Uncle Johnny’s Meatballs

Over the weekend I watched a video created by my brother, an electrician by trade, who made a 10-minute pilot of a cooking show he hopes to sell, syndicate, whatever. It was great! I’m sorry I can’t point to it yet because he hasn’t gone public, but that clip convinced me — if indeed I needed convincing — that “amateurs” can put so-called professionals (like his brother, the writer) to shame. The meatball mention made me smile because I remember them from my childhood. But this same dish of home-grown video can be a recipe for controversy.

No laughing matter. A federal judge has ordered a San Francisco videopgrapher Josh Wolf “to surrender video footage of a July 2005 clash between San Francisco police and anarchist demonstrators or face jail for contempt of court.”

I linked to the story published in the Chronicle (where I work) but first noticed the case last night when I scanned a posting on Unmediated.org.

This morning I searched for more on Wolf and came to one site where he lists 25 things he wants to do. “Start a revolution” is tops, “destroy capitalism” ranks seventh, “fall in love” is 15th and “graduate from college” comes in at 21.

I visited Wolf’s website, This Revolution Will Be Televised (an insightful takeoff on the 70s’ era Gil Scott Heron song, The Revolution will NOT be televised).

There I noticed a quote that exemplifies the debate his case will provoke about who is a journalist in an age where everybody can grab a soundbyte, photo or video — and what rights they should have separate from any other citizen. The excerpt begins and ends with a parenthetical note from someone authorized to post on Wolf’s website; the chunk in the middle is from Digg:

Someone named NEWACCOUNT posted this comment on the post (on Digg) about my contempt charges:

What we need is a national “registry” of journalists that corporations with over x number of readers will sponsor, that way not just everybody can claim to be a journalist, they will only get constitutional protection afforded members of the journalism profession in good standing with mainstream media. Otherwise you have stuff like that so called “Rodney King” video that created created mass hysteria when if a respectable media company in good standing with the government would have buried that video. These officially sanctioned journalists could even wear an armband or something.

Is this satire or stupidity?