Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicago Print Journalism, Really? - Depends Upon the Journalist

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." John Swinton 1829-1901)

The Nicene Creed has worked pretty well, given the bumps and starts and start again nature of history.  I more than go along with that code and have a devil of a time living up to that Athansian paradigm almost as much as the four gospels, Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse sequel to the Old Testament.

Aside from that Code, pretty much everything else depends upon how well I think and act in its light.  Trial and error have had a remarkable effect upon me - I no longer light tire fires under viaducts, climb water towers upon challenge, vote the Party line, answer 1800-# phone announcements, regard Male Lo T or The Mood On Demand Products commercials with anything short of a belly-laugh, or worry about fairness in print journalism. By journalists, I refer to the opinion makers and heart breakers who go unchallenged in this traditionally hick burg.  I leave out of this very inky mix - news writers - reporters, Tim Novak, Natasha Korecki, Maureen O'Donnell, Dan Mihiopoulas, Chris Fusco & etc. They are a credit to the canons of taste.

For journalists I must include the disc jockeys turned editors and their peers who run opinion in both papers.

Journalism is as hit-or-miss as American movies. Sometimes you get My Weekend With Marilyn, most times you get what ever is playing On Demand.( Hey, at least you didn't spring for AMC& Lowes prices and the $12 small combo, parking and gas!).

There's good stuff out there, but you really must be discerning -trial and error - I'd take one Steve Rhodes over any number of Eric Zorns, Carol Marins, Mary Schmichs, or Richard Roepers; one Dennis Byrne over a parliament of  Steve Chapmans, Clarence Pages, Neil Steinbergs, or David Brooks-eses..

They are the cheerleaders for the powers that be and wanna be, if funded and sanctioned by the political social engineers and their wallets .Shucks, a hack ink-slinger who barks on demand may . . . .just may end up as a career king maker, or helping the thieves steal more efficiently.

John Kass remains the only true link to the Arrch Wards, Ray Coffeys, Nick Von Hoffmans, Herman Kogans and Mike Roykos of Chicago's great writers.

Wit has been replaced with snark -whatever the Hell that is; opinion is not wanted - e.g. Steve Rhodes.

Like betting on clams in the Midwest, too many of the passed along and institutionally agreed-upon talents ( Manya Brachear, Megan Daum, Mary Mitchell, Stella Emerita, Dawn Turner Trice, Rich Miller and the Latino Line-up at the Sun Times -Alejandro Escalano, Suzanne Ontiveros, et.al.) will give that uncomfortable tum-tum followed by 

  • A feeling that your teeth are loose and about to fall out
  • Confusing hot and cold temperatures (for instance, you will feel that an ice cube is burning you, while a match is freezing your skin)
  • Headache (probably the most common)
  • Low heart rate and low blood pressure (in very severe cases)
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

Trial and error, the gradus to discernment, may lead one to believe that there are more than one bad clam in the bag.

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