November 16, 2012

Nude protesters seek coverage

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:35 pm

Demonstrators at San Francisco City Hall

Columnists who imitate Herb Caen’s style of three dot journalism wouldn’t be fazed in the least by one week that produced an opportunity to include the particulars of the Profumo Scandal, a chance to stand in the batter’s box at AT&T Park, a curious fashion note for political protesters, and the possibility of informing readers in the USA that Australia now has a TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party before the New York Times runs that bit of information.

Getting a photo that shows the view down the third base lane from home plate in AT&T Park in San Francisco CA was not what the World’s Laziest Journalist expected to accomplish on Saturday November 9, 2012.  We had learned that the Red Bull Flugtag glider competition was going to be held at McCovey Cove (AKA China Basin) and we thought a photo of a failed attempt to glide away from the launch point would be an eye-catching stock image to have available when it comes time to write about the struggle between the President and the Republican controlled Congress over the “fiscal cliff” showdown.

AT&T Park, which is the home for the Giants baseball team which currently holds the “World Champion” title, is adjacent to where the Flugtag competition was scheduled to be held and the management for the baseball team, in a show of civic pride and hospitality, had agreed to open up the baseball stadium to make a greater number of observation points available to the public.  They also were showing the event on the giant (pun?) screen in the bleacher section beyond center field.

The World’s Laziest Journalist arrived at AT&T Park about 11 a.m. knowing that the event was not scheduled to begin until 1 p.m., so we wandered around taking feature shots.  Since the Park was open free to the public, we went in and immediately noticed that the public was being permitted to stroll out onto the playing field.  We thought that a photo take showing the viewpoint of a batter standing at home plate would be good for use on our photoblog, if nothing else.

We did not know that one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars was on display inside the stadium so when we saw it we took some feature shots of it immediately.  Folks who have attended a baseball game at that venue would know about it, but people living outside the Bay Area, who are not baseball fans, might find it amusing to see one of the cable cars in an incongruous setting.  So we snapped several frames of that visual oddity.

Baseball fans who were informed ahead of time about the opportunity, were taking a large number of snapshots of themselves on the playing field, and in the dugouts.

Images take from far away and which are then tightly cropped have a sever quality challenge that makes the photos take from the media vantage points seem all the better in comparison.  One such image was on the front page of the next day’s San Francisco Chronicle’s, which just happened to be the Sunday edition, which has the largest circulation numbers for each week.

We figured that an attitude of reverse snobbism could be implemented for a column that describes the Flugtag photo expedition and with a bit of chutzpah we could pull it off and let it go at that because we “had other fish to fry.”

If Karl Rove (or whomever) fully intends for the Republican controlled Congress to drive the USA off the fiscal cliff, which would be a better choice:  A Republican in the White House or a Democrat whom many conservatives already despise?  Wouldn’t having a Democrat to blame it on be better than having a Republican in office struggling for reelection in 2016?  Maybe another column questioning the validity of the results obtained from the electronic voting machines would be a good column topic choice.

If a foreign country had hacked into the CIA files and exposed the director’s indiscretions, Americans would be livid but if the FBI causes the ruckus does that make it OK?  Something fishy is going on and American media is directing their audience’s attention to the hanky panky aspect of the story and ignoring the nagging questions about how and why this scandal came to light.  Knowing that “ya gotta go along to get along,” we will also skip over those questions as being inappropriate for use as a column topics.

Were Mandy Rice Davis and Christine Keeler better looking than the women involved in the latest scandal?

Speaking of British scandals, didn’t one of their most famous media moguls use a crack hack team to get dirt on politicians and then use that knowledge to manipulate them?

Could there be a stealth manipulation angle to the Petraeus scandal that the American media is overlooking?

We came across the information that a <a href => TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party</a> is in the formative stages in Australia.  Will they form a welcoming committee to greet the disgruntled American conservatives who threatened to move to Australia if President Obama got reelected?  We sincerely hope the assignment desk at the New York Times reads this column.

The conservative who are griping about being taxed too much can sympathize with some of the protesters seen at San Francisco City Hall at noon on Wednesday of this week.  The folks who want tax breaks so that they can increase the country’s employment level would probably make a reference to Lady Godiva’s famous tax protest and make the assertion that times are so tough now that protesters apparently can’t afford clothes.

The protesters were objecting to a proposed law that would take away their right to walk around nude in the city of San Francisco.  The contingent of journalists on hand to cover that protest outnumbered the protesters.  The amount of exposure in the media that the event got was minimal.

Why would so many journalists turn out to cover the nudist protest and then produce such a limited amount of coverage in the media?

The next day one well known web site which provides aggregate news content used a deceptive headline (“Nude protest turns ugly”) to refer to the Wednesday event to draw readers to a slide show that seemed to use images taken elsewhere earlier in the year.  The Castro Theater isn’t anywhere near the City Hall and we did not see any protesters on bikes, Wednesday.

For those who think this protest exemplifies values that could only originate in San Francisco, we would suggest that they do some fact finding on the clothing optional policy for the metropolitan area of “Ile du Levant.”

One young lady tested the journalists’ power of observation with an ensemble that consisted of: an old leather aviator’s helmet, a pair of shoes, a red neckerchief, dark glasses, a bracelet, two socks that didn’t match, and nothing else.

A duck vehicle transporting tourists around San Francisco passed by the noon event as City Hall and seemed to gain approval of the cause from the passengers.

It was a difficult assignment for the still photographers and video crews because most publishers and managing editors insist that no frontal nudity be shown.  When you have a group of nude people milling about, it takes a concerted effort to get images that don’t violate the media prejudice against any frontal nudity.

Readers of this column who want to fact check the effort by Supervisor Scott Wiener to criminalize nudity should do a Google news search for “San Francisco Wiener measure.”

Could the idea of pictures that many journalists want to take and many in the audience want to see, but which get “killed” by prudish (conservative?) media owners be used as a metaphor for the clever management of news stories and political commentary in American Journalism?

If journalists and citizens think that the rich should pay a fair tax and the good ole boys don’t see it that way, which group will the media owners seek to please?  The politicians might well use tax payers’ money to subsidize a trip to a strip club but the newspaper and TV station owners damn sure are not going to run images with frontal nudity in the media they own.  Perhaps more media hypocrisy will be on display at the next San Francisco City Hall nude protest which is scheduled (weather permitting) for noon on Saturday November 17, 2012.

Poet William Blake wrote:  “The nakedness of woman is the work of God.”

Now the disk jockey will play The Electric Prunes’ “I had too much to dream (last night),” the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints,” and Scot McKensie’s “San Francisco (Be sure to wear a flower in your hair).”  (Yeah all those songs are from 1967 – so is “San Francisco Nights” by Eric Burden and the Animals.  So what?)  We have to go buy a new Mayan calendar because our old one is about to become obsolete.  Have a  “Live for today” type week.

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