MEDIA MADNESS by Howard Kurtz: Yet another goddamn book review

No photo description available.This was a pretty interesting book. MEDIA MADNESS: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War on Truth by Howard Kurtz. It focuses on the somewhat dysfunctional relationship between Trump and the media. Though it’s primarily a rumination and critique of the state of modern journalism, of which the author voices some serious concerns.

This book confirms a premise that I’ve mentioned before. In my 50 years of following presidential politics, I’ve never seen anything like the way the media has gone after Trump. Jimmy Carter of all people — he’s no fan of Trump that’s for sure — echoes that premise. “The media have been harder on Trump than any other president.”

The author also echoes another point I’ve made. Not only HASN’T the endless barrage of media criticism hurt Trump — he started out his campaign with about 40% approval rating, and has remained there to this date — it may have even HELPED to solidify Trump’s support with his base. Many of whom, like Trump, view the media as the enemy.

The author writes on the jacket blurb: “According to the media, Donald Trump could NEVER become president. Now many are on a mission to prove he SHOULDN’T be president. The Trump administration and the press are at war — and, as in any war, the first casualty has been truth.”

The author goes on to write: “To a stunning degree, the country’s top news organizations have targeted Trump with an unprecedented barrage of negative stories, with some no longer making much attempt to hide their contempt. Some stories are legitimate, some are not, and others are generated by the presidents own falsehoods and exaggerations. But the mainstream media, subconsciously at first, have lurched into the opposition camp, are appealing to an anti-Trump base of viewers and readers, failing to grasp how deeply they are distrusted by a wide swath of the country.”

“These are not easy words for me to write. I am a lifelong journalist with ink in my veins. But I am increasingly troubled by how my colleagues have decided to abandon any semblance of fairness out of conviction that they must save the country from Trump.”

The book basically covers the first year of the Trump presidency. And it goes back and forth showing Trump’s lies, exaggerations and distortions. And then showing the media’s lies, exaggerations and distortions about Trump. So NOBODY comes off looking particularly good.

Far from being a Trump apologist — the author had previously worked as an anchor at CNN, among other media outlets — the book is only secondarily about Trump. Its primarily a critique of the media. And the author points out over and over that the primary mission of journalists should be to objectivity report on the facts as much as possible. And NOT to proselytize for their particular positions.

And as a person with a deep love and concern for the journalist profession, he frets that the field of journalism may have seriously lost it’s way, and permanently damaged it’s credibility by how they’ve been reporting on Trump.

Nothing like getting the ole’ Flashlight Treatment at 1 in the morning

The party’s over.

I just got rousted by the cops. It’s 1 am and I’m drunk out of mind and drinking in public and suddenly the cops are giving me the flashlight treatment. Shining the light right in my eyes..So I’m not only drunk and bewildered, I’m also blinded by the light.

“Could I see your ID,” asks the cop. A female cop.

“Certainly,” I said. I fumble around in my wallet hoping I can find my ID.

The legendary Officer Sean Arenus suddenly shows up. He’s riding that stand-up electric scooter thing he rides. So I know I gotta play my cards right . Because he’s ever willing to arrest any street people if you give him the slightest reason.

I’m bullshitting with the woman cop. Giving her my best charm act. And hoping I can pull it off. As she runs my name across the wire. If they want they could give me $250 open container ticket. Or if they really want to be pricks they could arrest me and haul me off to the drunk tank. But I’m hoping I’m pulling off my “suave” act.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” says the female officer as she hands me back my ID. I quickly pack up my stuff and walk past the cops carrying my cup of beer and what’s left of my 40 of OE in a black bag and get my ass out of there. “Have a nice evening,” I say to the officers of the law as I make my exit stage left. “You too,” said the female cop.

That’s generally how I try and handle this kind of stuff. Now I’m across the street from the campus finishing my 40 and living happily ever after 
At least for the moment.

I have this recurring dream that I call my Curious George Dream where I keep getting pushed farther and farther from my goal

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I’ve been having the weirdest nightmares lately. This series of anguished and traumatic dreams. Of course it makes me wonder if it’s a symptom of some underlying turmoil in my soul (for lack of a better word).

Last night’s dream started out OK. Hate Man had just self-published his memoir. And the book turned out surprisingly good (Hate Man wasn’t particularly noted for his writing skills). And all of his friends were hanging out celebrating the book release, and we’re all signing his personal copy.

Hate Man is living in this garage, and at one point he’s hanging out in this upstairs vestibule surrounded by his wife and daughter and all the other people in his life that he was close to. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get a classic photo. So I asked everyone to hold that pose while I took a bunch of photos on my cell phone.

But later (this is when everything started going south) I realized the photos hadn’t turned out. So I asked everybody to go back upstairs to the vestibule so I could take more photos. But I start having all sorts of technical problems. And people keep pestering me and harassing me while I’m trying to take the photos. Finally I manage to take a series of photos, and I have them printed out on paper to make sure I got them.

But then I can’t find the prints. They got mixed up with hundreds and hundreds of other pieces of paper from other artistic projects that I’ve done that I’ve been carrying around with me. So now I’m sorting through these endless stacks of papers trying to find them, and everything keeps getting more and more disorganized (This is a recurring theme of my nightmares: I keep trying to accomplish some goal, but the harder I try, the farther I get from the goal).

So I put all the papers in this big cardboard box and carry them to this community swimming pool in the middle of the city where you can get in for free. And I set up in this little cubicle near the pool and start searching through all the papers for the prints. But the papers are starting to get soggy from the water from the pool. So I put them back in this cardboard box and start to leave. But the bottom of the box is soggy and collapses and all of the papers fall on floor (things keep getting messier and messier).

I stuff all the papers into a garbage bag and go to this office space. There are a bunch of long desks — all empty — so I set up all my stuff on a desk and resume my search for the prints. Until this businessman comes in and sets up all his stuff right in the way of my stuff. I have an angry confrontation with him. “There are all these other empty desks!! Why are you crowding me??!”

A friend of mine shows up. I appeal to him for help. Tell him I might crack up at any moment if I can’t find the prints. But instead of helping me and being sympathetic he laughs at me in this smirking way. I lose it and whack him on the side of the head. Now I’m really freaking out. Not just that I might have hurt my friend, but that I might be on the verge of completely snapping, having a nervous breakdown or go berzerk in a violent rage. I apologized profusely to my friend. And he reassures me that I had barely touched him. . . . . . 

I wake up. There’s a dead mouse right by my blankets. Mini Scaredy trots over to me with a big smile on her face like she’s thinking: “DID YOU SEE WHAT I BRUNG YOU!! DID YOU SEE WHAT I BRUNG YOU!!” She’s very proud of herself and her gift. While I appreciate the thought, after the dream I just had I really wasn’t in the mood to be waking up to a dead mouse.

I Dream of Kitties

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I regularly dream about feral cats. I guess it’s not surprising since I sleep in the woods with a bunch of feral cats.

Last night I dreamed I was walking around in this city and Mini Scaredy (one of my feral cats) had followed me. So now I’m trying to figure out how to get her back to her home in the Berkeley hills. A loud city noise startles her and she goes running off down the street and I lose sight of her. So I spend a lot of time searching for her. Finally I find her hanging out in a back alley with a bunch of other feral cats. The cats are all brightly colored in pastel colors and day-glo colors and their faces have otherworldly features. And there’s a lion and tiger among them.

I pick up Mini Scaredy and carry her with me — something I’ve never done before — to keep her from running away.

We reach a bridge in this large bay that we have to cross to get back to the Berkeley hills. I jump down to this dock and Mini Scaredy jumps off of me and disappears. I spend a long time searching for her. Come across another pack of exotic-looking feral cats huddled under a bridge. But Mini Scaredy isn’t among them. I start to despair that Mini Scaredy fell into the water and died. I search and search to no avail.

But then it occurred to me that this was all just a dream and I had nothing to worry about. And then I woke up and Mini Scaredy was lying on my blankets sleeping peacefully.

So that dream had a nice happy ending.

Zipruanna will be going now

Image may contain: 1 personZipruanna was considered a great holy man in India back in the day. An Enlightened Being. A Saint. A Cosmic Master. A Guru. Even though he preached no sermons. Published no books. Espoused no philosophy. And organized no religious sect in his name.

He spent most of his time living in the skuzzy part of town by the city dump. Mostly just hanging out with a pack of wild dogs who he would feed scraps. . . And yet when people came in contact with Zipruanna that would often have spontaneous profound spiritual experiences. Where they would experience the presence of God. Mystical experiences. Glimpses of enlightment. In Hindu lore its called Shakti. And realized beings have the ability to transmit the Shakti experience — the ultimate contact high — to other people.

So Zipruanna was revered by the other people in the town where he lived. Even though he mostly just wore nothing but a loin cloth and hung out at the city dump with his pack of wild dogs.

Near the end of his life Zipruanna knocked on the door of one of his devotees and asked for a little food. The devotee was honored that this great being would grace her humble house. So she fixed him a plate of rice and vegetables. Zipruanna ate a bit of the food. And then asked if he could take a bath. Something he rarely did. Again the devotee was honored by the request.

After bathing Zipruanna said to her: “Zipruanna will be going now. You can cry if you want.” And Zipruanna closed his eyes and died.

The end.

So you’re interested in a career as a freelance artist and writer. . .

I’ve never been into sex toys. I never felt I needed artificial devices or paraphernalia to enhance my dysfunctional sex life.

But this photo reminded me of an odd memory from my sordid past. When I was just starting out my art career (so-called) back in 1978 the only publication that would hire me and publish me was this sleazy porn tabloid from Los Angeles. IMPULSE was the name of the paper. And it was in all the newspaper racks in the Bay Area. Which is how I heard of them.

Anyways IMPULSE paid me 50 bucks a month to do a comic strip and write a column. But then one month they were going through financial difficulties. So instead of paying me my 50 bucks they sent me 50 bucks worth of sex toys instead, en lieu of payment. This big box full of vibrators and dildos and Spanish Fly and penis-enlargers and God knows what else.

The one sex toy I really remember was this flesh-colored dildo. A very realistic depiction of the human penis made out of hard rubber.. Veins and all. The thing must have been at least a foot long. But the thing I really remember. In the middle of the dildo it had this rubber accordian-like piece. And it came with this battery-operated remote control device. And when you turned it on the accordian part in the middle would actually enlarge the dildo, making it go up and down, bigger and smaller. I guess to enhance your partner’s sexual pleasure.

The dildo came with this base. So you could stand it up-right. For awhile I used to keep it on the coffee table of my apartment. Like a conversation piece. And I would say to my guests, “Watch this.” And I’d take out the remote control device and turn it on. And the accordian-piece in the middle of the dildo would make the thing go up and down.

I probably still have the thing stashed in my storage locker somewhere. Ha ha.

It was the 1970s. The Sexual Liberation decade. We were all liberating ourselves in all sorts of ways back then. Ha ha.

Cats are so smart

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Cats are so smart. . . Mini Scaredy does this thing where she waits for me just about every night. She hides in the bushes a hundred yards down the road from the trail to my campsite — sometimes for hours. And when I show up she jumps out of the bushes to greet me, and then walks alongside me as I head up the road. It’s pretty cute. My own personal greeting committee.

The problem is: I could tell she really didn’t understand the concept of roads and cars. She’s spent her whole life living in the woods after all. And I was afraid she was gonna get hit by a car. She came real close one time. She was standing in the middle of the street and a car came right at her and she froze up — the old “deer-in-the-headlights” thing. The car had to slam on the breaks to keep from hitting her.

So now I make a point, whenever I’m crossing the street I’ll suddenly run as fast as I can until I get to the other side. Mini Scaredy watches me doing this. And now she does the same thing. She sprints as fast as she can until she gets to the other side of the road.

She figured it out.