Bob Patterson by Bob Patterson
Is Gonzo making a comeback?
Did Karl Rove suggest that to get some dirt out on a potential opponent without giving the impression that they were trying to launch a smear campaign, some top Republicans could supply a "clandestinely recorded" tape to a member of the liberal media and then accuse the Democrats of stealing the material . . . or . . . did the Democrats hire some crafty old burglars (are any of the old JM Wave team still alive?) to come out of retirement and pull off a new version of the Watergate caper? Will a full, complete, and impartial investigation of this "outrage" be any more successful than the attempts to look into the short sales of airline stock before 9-11, the anthrax attacks via the Post Office, or possible vulnerability of the unhackable electronic voting machines? Such a cover story for delivering a tape full of smears, jeers, and leers could not only avert attention from the source of the news story, but would also help divert attention away from the mean spirit of the Republicans. For a big payoff what would prevent the McConnell team from making the recording themselves and engineering a stealth handoff of the item that was sure to stir up news coverage of the potential opponents mental health history?
A columnist with a cynical attitude might just as well do the keystrokes for a totally innocuous effort as try to make sensible points about the contemporary political atmosphere in a country that is mired in a stalemated debate and so we will take the path of least resistance (and effort) this week.
How old is disappointment in America's free press? Upton Sinclair's attack on the newspaper industry, titled "Brass Check," was first printed in 1920. Over the past weekend, the reference library at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory obtained a copy of George Seldes' "Lords of the Press," which was copyrighted in 1938.
A month ago, we had never seen the word "privishing," but since then we obtained a copy of "History as Mystery," by Berkeley based writer Michael Parenti, and "Into the Buzzsaw," edited by Kristina Borjesson, which both explained that the word can be used to refer to a book that is published but then essentially quashed or left to languish unpublicized by book companies that want to extend some "interline courtesy" to some capitalist entities that would prefer folks don't learn what those books have to say.
Did you know that up until Harry Truman ran for re-election the Depression was called "the Republican Depression," but that in 1948, the conservative spin masters decided that the phrase "Great Depression," sounded less partisan?
We had never heard the expression "hobo nickel," until we ran across a young troubadour in a local Laundromat recently who hipped us to the topic of that collectable item. We did a Google image search and were astounded to see what a fascinating item we had missed. The young musician also was carrying an example of moldovite and was showing what makes it collectable. It is a semi-transparent rock.
In the last week we also got a news tip that fans of Jim Lehrer might like to know that he has contributed a blurb to help Roy Zimmerman draw attention to his political humor available on Youtube. (What ever happened to Vaughn Meter?)
Recently we were delighted to stumble upon the book, "Hell above Earth," by Stephen Frater, which tells the story of Herman Goering's nephew, who became a B-17 pilot flying bombing missions over Germany in WWII.
The challenge of including unique bits of political commentary has become much easier than it used to be since America's "Free Press" has become Fox-ified. (See the "The Fox, the Hounds, and the Sacred Cows" chapter starting on page 37 in the book "Into the Buzzsaw.")
For example, has any pundit pointed out the chilling potential for the hypothetical possibility that if North Korea makes an aggressive move against South Korea, a response by the United States might be a strategic time for hackers in China or Iran to cripple the American Military's computer network. If (subjunctive mood) that were to happen, would that, in turn, have a deleterious effect on America's assertion that "all options are on the table" regarding a move to cripple or delay Iran's efforts to build a nuclear device?
Most of the American based commentary we have encountered regarding Kim Jung Un is rather immature name calling and not at all like a calm evaluation of the possible repercussions of a new military adventure in Asia. If Americans can handle very convoluted and intricate speculation about the rules and game strategy used in football, why do networks tend to resort to little or no expert analysis regarding International Politics? Could that be an example of Fox-ified thinking at the headquarters of CBS and/or NBC?
Spending time and money inspecting bookstores to purchase obscure items such as Thomas Byrne and Tom Cassidy's 2009 book titled "The Electric Toilet Virgin Death Lottery . . . and other outrageous Logic problems" may seem a tad foolish to most folks, but to someone who gets to feel like they "belong" when April 18 rolls around and National Columnists' Day is celebrated, it makes sense.
Getting up early and turning on the computer, at 0600, to write about finding Stephen Clarke's book, " A Year in the Merde," can be a bit of an ego-boost for someone who is aware that Hemingway urged wannabes to "write at first light."
Would anyone else except a columnist enjoy learning (on page 161 of the book Time Capsule 1941 [A history of the year condensed from the pages of Time]) that Hitler's Irish born sister-in-law, Bridget Elizabeth Hitler, was, before Pearl Harbor was bombed, working in New York City for British War Relief?
Only a columnist could use the fact that the Rolling Stones are about to start their new tour of "the colonies" in Oakland and that Willie Neslson is going to celebrate his 80th birthday later this month, to urge the two singers (who are both known for a vast array of duet recordings) to join together for a new example of their dueting abilities. What song should they sing? How about Bob Marley's "Legalize it!"? As the Stones tour begins, who wouldn't want to hear Mick help Willie sing "On the Road Again!"? Could those two rascals get away with a bawdy version of the WWII hit "Love them all"? Would this be an appropriate time and place to plug John Costello's book "Love, Sex, and War 1939 -- 1945"?