Thomas Roeser, Chicago's answer to 18th Century genius Dr. Samuel Johnson, skewers huge chunks of the meat heads who pass themselves off as journalists in Chicago.
Roeser, whose resume is longer than a Studs Terkle story, helps John Powers, local philanthropist and businessman, run Chicago's only balanced and authentic news and opinion organ Chicago Daily Observer.
It is so nicely balanced, that my south side musings appear along side those of Progressive genius, journalist, historian and political analyst Don Rose, who sent more brain cells down the drain of the gents at Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap than I'd ever hope to have.
Roeser deconstructs the Chicago Media icono-sphere with all of the glee of Smash McKenna ( Pipe Coverer Extraordinaire!) in doing similar justice to a bust-out who grabbed Nualla's tip money at Keegan's Pub - more gore than Titus Andronicus and much more hilarious!
We start with Carol Marin the political columnist of the “Sun-Times.” She made her mark as a smooth TV anchor and feature reporter where her views were not readily known. Then came her rebellion at Channel 5 when management wanted to include Jerry Springer as a commentator. She left with a tsunami of favorable publicity but what wasn’t realized at the time was that her renegotiation was up for grabs and she might not have been retained anyway. But it worked. She has a smooth TV style--but as soon as she went over to the “Sun-Times” her mood 1960s Mother Superior attitude…literally…conveyed her true beliefs, that of a morally superior dilettante in politics who wants to enable true social justice on earth. Social justice means the welfare state…and which party better represents this goal than the Dems. All tied up in her sense of religious self-rectitude -which betrays, of course, a sense of vacuous non-theology.
Her first column was to celebrate that 14-carat phony with a self-embroidered history of radical activism from yesteryear, Studs Terkel, 96, a self-promoting agnostic windbag who named one of his kids after declared Communist stage actor and singer Paul Robson and , to hear Terkel tell it in his rasping voice which thrills his listeners since they fathom the real man of the street is talking… marched with the Wobblies, braved assaults from the club-wielding goons in the Armour strike, endured beatings with Walter Reuther in the Detroit sit-down strikes of the 1930, fought the white racists who opposed blacks swimming off a South Side pier in the 1920s, was black-listed because of his opposition to that hideous Joe McCarthy…all the stories inflating in coloration by the year-some invented out of whole cloth--while Ms. Marin beamed expressively and accepted his supposed man-in-the-street lingo as true genre.
As the late Steve Neal, no conservative, pointed out in a column Terkel never did anything of note for the “working class,” is in reality a b.s’ing blatherer of tales who would long since have been thrown out of a neighborhood bar for inculcating terminal boredom, since he has lived far longer than most and has license to exaggerate scandalously without fact-checking. Aside from a brief acting career on early TV, Terkel’s has done nothing noteworthy except to snap on a tape recorder and capture stories from first-hand participants for which, as a canny capitalist, he paid nothing but from which he made a fortune for himself-beginning with “Division Street America.” A self-proclaimed man of the people, he deliberately never learned to drive and rides a bus, taking care to sit by the window where he, festooned in his red-checked shirt, can be quickly glimpsed. I debated him once at Bughouse Square. A coward when confronted, this giant puff ball self-inflated turned into a clawless pussy cat. I actually went easy on him after he caved. It was the first time he was ever called on any of his stories because his recollections were at variance with history. Marin the dilettante swallows it all.
The late John McDermott a once squishy soft liberal but always a truly authenticist Catholic (who changed to a Reagan voter because of the pro-life issue,…and who was for years an office mate of mine)…once embarked on a self-designated campaign to encourage Marin, either a fallen away or fallen away wanna-be to re-embrace the faith. According to McDermott her conditions involved the whole swath of feminism: contraception, abortion rights, keep-your-hands-off-my-womb, women priests, women bishops, gay rights. Oh, said I, sarcastically, by all means let us immediately reformulate 2000 years of theology so Carol will go back to the church! He never gave up on her and remembered her in his prayers every day. I said: save your breath.
So Democratic party cross-eyed is she that when she interviewed Henry Hyde for her paper she had to put in the piece that she told him she came from a family where the women never voted Republican-as if anyone cares…but it was her way of squaring herself to write about him at all. Her way of getting an insight into how the presidential campaign is going is to sit down with David Axelrod whom (ith her little girl naivete) he thinks will give it to her straight. So cross-eyed is she that she actually believes this stuff.
Always a treat to see Tom tune-up the fatuous loudmouth Studs Terkle. Avail yourselves Citizens! Avail Yourselves!
Skewered and Grilled! Get some more with Tom Roeser!