Saturday, September 2, 2006

Personal Asides: Congratulations to Pat Hickey…Another Trivia…Only Liberals With Few Absolutes Care About Chief Illinewek…Topinka Nixes Social Conservatives…The Two Newspapers

chicagotribune

Pat Hickey.

Not using a search engine (or so he says) Pat Hickey, an erudite contributor to this Blog, remembered from one of his textbooks in college the identity of the distinguished Brit who raised his glass in toast to Albert Einstein: George Bernard Shaw. Good going, Pat.

Another Trivia.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day on the Kennedy which caused me to ponder. Only because I am in the final stage of decrepitude from old age did I finally get it. I don’t think a search engine would solve this one…only if you are a dinosaur. Here is what the bumper sticker said:

What if “that’s what it’s all about” is what it’s all about?

Please decipher.

Chief Illinewek.

Other blogs report a hubbub from bobble-head white liberals who wish to retire Chief Illinewek, the University of Illinois mascot. Only those with few if any absolutes at all would be thus interested. Since the human constitution must produce a moral sense, theirs is taken up with worry that the prancing U of I Indian in authentic costume is a race insult. Years ago white liberals tried to do it to Quaker Oats’ Aunt Jemima, screaming accompaniment to the Pouting Buddha that she was a symbol of a southern slave. By removing Uncle Ben from Uncle Ben’s rice they felt they did a great service to blacks: removing a black symbol of culinary excellence. They failed with Aunt Jemima. I told them they should go to General Mills in Minneapolis and protest that Betty Crocker should be made black. Somehow that didn’t seem as exciting as picketing Aunt Jemima.

The Illinewek farce is on a par with the lofty concerns for ducks and geese by Alderman Joe Moore who, were he to die, could well be embalmed and placed as a stand-up in a plastic container at the Harvard Medical school as genus white liberalismus. May he live forever as he serves a vital role on my “Political Shootout” radio show. When he sits down at the mike, all ten phone lines burn brightly. As I’ve told him, he’s not dismayed about the killing of unborn children but worries about ducks and geese who are forced to over-eat to satisfy elite culinary taste. That guilt over ducks is identical as the drive to kill Illinewek. Call it creeping Paul Simon-ism—after the unlamented consecutively-elected bow-tied dreamer who was the first major dewey-eyed pol to sign on to the Illinewek stunt. To be consistent, liberals should object to the portly Quaker man on the oatmeal package with curls for misrepresenting current Caucasian men. But that wouldn’t have liberal bleating/bleeding heart value since white males are discounted as unexotic by the trendy.

Topinka.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Judy Baar Topinka met with two leading social conservatives the other day—Ralph Rivera and the Rev. Bob Vandenbosh, key Springfield lobbyists who represent grassroots pro-life, pro-family organizations, the very groups that she needs to force a coalition as described in Paul Green’s excellent “Sun-Times” column yesterday. They asked her whether she would support a key item in their agenda: state funding for teen-age abstinence which could cut down on youth promiscuity and unmarried pregnancies. Topinka’s answer: no way. She says she supports comprehensive sex-ed which has a very small component of sex abstinence in it and goes the Planned Parenthood route including condom instruction et al. Topinka’s social policies are called by the Big Foot media “moderate” i.e. liberal. She’s for abortion rights, gay rights and has opposed the proposed state marriage amendment: that’s “moderate.” Her flat “no” to a modest conservative appeal slams the door on any hope that there could be social conservative backing for her candidacy. Thus social conservatives ask themselves why support her when there’s very little difference between her views and those of Gov. Blagojevich?

The Two Newspapers.

For those who tuned in late, Chicago has two newspapers: The Democratic Party’s Newspaper of Record (the “Sun-Times”) and The Newspaper That Doesn’t Know What it Believes (the “Tribune”). The Democratic Party’s Newspaper of Record is the one you pick up first when it lands with the others on your driveway. It’s compelling; its graphics beckon you to read it ; it’s sassy and filled with a lot of I-I-I-I youth columnists who are schooled to write from the standpoint of it’s all about me…will there be World War III or IV? What will that do to me? Global warming? How will that affect me? A nuclear winter? How will I survive? It’s all about “me”: the youngish 20-40ish consumer with liberal tastes. As a matter of fact, its preoccupation with “me” is its undoing. If one thinks only of “me” one can easily buy abortion as the paper does.

Its marketing schema has positioned it that way: the paper for “me.” . It’s tone is managed by editor John Barron, the successor to its great editors of the past—but is propelled by the “me”-centered publisher, John Cruickshank, a Canadian with a heavy connection to the local Democratic party and its operatives. I don’t know how Barron, a finely educated man with a sensitive spiritual side sleeps running a paper that incardinates “me”, but it may not be well. Cruickshank, I have no doubt, sleeps exceedingly well.

The “me” liberality and Democratic slant is locally inclusive…from Carol Marin (who doesn’t know politics but who is a visceral feminist and aging TV celebrity …paid $60 grand from WTTW which is supported by public and government funds plus a bundle from Channel 5 not to forget what she is overpaid by the paper. She has only liberal feelings with one notable exception, expressed the other day. She is one of many, including to the waspish over-age post-Vatican II screwed-up, dissident liberal priest who calls God “she”, Father Greeley who in a more courageous time would be sacked by the Church, not for his politics or salacious novels but because he spreads bad “me” theology in contradistinction to his ordained mandate: his view on the Holy Spirit’s role in choice of Popes schismatic, theologically illiterate and scandalously un-corroborated by scholarship.

Of all its columnists, I suppose Sneed has the best right to “me” since she is a gossiper whose news comes to her because she is “me.” Debra Pickett is a self-invented nobody who has no right to be “me” but is all “me”—now “me” is pregnant and we hear all the details. Roger Ebert is a “me” movie reviewer; Richard Roeper is overwhelmingly “me”—a 40sh kid who never grew up. Mary Mitchell is heavily “me”—the black female, somewhat suspicious of black patriarchy but in the end willing to go along, as she is with the Great Pouter with whom she travels in Africa. Mark Brown is probably less “me” than anyone else but that’s saying a lot.

What conservatives there are on the paper come from syndicates and don’t deal with local issues: George Will, John O’Sullivan, a Brit nobody reads and the Heritage’s Ed Feulner who is a good read. But the local tenor of the paper is unremittingly “me” and as result lefty. If you think of everything in terms of “me” you’re going to be a lefty. It has to be.

When the paper sinks to the scatological level of the New York “Post” or the “Daily News” and then the “National Enquirer” it gets so “me” obsessed that it’s disgusting. It happens quite often. How different it has become from the thoroughly progressive, solid paper that Marshall Field, Milburn (Pete) Akers and Jim Hoge ran! With engrossing analysis that editorial page editor Emmett Dedmon supplied! Today’s kids don’t know what a good newspaper it was. Dedmon wrote one of the truly great histories of the city, brimming with superb insights: a literary and scholarly standard work—one I refer to regularly, “Fabulous Chicago.” The disintegration of what was once an extraordinarily good moderately liberal newspaper which just happened to be a tabloid is profoundly depressing. Like seeing a one-time Miss Illinois selling herself for $20 on Clark street. But that’s what concentrating on “me” exclusively does—it cheapens and ultimately degrades.

Recently the paper has added editorial page editor Steve Huntley’s conservative commentaries on international and national issues: pro-Israel, anti-Joe Wilson. But carefully. Huntley’s stuff, very good, equals Dedmon’s at its best. It’s add-on, doesn’t affect the paper’s relentless “me” liberal Democratic marketing youth posture. Thus because it’s “me”-driven, it is the local Democratic party’s Newspaper of Record—and thus it shall continue until the end of the Cruickshank era. But remember this: with all the aforementioned “me” cheapness and tawdry hype, it is a newspaper that knows what it is, what it believes, has carved out a marketing niche, adheres to it and for all its lefty-ness has excellent city coverage. Fran Spielman, the city hall correspondent, is outstanding. Not a “me” in a carload of her stuff. Abon Pallasch, the legal correspondent: outstanding: no “me-me-me.” You go down the list of bylined correspondents: outstanding. In fact it seems to be endemic: All writers who do not have columns are outstanding because there is no “me.” Hence no selfishness, crawling bravado. QT or “Quick Takes” is much “me”—funny, clever but drowning in the cult of “me” as liberal Bush-phobe. Limbaugh-phobe. Coulter-phobe.

Those who have columns and must follow the marketing plan and usually not worth the read: with the exception of the very bright, witty and uncommonly good writer with a fine literary style, Neil Steinberg. He’s “me” but ever so slightly becoming aware of others. Then it has someone else who is superlative. Jack Higgins, the cartoonist. No good cartoonist can really be “me”-driven and Higgins isn’t. All you have to do is to see other newspapers’ offerings: the pathetic Toles of the “Washington Post” who makes a fetish of not being able to draw but has no ideas either and is a primitive. Higgins ranks with the great cartoonists of Chicago history: Vaughan Shoemaker of the “Daily News” who created John Q. Public…Cecil Jensen of the “Daily News” who created “Col. McCosmic” the parody of Col. McCormick…John T. McCutcheon, Cary Orr and Joe Parrish of the old “Tribune”—even Herblock of the old “Washington Post” and the heavily-drawn, as if with charcoal, Fitzpatrick (he never used his first name) of the once good “St. Louis Post-Dispatch.”

In contrast to the Democratic Newspaper of Record, is the Newspaper That Does Not Know What It Believes, the “Tribune.” In essence, it is a cowardly newspaper and has been so since the death of its last editor-publisher who knew what he believed: Colonel Robert R. McCormick. The Colonel has been reviled for having opposed our entry into World War II—but his opposition against FDR’s eagerness to get us to help Britain proved to be helpful in the end. The fact that we did not enter until Pearl Harbor didn’t prove McCormick wrong but right. Pearl Harbor did not prove McCormick wrong but McCormick right, Roosevelt having put the screws of embargo on the Japanese that made the attack inevitable. McCormick and the isolationists’ delay enabled us to enter the war after Hitler invaded the USSR, sparing us the human carnage that our allies endured. We emerged from the war with fewer casualties than all others on the allied side. Mostly due to the so-called isolationist pressure that was stirred by few more than McCormick. But his faint-hearted successors, buying the common argument that McCormick was at best stupid and at worst evil, jettisoned his philosophy in order to appeal to the common liberal sense. It was the dumbest thing anyone could ever do. The man who did it was Clayton Kirkpatrick, once the old man’s financial editor who trembled under his sway but had no core convictions himself.

Kirkpatrick and his successors bought the idea that as McCormick produced an interpretative newspaper that presented what he felt was the truth, he presented a biased product. Not so. McCormick believed that there is objective truth and the truth shall be proclaimed in his columns uniformly: from news coverage to editorials and completed by brilliant cartooning. To get to that objective truth, the paper was interpretative but not unfair. When Arthur Sears Henning’s mis-read of the 1948 election led to the unfortunate “Dewey Beats Truman” headline, Henning was let go—and rightly so.

Objective truth and its presentation should really be the mission of all newspapers, not a dash of liberalism here, a bit of conservatism there: a Molly Ivins here and a Denny Byrne there. If by “objective” is meant that one must allow error to be run equally, it is wrong. An editor should view the news and allow what he believes is the truth to prevail uniformly: in the news and editorials. In the old days, the Chicago “Daily News”—when it pursued the policies laid down by Colonel Frank Knox which crusaded for war—was a great newspaper. As McCormick pushed to keep us out of war, the Daily News pushed for us to enter it. When the “Daily News” was sold to John S. Knight it became what the Trib is today—and unworthy. Field put it right.

Thus I wish to insist as a given that “The New York Times” can be criticized as liberal, wrong-headed (even disloyal—as I do) but has greatness: from which it occasionally departs in unfairness—but still a great newspaper. McCormick made his paper great and recognized that this sense made “The New York Times” great, albeit liberal. It led him to join with the paper in setting up a singular news service. But from his death on April 1, 1955 to the present, his newspaper has wallowed in uncertainty. One of the very few vestiges of good journalism the paper has is…as I have said so often…John Kass, the columnist, who gravitated to the top despite all the mediocrity from the front office with which he has had to face. He is better than Royko, as I have earlier explained, because he is more than a jokester, although he can certainly be that. At bottom, he knows Chicago’s political news better than Royko and has a finely attuned social conscience. Kass saw from the start that Daley couldn’t lie straight in bed—before any of us…certainly before me. He writes of himself and his concerns but is never “me.” If you still have trouble fathoming it, think about it more. It’ll come to you.

12 comments:

  1. Is the Hokey Pokey dance as old as you make it seem?

    ReplyDelete
  2. As Leon referenced. What if putting your left hand in, taking it out putting back in and shaking it before you turn yourself around et al. were what "it'a all about" as the song suugests?

    I think it's clever humor. How old is that song?

    ReplyDelete
  3. To objections against the use of Chief Illinewek, you should counterpropose that the leaders of various American Indian tribes and nations be asked for their opinions on the matter.

    Dinesh D'Souza did this at Dartmouth, back when he was editor of the Dartmouth Review and activists were demanding an end to the Dartmouth Indian team name, mascot and symbols. Overwhelmingly, the Indian leaders replied that they LOVED the symbols and mascot!

    Of course, that didn't alter the demands of the self-appointed anti-defamation advocates at Dartmouth, and it probably won't mollify the academia nuts in this state either. Rather, it tends to rip the stuffing out of them, which is much more satisfying in any event.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds to me like the sort of sticker a more-esoteric-than-thou philosophy major of the Absurdist persuasion might put on his car after watching too many Samuel Beckett plays.

    I'm not sure how old the Hokey-Pokey is, but it is my understanding that it originated as a ridicule of Catholicism.

    This was back in the days when priests were referred to as "Hokey-Pokey Men", in mocking reference to the words of consecration: Hoc est enim corpus meum." (The phrases "Hocus Pocus" and "Hocus Pocus Dominocus" are based upon this as well.)

    The Hokey-Pokey dance and lyrics were understood to ridicule what was regarded as inordinate ritualism and alleged superstition in the Cathoic Mass. Of course, few today make this association when doing the Hokey-Pokey, and the driver of whom you speak is probably no exception.

    However, in light of all this, perhaps the sticker is actually somehow premonitory to a conversion to Catholicism. Perhaps the driver is on the perilous verge of actually considering the strange possibility that the Eucharist really is ultimately what it's all about.

    Even in the face of blasphemous mockery, the last laugh will belong to God.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My favorite Bumber sticker appeared on the back of a beat up 1978 Buick Skylark in Griffith, IN-

    All Men are Idiots - I Married their King!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shakespeare said,"In one hole and out the other". I return to that saying when unsure". Patrick. P.s. When does class start?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lovie's LeatherSeptember 3, 2006 at 9:15 AM

    For some reason Tom, you still don't seem to understand what conservative is. AuH2O is rolling over in his grave because conservatism is all about small government and the constitution, not teaching your religious views or mine. By your definition "conservative" is social contol, instead of constitutional freedom. Tom, I wouldn't say that you have the conscience of a conservative....

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't understand. A couple of social conservatives ask for more money in the current state fiscal climate and get told no--so Topinka's against social conservatives?

    (What a stupid thing to ask for--and what a poor sense of timing in which to ask.)

    So to be for social conservatism one must be for more government spending in a very tight fiscal climate? Which tax do we want raised, or which casino do we want expanded to pay for our favored increased spending?

    So we're really not against increased spending, or bigger government, as long as it's our programs that are funded.

    Tom, you are straying far, far from the conservative fold.

    ReplyDelete
  9. William,

    You really have no clue about what you're talking about do you? I’m going to reprint what was in the article so that you can read it again.

    > They asked her whether she would support a key item
    > in their agenda: state funding for teen-age abstinence
    > which could cut down on youth promiscuity and unmarried
    > pregnancies. Topinka’s answer: no way. She says she
    > supports comprehensive sex-ed which has a very small
    > component of sex abstinence in it and goes the Planned
    > Parenthood route including condom instruction et al.

    First of all, Topinka supporting the Planned Parenthood version of solving teenage pregnancy already costs the state. First of all in funding abortions on demand and then for those who don’t abort their babies, have to go on state welfare. Then once these teenage mothers realize the money making scheme of having more babies cost us even more.

    There are studies which support the fact that Abstinence-Only education works such as this one:

    > A new University of Pennsylvania study has found that
    > abstinence-only education is the most effective way to
    > reduce health risks associated with sexual activity. This
    > stands in stark contrast to so-called "comprehensive"
    > sex education, which advocates teaching kids how to
    > use condoms.

    Less teenage pregnancies, less money spent by the state on welfare. And let’s not forget about the most important aspect of this – SAVING LIVES. Yes, Abstinence saves the lives of the teen and keeps the from contracting life ending deceases, not to mention eliminating one of the biggest produces of abortions on demand – teenage pregnancy.

    So, spending a little state funds up front will reap the rewards of reducing spending by not having to pay out on welfare and medical costs as well as save lives.

    Now what was it that you were saying about not understanding what a conservative is???


    Patriotic Jones

    ReplyDelete
  10. Conservatism is not about reducing spending, it is about spending money on "our" programs.

    You have the perfect justification--spend a little money now, save a lot of money later, and SAVE LIVES. The exact script of the left.

    Unfortunately, today's "conservatism" has degenrated into standing in line at the welfare state, hand out, palm up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Topinka says 'No' to Ralph Rivera of Illinois Citizens for Life, and will not back abstinance programs! The question now is, 'Will Ralph finally give in and list Randy Stufflebeam on his voter guide of candidates?' Will he continue to support Judy by giving her another rating of (X), meaning does not have a pro-life position one way of another? Will Ralph still give Traitor Joe Birkett a rating of (1), fully pro-life with a little (#) sign, except in cases of rape and incest (this is not totally pro-life to me)?
    Apperently ICL's standards have changed over the years. Will Illinois Citizens for Life finally concede to the only pro-life candidate we have running for governor, Randy Stufflebeam, the only one man one womean candidate we have, Randy Stufflebeam? His answer was 'NO' last Saturday! He will not even inform the pro-life community that we do have a pro-life candidate! No?

    ReplyDelete
  12. what it all about isa dvd about desire submission love jealousy wisdom honesty and faith. it about modern man and his contrdictions frustrations lack of communication his solitude and his confusion. hope you enjoyed the dvd as much as i did.

    ReplyDelete