In November of 1986, when America's evening news featured scenes of gendarmes with submachine guns at the major intersections in Paris was like viewing a scene ripped from the pages of "1984," that had come to life. A series of terrorist incidents had prompted coworkers to suggest that it might be a good idea to cancel the trip. Our reply was: "Yeah, but if I get killed by a terrorist's bomb in Paris that will mean that my demise will be reported on the front page of the New York Times." November in Paris in even numbered years means that the Month of the Photo will be celebrated and since we had waited all our life to check out the moveable feast in action, we scoffed at the idea of canceling the trip. A paucity of tourists meant that the traditional comedy shtick about Parisian waiters being rude to American Tourists had also been put on "Pause."
An American in Paris, in November of 1986 didn't get the royal treatment that American soldiers received in August of 1944, but any Gringo tourist who was there for the 1986 Month of the Photo was accorded semi-hero status. We hope that this year's American tourists who want to make "April in Paris" one of the highlights of their life and not just a song title, won't be intimidated by fear and trepidation.
On Monday, January 14, 2015, there was a report on KCBS news
radio that a controversial ad juxtaposing Hitler and a Muslim had appeared that
day on busses in San Francisco. It was reported that the ads would remain on
display. We went to Fog City
on Tuesday to get a photo of the newsworthy bus ad.
We spent some time trying to find and photograph the elusive ad. We changed plans and headed towards the San Francisco Museum of Cartoon Art. As we walked through the financial district, we noticed flyers, taped to various light poles, that depicted the prophet Muhammad as a cartoon stick figure.
The Museum, we learned, was trying to formulate their response to the attack on cartoonists in Paris.
Wasn't Charles Chaplin known in France as "Charlot"? Didn't he inspire the names for two brands of cigarettes? Tramps and Charlie?
Cliff Robertson won a lead actor Oscar for playing the title role in the 1968 film "Charlie."
A source close to the Conspiracy Theory Manufacturers Association, speaking anonymously, told us that the move to portray the Hebdo Massacre as the French 9-11 as a way to start vaporizing French citizens rights is underway. It is time (as they used to say in the Sixties) to run that theory up the flagpole and see who salutes it.
As with all events these days, some people are suggesting that it was a false flag tactic.
Is it time to print T-shirts depicting Charlie Chaplin, General de Gaul, and Che and have the same dialogue balloon on each one that read: "Je suis Charlie!"?
On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, when the new issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine was in the news, the topic became which media were showing the cover and which were only describing it. We began to think that perhaps we should not post even the image of the right side of the flyer we saw Tuesday in San Francisco.
If Ameican media can print the Pentagon Papers but not the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine, you shouldn't have to wonder if the terrorist attacks are being considered a success and will be continued.
We spend the better part of a day roaming around San Francisco trying to
get a photo to illustrate this week's column and we come up empty-handed. We'll have to settle for an innocuous and non
controversial image that is (hopefully) at least eye-catching. What can a columnist do about a week's search
that delivered a Sisyphus' type final score?
Then we had the brilliant idea that maybe it's time to market an article titled "Being the World's Laziest Journalist is hard work," but then we asked ourselves: "Who'd want such an item?" and immediately we replied: "What about 'the Idler' magazine in Great Britain?"
Surely the Brits would grok to the concept of "editor errant," wouldn't they? We'll have to pitch them on some story/column ideas we think they would dig and see what their reaction is.
Maybe we could become their editor at large in the San Francisco Bay Area and finally realize our goal of sitting around in a posh gin mill and have fawning fans besiege us with potential column items just like our heroes Herb Caen and Walter Winchell used to do?