During the Great Depression there were so many writers and photographers chronicling the trials and tribulations of the poor and oppressed workers that a book could be written about their vast and varied efforts. "Documentary Expression and Thirties America," by William Stott did, in fact, attempt to provide a definitive guide book for the literary avalanche inspired by the bad times. It seems that the Great Recession has failed to spark the imagination of modern journalists enough to inspire a modern equivalent effort.
Some cynics might say that the conservative capitalists who run the various media involved in communicating information and ideas don't want to bankroll any such work because they believe that if the Great Recession isn't recorded on tape, filmed, and/or written about, maybe the public won't notice that not everybody is singing "Happy Days are Here Again."
There was an anecdote we encountered in the past that described the time a very wealthy woman was told about hunger in America. She responded with the question "Why don't they just ring the bell?" Since she could ring a bell and have the servants bring sustenance at any time of the day or night when hunger pangs annoyed her enjoyment of life, she just couldn't conceive of anyone else not having the same remedy available. Apparently the concept that the servants couldn't do that and the poor couldn't either (not even Jean Valjean? [Wasn't a great and joyous musical written about that thief?]) was just too vexing a task to attempt.
Berkeley spawned the Free Speech Movement in the Sixties and in the late Sixties became a major source of news stories about opposition to the American military aid to
South Vietnam. These days it seems as if Berkeley is fast becoming ground zero for the homeless issue.
The local, regional, and area news media may soon have to send a desperate call to the media in NYC to send backup. (Just as they did in the Sixties.)
A citizen journalist (moi?) may pick up some amusing tidbits of information in the interim but most people understand that a blogger can not be in two places at one time.
The World's Laziest Journalist can not go gallivanting off
to the latest city council meeting, the meetings of the Berkeley Police Review
Commission, various protests, and be sitting in a well lighted room banging out
a report on the laptop at the same time.
A disjointed and convoluted report on the plight of the panhandlers in Berkeley, even from a columnist who attempts to exemplify and perpetuate the three dot journalism style, might, written under similar hectic circumstances, be a bit more fragmented than usual for the regular readers.
We did learn that the traditional "Spare change" challenge in Berkeley has lately been countered by a claim that the citizen has no cash and has only plastic but, in a preemptive strategy move, Ninja Kitty is spearheading an effort to make it possible for the panhandlers to take donations via various major credit cards. How long will it be until some company can claim: "There's an app for that!"?
Our columns have made frequent suggestions that the audience should make an effort to read Albert Camus' "The Rebel." You could read the book or get the general idea by listening to the song "We're not gonna take it any more."
We strongly recommend that assignment editors in NYC make an
effort to obtain and read the aforementioned "Documentary Expression and
Is it a "scoop" if an audacious assignment editor doles out a directive to cover a story that the owners of the competing mainstream media consider too verboten and too anathema to let their wage slaves expend precious time scribbling out "soap opera" news articles? Aren't such attempts to evoke sympathy in the audience called "sob sister" stories?
Doesn't the word scoop apply only to a story that the other guys have missed and not be applicable if they are just ignoring it?
Some new tactics in protesting seem to be developing in Berkeley. When was the last time you saw some news coverage about a quiet, peaceful demonstration at 3 a.m. on a workday? If protesters want news coverage and if nothing else is happening at that hour, will such an unorthodox protest strategy get massive response from the various assignment desks and would that not spawn a reason/inspiration for the innovation to "go viral"?
This just in: An overnight vigil promoting an "inter faith solidarity with the homeless people" was being staged on the night of April 9/10. It drew the attention of a KPIX Channel 5 news crew (just a cameraman) and the effect of the effort was not known as this week's column was in the "on deadline" mode of being prepared for posting. Perhaps it will be summarized in a future installment of our weekly reports.