(Article changed on January 3, 2014 at 12:36)
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.