Archive for February 21st, 2005

Comic of the Day

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raal8

created by Ted Rall

Ritter Predicts June Attack

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An email report we received from a gold investor’s list claims ex-weapons
inspector Scott Ritter gave a speech Friday in Olympia, Washington, in
which he stated George Bush has seen and signed off on plans to attack
Iran’s
nuclear
facilities in June.  Judge
for yourselves
.

Insult Upon Injury

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Yesterday, accompanied by Dr. P.J. Sinestro, a chiropractor with obscure
mob connections buried deeply in his past, the Dowbrigade took in a Boston University Men’s Varsity
Basketball joust with local rival Northeastern. College sports is one
of the last remaining bastions of pure competition for competition’s
sake on the American sporting scene, and is often overlooked in a 4-sport
Pro town like Boston (6 if you count Soccer and Lacrosse).

It was also our first chance to get a look at BU’s new state-of-the-art
venue, the Agganis Arena. We had seen it once on television, and it looked
small for a major college arena, but in person it was quite impressive,
Jumbotron, ribbon video panels around the balcony, tricked-out lights
and sound. Upcoming events include Widespread Panic, Wrestlemania and
Stars on Ice.

Anyway, as we settled into our courtside seats, we were reminded – again
– that Norma Yvonne is right when she chides that we should make an appointment
to get our hearing checked.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," came the very young and enthusiastic voice of
the booming public address system, "Please stand for the National Anthem."

We stood, slowly, still sore from three sets of tennis, but what we
heard next over the PA shocked us.

"Move your ass!"

"Did you just hear what I heard?" we shouted, astonished, to a puzzled
Dr. Sinestro. "How dare he tell us to move our ass?!" We figured some
overly enthusiastic undergrad, overwhelmed by the magnificence of the
facility, had momentarily lost his head.

"What are you talking about?" The Doctor couldn’t decide if he should
worry about our hearing or our sanity. "He just said REMOVE YOUR HATS!"

We stand corrected.  Northeastern won the game 63-48.

The Doctor Has Left the House

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Long
before the current obsession with "Citizen Journalism" one man stood
tall and rejected
the ludicrous and self-serving myth of "journalistic objectivity". His
name was Hunter Thompson and he called his approach to writing about
the world "Gonzo Journalism."

Yesterday Thompson, one of the Dowbrigade’s literary and lifestyle heroes,
put a gun to his head and ended a stream of ingenious insight and invective
that, for us at least, transformed the landscape of what was possible
and permissible in reporting and commentary.

We first got hold of Thompson’s watershed work "Fear and Loathing in
Las Vegas" shortly after it was published in 1971.  We were
a freshman at college and an aspiring journalist, having worked for a
year between high school and college at the Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle, at that time the flagship of the Gannett newspaper
chain.

Thompson’s prose and attitude simply blew us away. It crystallized for
us a series of sneaking suspicions that had been growing since we started
hanging with news makers and reporters, rather than just consuming the
news as presented by Walter Cronkite and the New York Times.

Reporters are people, too. Objectivity is an illusion, and impossible
ideal. Bias is everpresent. It is impossible to remove the observer from
the observed,
because the
observation changes both.

This revelation of experiential relativity resonated with theories we
were absorbing from all of our other classes; physics, psychology and
cultural anthropology. If both the observer and the observed phenomena
are changed by the act of observation, then pretending to be objective
and unbiased, presenting "just the facts," is both dishonest and misleading.

Thompson blew these myths out of the water by leaping, kicking and
thrashing, into whatever media stream or current of culture he was covering.  Abandoning
all pretense of objectivity, he was overwhelmingly, enthusiastically,
visciously.part of the story.  He let it all hang out, and exposed
himself mercilessly to the slings and arrows of conventional society,
the mainstream media and law enforcement worldwide.  Somehow he
survived.  His admirers became legion.

From this unmitigated chaos he extracted an essence of America so pure,
so soulfully true, that even his harshest critics (President Nixon once
said Thompson represented"that dark, venal, and incurably violent
side of the American character" to which Thompson replied "It
is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent
side of the American character … At the stroke of midnight in Washington,
a drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and head of a giant
hyena crawls out of its bedroom in the South Wing of the White House
and leaps 50 feet down to the lawn.")
were forced to acknowledge the power and validity of his voice.

No one will ever recapture the singular savage sound of Hunter Thompson
in full roar and blinding brilliance.  His prose could cut the clouds
and cobwebs away from startling secrets hidden in plain sight. He served
as a model and an inspiration to a generation of inquiring minds who
refused to accept the world as served up by Walter Kronkite nightly on the network news,  We
anxiously await his first inimitable take on the afterlife.

Hunter S. Thompson, the counterculture writer credited with creating
a new form of journalism in books like "Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas," was found dead Sunday from an apparent self-inflicted
gunshot wound in his Aspen- area home, authorities said.

from the San Francisco Chronicle