating the Democratic Party voters who swallow the scientists’ ghost story of Global Warming as being “cool-aid-drinking-dopes” with bumper stickers asking: “Are you experienced enough to doubt scientists?”?

We were still wondering about the feasibility of such a literary project on Thursday, while on a walkabout in Berkeley CA. Do young folks these days still hold the same philosophy as the wandering beatniks in the past did?

Would kids grok to the idea that if he were still alive today, Jack Kerouac might (hypothetical example alert!) be assigned by “Sixty Minutes” to take a film crew and go on the Road in Mitt Romney’s campaign bus traveling in New Hampshire? Kerouac (or Hunter S. Thompson?) could compare and contrast Romney’s anti-establishment philosophy with his own in the Fifties when he was gathering material for his literary “Fear and Loathing in Bourgeoisie America” project.

Do young folks still go on the road these days like the Beatniks and Republican Presidential Candidates?

Our question was answered when we met the artists from Madison Wisconsin who are traveling around the USA in a bus called 7 cees After finding them parked on a side street in Berkeley CA, they invited the World’s Laziest Journalist aboard the modern phenomenon for an inspection tour. We were glad to see that the Kerouac Quest is still a viable option for young people.

It turned out that while we were doing our fact checking with the 7 cees bus crew (their clearance is 13’3” and they had contended with a 13’6” challenge that very day), some of the Protesters for Occupy Oakland were trying to restate their case inside the Oakland City Hall. Should we have been down in Oakland covering that Occupy Movement update?

The threat of subversive Communist activity in the Fifties was a “game changer” for the Republicans. Perhaps, if the Occupy Movement were portrayed as the new Communist threat, the Republicans can use it to their advantage in the November elections?

One of this week’s online stories that we noted was one that said that on the Martin Luther King Holiday, some people will promote the “Occupy the Dream” concept as a new phase of the Occupy Movement.

Will Glenn Beck be fair and balanced if he covers the “Occupy the Dream” phase of the continuing history of the Occupy Movement or will he be content to ignore that and just see the Occupiers as a chance to challenge and repulse the latest attack by the god-less Commies?

Will the Beckster use obscure and forgotten facets of history (such as the story of Grover Cleveland Redding) to frighten and intimidate the Archie Bunker faction of the Republican voter base?

To see just how Beck will portray that part of this year’s unfolding history, all we will have to do is turn on the radio, tune in to the formerly all progressive station, and drop out of the time consuming task of thinking about how things were better back in the good old beatnik days, and we will have a new constant supply of potential column topics all fresh and ready for analysis.

Then again, maybe for the sake of quality control for future columns, it would be better to break into the piggy bank and do some Making of the President 2012 reports from on the road?

Are the Occupy Protesters using new ways to rephrase old ideas? Noam Chomsky used Rousseau’s words when he said: “It is contrary to the law of nature that ‘a handful of men be glutted with superfluities while the starving multitude lacks necessities.’”

Now the disk jockey will play “Skip a Rope,” the Grateful Dead’s “Please Don’t Murder Me!,” and (we hear that the announcement of a new tour is imminent) The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers.” We have to go check the roster of Republican candidates being listed on the Florida Primary Election ballot. Have a “hella flower power” type week.

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