“Don’t count on me. I’m not a reliable person politically.”
That’s a Bob Dylan quote that I used on my wife the other night when she was after me again to put an Obama sticker on the Vocho.
How do I know it’s a real Bob Dylan quote? Because I got it myself from Dick Flacks when I interviewed him for Real Gauchos.
Summarizing a conversation he had with Dylan during a break at an SDS meeting, Flacks said, “And he said, basically, ‘Don’t count on me. I’m not a reliable person politically.’”
(It still counts as a Bob Dylan quote, though, right?)
Bumper stickers have never been my thing, so my wife says I have to make some other contribution to the cause.
“Could you tell everyone to vote for Obama? That would be doing your part.”
Instead, I took our dog Barry (pictured here in his "Obama Dog" sweater) on a 10-mile run yesterday. He wasn’t barking for Obama the whole way, but he’s named after the president, his collar says “Barack’s Best Friend”, and on Cathedral Oaks on a sunny day that adds up to a lot of people getting the message.
I don’t know if that’s good enough for my wife, but I know this: if Obama doesn’t win, it’s not Barry’s fault. He’s run hundreds of miles for Obama this year, and when he gets home he drinks water out of his blue “I bark for Obama” bowl.
I wonder who Jonah Lehrer will vote for. Now that guy has a good Bob Dylan story. If only I’d thought to have him tell it on the radio.
Everyone with Internet access is badmouthing Jonah Lehrer these days, but I have nothing bad to say about the guy. He gave a lot of good free advice to the UCSB CLAS Writing tutors, including a couple real nuggets.
Several weeks before he melted down into a self-plagiarist, regular plagiarist, and outright fabricator, Jonah Lehrer told that lucky Writing Lab crowd, “I can’t begin to emphasize enough how important it was for me to basically just copy people I admired.”
Well I admire Bob Dylan, and that’s why I don’t do bumper stickers.
Tags: bumper stickers, barry obama, bob dylan, plagiarism, obama dog, bark for obama, Jonah Lehrer
As a half-white, half-brown person, I know an all-white crowd when I see one, and I can tell you that there were at least three brown people in Campbell Hall last night to see Ira Glass.
The show got off to a late start on account of airport fog, and if the intro excuses were a little cheesy, Glass more than made up for it by passing off the lame parts as things he was doing ironically and would only do seriously in Marin County.
When Glass started at NPR as a 19-year-old semiotics major at Brown, public radio had the sound of something that tried to make people feel better about themselves for listening to it. This American Life doesn’t try to make feel better about themselves, but only tries to be fun to listen to.
Glass didn’t discuss the phenomenon whereby today’s NPR listeners feel superior to others because they tune in, especially to This American Life, but he did say that the average time spent listening to the 60-minute program is 48 minutes.
Glass’s parents still don’t think much of his radio career, and only gave up on him becoming a doctor when he reached age 40. The reason? “Jews.”
The crux of the show was the six minutes where Glass detailed the This American Life story formula that would enable audience members to create mesmerizing radio of their own: action, action, action, thought.
“A story is entirely about motion. It’s very animal…As long as there’s forward motion, you can create suspense…Ask people things chronologically…Get them to give you the dialogue...Radio is best when it mimicks normal conversation.”
For this paying customer ($40), the best parts were where Glass didn’t appear to be trying to conjure up production value by touting the iPad app he used (Ableton) or making symphonic gestures, but instead surrendered to the moment and spoke without premeditation.
When he learned that a single whining shriek in the crowd had come from a baby, Glass said, “Why would you bring a baby to a show like this? That’d be like bringing a deaf person. Babies are too stupid to know what’s going on. My dog could get more out this show.”
Tags: ira glass, white people, santa barbara, class segregation, stuff white people like, npr, npr is for white people, UCSB Arts & Lectures
On Argentine Independence Day, 2009, in Santa Barbara, California, the history of the gaucho as UCSB mascot and South American cowboy was published on the cover of The Santa Barbara Independent. The story features photos of Argentine gauchos by Clare Nisbet and will be on newsstands through Wednesday. It's also available online, but this is a Rivas Cultural Services joint best enjoyed in print.
(Photo by Clare Nisbet)
Tags: ucsb, gauchos, argentina, clare nisbet, chulita, matt kettman, alex abatie
"Go ahead, give yourselves a hand!" said moderator Craig Smith, the local blogger famous for chronicling the News-Press meltdown. And with that, the packed house of journalistic heavyweights, concerned citizens and armchair activists, like your Santa Barbara Man About Goleta, indulged in an inspirational and self-congratulatory round of applause, alternately saying to ourselves in our heads, "We want our news!" "We're on the correct part of the spectrum!" or "¡Muerte a los ricos!"
The moderator and five panelists were all nationally renowned in their respective fields. The crowd included nearly everyone who is worthwhile in local journalism, a lot of very clever local luminaries, plenty of us everyday slobs and even a few News-Press goons. And yet solidarity reigned, as all who had gathered enthusiastically agreed that nobody knows what the future of journalism is but that something must be done.
"I write about this stuff all the time, and I don't have a clue," began LA Times man Jim Rainey. What's certain is that the days of department stores dropping 75 grand on a full page of bra ads are over. Those were, however, good times. "Not to mention uplifting!" Craig Smith chimed in, and the crowd went wild.
Susan Paterno was sued by Wendy McCaw for her article on the News-Press situation in American Journalism Review. She won her case and the case even set a legal precedent, but the American Journalism Review is now on the verge of financial ruin after going up against McCaw's billions of dollars and will to destroy. Paterno emphasized that journalism as we knew it is definitively behind us, and that the murky future lies somewhere out there on the Internet.
Explaining the ins and outs of the Internet as a medium for journalism was old-school newsman Jerry Roberts, whose family has also been financially bludgeoned as a result of his being sued by McCaw. Roberts described the virtues of blogging and citizen journalism with the enthusiasm of a beginner. Himself an example of the niche audiences that have proliferated and replaced the mass general interest audiences on which paper news relied, the first thing Roberts reads every morning now is a utilitarian political news site full of annoying ads called Rough & Tumble, whose owner is making money but only by working 12 hours per day on it. "The question is how to marry the public interest or public trust of journalism with the Wild West of the Internet."
With the facts well established, top local journalist Nick Welsh was free to steal the show. "When journalists get together now," Welsh opened, "the first thing they ask each other is, ‘Are you alive?'" He reckoned it will take four or five years before we really know the fate of newspapers. He was quick to admit that newspapers have never been infallible, but maintained that there is no substitute for having a paid news reporter cover strange and twisted events like School Board meetings that normal people rightfully find unbearable: "It doesn't get any more insane than that!" Believe it or not, The Santa Barbara Independent is now the seventh largest weekly newspaper in the country. However, in the early 1980s, the Independent's predecessor the News & Review could barely manage to pay its workers anything other than local business trade coupons. "I was going around with no pay in my pocket," Welsh recalled, "but I was wearing $200 sunglasses!" When Welsh stated simply, "Wendy McCaw and Marianne Partridge: both strong women who are named after birds," the crowd laughed as though this thought had literally never occurred to anyone before.
Dick Flacks (pictured, photo by City2.0 founder Warren Schultheis) came on to rally the crowd with a fist-pumping finale. He reminded everyone that the Independent, the Daily Sound and Noozhawk employ a total of fewer than 10 full-time news reporters, as compared to the 55 people in the News-Press newsroom back when Jerry Roberts still worked there and it was still a legitimate outfit. Something will have to fill this news gap locally, and it's up to local people to determine how to support efforts in this direction. He cited NPR, PBS, Democracy Now!, ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Center for Public Integrity as good examples of quality newsgathering operations that are contrary to the mega newspaper model.
Following the conclusion of the program, and probably either still high on activism or just joking, Flacks called Santa Barbara Man About Goleta, "the best blog in America." He also said that as soon as he heard that I was coming he knew it'd be a full house, whatever that means.
For more coverage of this event, see Matt Kettman's recap on independent.com. Kettman was the crack editor of your barbareño por Goleta's recent gaucho story and is an associate of Rivas Cultural Services. Noozhawk.com also covered the event, and in their lead photograph the Santa Barbara man about Goleta's right arm is clearly visible. This City 2.0-powered summary was written with the express intention of supplementing these articles by highlighting the funny stuff they didn't see fit to print.
Tags: nick welsh, dick flacks, jerry roberts, susan paterno, jim rainey, craig smith, future of journalism, $200 sunglasses, citizen journalism, City2