I am a bit Iran-ed out so I thought I would change up my game and drop a few lines about a potpourri of local Los Angeles stories. If you don’t live in So Cal, feel free to tune out.
*** Tony Rap Says No
Our recently re-elected Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today he was NOT going to run for Governor next year. Glad he took the gratuitous advice I offered him a few months back in an L.A. Times opinion piece. Now that the decision is in, I suppose I am free to reveal that the day the piece was published, Hizzoner gave me a personal phone call to chuckle over what I wrote and claimed not to be pissed. He sounded genuinely conflicted, barely let me get a word in edgewise and all on his own argued with himself back and forth whether he should run and then clicked off. Recent polling and a new hubub about his personal life would have pretty much made it a suicide mission in any case (as Steve Lopez also wrote immediately after today’s announcement was made). I’m pleased Antonio is sticking with the city for the next four years (even if he has no other choice). I hope he can help make some sort of lemonade out of such a sour past couple of years.
*** Weak Weekly
After some repeated razzing from this here blog of mine, after a full three years of sustained crisis and downward spiral, and AFTER the editor-in-chief of the L.A. Weekly was fired last month, the L.A. Times media critic Jim Rainey finally got around to writing a piece about the place last week. (I think, given the circumstances, my waiting ten days to mention the piece is only fair). All in all, it was a pretty mediocre piece about the overwhelming mediocrity that the Weekly has become. Rainey’s a nice guy and means well, but there isn’t what you call a lot of reporting in his account. His take on the injurious role of News Editor Jill Stewart is right on the money. But, as you can see, the piece lacks all historical context and is very much inside baseball. Unless you’re a former employee (like yours truly) you get no idea at all about how this situation came to pass, what it meant when the New Times chain took over the paper, etc. etc. You’d think that the paper of record in Los Angeles would do, um, a more comprehensive job of documenting the slow, agonizing death of what was the largest and most successful metro weekly in the country. But the Times doesn’t do much that kind of reporting any more. we’ll give Rainey a B minus for his efforts (which is better than the Incomplete he had to date). I’ll let y’all grade his actual work. P.S. Rainey indirectly quotes me in his piece so, obviosuly, he interviewed me for it. No one else he spoke to would go on the record because when they were tossed from the Weekly, they had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements to get their severance. I refused the insult and collected my severance in any case. Anyway, Rainey couldn;t help but mention to me on the phone the business about me having repeatedly chided him over the last year for not writing about the Weekly. “You assume everyone reads your blog,” he told me. “I didn’t really see what you had written about me until someone said something to me a few days ago.” I felt like saying: “Well, I’m not your editor. And, more importantly, I wouldn’t think that the media writer for the L.A. Times would really need any green light from me to write about the collapse of the next biggest paper in his own city. It’s a story he might think up on hios own.” I didn’t say it, though. But I did just write it, not that anybody will read it.
*** KPFK-Pacifica: End Times Radio
Speaking of inside baseball, let’s go right into the dugout. Or in this case, into the locker room toilet. I was driving a different car this week and didn’t have my usual XM Radio so got stuck listening to what is now quaintly called Terrestrial Radio. My smugness quotient was usually breached within 7 minutes of listening to any NPR program (how DO they teach all those folks to talk the same way? I’ve tried to imitate the style but can’t figure out the right doze of Thorezene to make it come out right). So out of pure masochism and boredom I found myself (quite to my own horror) tuning in several times to the ongoing train wreck known as listener-sponsored KPFK Pacifica Radio. Well, without George Bush and Dick Cheney to conspirasize about and with pocket change dried up by the recession, it ain’t easy coming up with effective pitches for the currnt fund drive. Anyway, there’s a supposed new “reform” administration in power at KPFK — replacing the shrill loonie-tunes self-styled revolutionaries that dominated the network for most of the last decade (and still do to a great degree). Problem is, that under the loons, the center of gravity shifted so deep into insanity (constant pitching in favor of 9/11 Truth) that the new, relatively more sane format is only relatively so and, in fact, is still basically insane. The pitch this week has not been about at all about what is should be: it should always be focused on the intrinsic value of a non-commercial station with thank-you gifts as a sweetener). Oh no. Instead it has been an almost unbroken infomercial (complete with personal testomonies) hawking a DVD that is no less than a miracle cure for cancer. No, I’m not making this up. I find this, in fact, more repugnant than the pushing of 9/11 conspiracy theories, by the way. And no accident that the same staffer who was most enthusiastic in past years about proving the GW Bush blew up the Twin Towers is the same staffer now swearing to the audience that, with a modest pledge to the station, acquisition of a DVD and avoidance of most modern medicine and science, cancer can be prevented — or reversed (and Global Warming could be reduced too if such hot air was expunged from the radio dial). This is quite a sad commentarhy on “alternative media” and the general state of the Left. The silence on the decline and irrelevance of this $500 million network by the rest of the left tells us a lot — about the left. Enough, now. Time to go drink my carrot juice and swalloy my silver supplements.
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