Volume II, Issue I Spring 2003

The Smoking Section

It can be tough making your living as a writer in the politically correct environs of San Diego County – where dark, smoke-filled bars that can cure the hole in your soul have been banned by the health fascists.

For all their supposed scientific and medical savvy, these goose-stepping do-gooders have yet to explain how one can play a reasonable game of billiards without a smoke dangling from your mouth. Or how one can listen to the sultry seduction of jazz without having a slowly rising tendril of blue smoke mimicing the music on its way to the ceiling.

We suppose that the sort of militaristic mentality that causes someone to think their purpose in life is to save us from ourselves doesn't lend itself to the above type of introspection, however. A lack of imagination seems to run rampant among today's secular missionaries ...

A modern tale of stress

It was, to be sure, an ugly scene. Almost as soon as the radio and TV stations began airing the warnings, folks began hoarding bottled water and canned goods – entire aisles were emptied at the grocery stores. Lines formed outside gas stations, tempers were frayed, and things got ugly quickly.

We're writing, of course, about the recent rains in Southern California.

Frankly, New York and Washington, D.C., took the raised terror alert far better than SoCal did a series of relatively mild winter storms.

Then there's the driving – nobody in Southern California is actually from the place; we all come from somewhere else, mostly places with lots of rain. Snow, even. So why is it every time it showers, there are more accidents here than in Newark in a blizzard?

The greatest grace is that once the rains are gone, we don't have to worry about it again for another six months ...

Just the facts

In a day and age when nearly every corporate news operation is rolling in coin, Reuters has announced another huge round of lay-offs – this following the 3,000 pink slips handed out last summer.

How is it that the once-respected Reuters is doing so badly during boom times for the media? The usual suspects have been trotted out – bad management, poor decisions, etc.

Here at Turbula, though, we can't wonder if it doesn't have more to do with some of Reuters' recent decisions on how they would cover the news.

For instance, after 9-11, Reuters made a big, showy – and very self-righteous – announcement that they would not use the term "terrorists" in its coverage. One man's terrorist being the next man's freedom fighter, we were told.

To be sure, one man's guerrilla is the next man's freedom fighter – the Tamil Tigers, for instance. But the Tamil Tigers limit their targets to military and police forces – as with the American revolutionaries, they are fighting what they perceive as a corrupt and oppressive government by force.

But freedom fighters do not target unarmed civilians – they don't fly fully loaded passenger jets into occupied office buildings, for instance. Or blow up buses full of college students.

Any news organization incapable of making that sort of basic distinction of decency is going to have a hard time finding an audience for its peculiar vision of the news – a reality the proselytizers at Reuters are learning the hard way.

Or not learning.

When Rep. Jim Moran was recently quoted as blaming the Bush administration's hard line against Iraq on a Jewish cabal – a statement of such staggering stupidity that it called to mind Sen. Trent Lott's warmly sentimental reminiscence about Strong Thurmond's racist presidential candidacy – the Reuters analysis piece lamented not the fact that an elected official could be such a vile bigot, but rather the fact that it seems it's nearly impossible to have a serious discussion about how Jews run the world, because one will be branded as anti-Semitic for broaching the subject.

Decent folk ignore such idiocy, of course – and it's hard to make a living as a news outlet if you're being ignored ...

Campus life

Harvard seems to be falling deeper into the grip of the politically correct. Black students have a proposal before a special committee at Harvard Law School to ban "offensive" speech. How that's supposed to prepare aspiring lawyers for life in a courtroom has yet to be explained.

At the same time, in the name of "free speech," a noted Irish Jew-hater was re-invited to campus by the English faculty.

Is Hahvahd for free speech or against? Or just for heavily accented speech with no Rs ...

In search of an audience

News reports that wealthy Democrats are planning to bankroll a "liberal" radio programming network to counterbalance conservative talk radio shows has Turbula's staff members scratching their heads.

After all, Rush Limbaugh, et al, succeeded because they found a ready audience of disillusioned listeners who felt disenfranchised from the already liberal-leaning mainstream media. The even-more-leftish public radio is already struggling to find an audience.

Heck, MSNBC last summer brought Phil Donahue out of his self-imposed retirement hoping to tap into this much-rumored but little seen backlash against conservative radio. No luck; Phil's ratings never made much of a dent, and he was let go shy of 9 months on the job.

But hey – anytime the rich want to squander their wealth by spending it on salaries for middle-class workers – folks like radio engineers and sound technicians – we're all in favor of that sort of income redistribution ...

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