Monday, January 29, 2007
Personal Asides: Carol Marins Sunday Best Blest Are the Meeks Snap! Crackle! Pop! Here Come More of those Gutsy Tribune Editorials! Zzzzzz.
Let is be said that Carol Marins Sunday column in yesterdays Sun-Times was another ten-strike. In the face of serious budget cuts which harm those least likely to help themselves, huge salary payments and promotions in Cook county government constitute a series breach. For the second Sunday in a row she laid out the case brilliantly, in crisp style. The columns represent commentary at its finest and it is with sincere congratulations that I view her as a political columnist who is beginning to acquit herself with distinction. I dont take back what Ive said in past scorching critiques but I am quickly coming to the opinion that perhaps she needed some time to come forth with extraordinarily deft analyses and courageous articles that perform a distinct public service. Lets also say that shes coming along at a pace that brings to mind the analyses of one of the finest Chicago woman columnist of our time, Lois Wille.
Those who expected The Reader to be typically irreverent with its front-cover treatment of the latest reincarnation of the old rascally Father Divinethe ultra-materialistic you can have it all including pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die-with-ice-cream-on-the-topReverend-Senator James Meeks, should have known better. Satire and tough broadsides against big-time money religion and politics in The Reader are reserved only for white right-wing clergy offenders such as Pat Robertson. With Robertson, any kind of opprobrium is welcomed (see my reference to him yesterday in The Wanderer piece). He has a fat wallet that passes for a soul and the soft chuckle of a carny hustler who will allow you to cut the cards (heh-heh-heh). But when the opportunity come to give similar treatment to a demagogue like Meeks, of course The Readerwedded as it is to liberal correctionism--cant measure up.
Its motive is clear. Youthful, nihilistic readers who receive via the paper all manner of inducements for the hedonist lifestyleincluding a porno-column of heterosexual and homosexual deviance written by someone named Dan Savageare still human enough to want to reach out for something like theological surety. What passes for it are liberal politics and assuredly the politics of African Americans whom the kids believe are entitled to any recompense because of past slavery and segregation not that they learned it all that well in their schools, mind you, but somewhere on TV they saw glimpses of it. The awe comes in many ways: Obama as Lincoln being one. Nothing that outrageous comes in the treatment of Meeks but hes merely shown as a successful black church leader. In fact, he goes Elmer Gantry one better. While Robertson and Falwell have had to justifiably face the IRS on occasion, Meeks has avoided it by setting himself up as skilled victim-protagonist (do you know who I am? he said when the cops stopped a car he was riding in) and bluffs his way by claiming discrimination.
No mention whatsoever is made no hint of the complicated admixture of monies in the Meeks plans to inherit, or at least appropriate, a portion of the earth: his church which is little more than a political organization set up as cheering section for his lobbying and electoral aggrandizements his salary as church leader (how much is it?) his political office which requires collection of campaign donations his forays into exploring higher political office where he uses his ministerial and legislative status without demarcation. Does he have business interests? His wife? Whats his net worth? We arent told. But then The Reader is a free throwaway paper, well worth the money you pay for it. Yet for everything there is a bright side and they are three: Michael Miner Ben Joravsky whose political analyses are extraordinarily good and, yes, even Harold Henderson.
Snap! Crackle! Pop Goes the Tribune!
And now put those toothpicks under your eyelids to keep awake for here is the latest review of recent tough-hitting Tribune editorials keeping in mind the newspapers new marketing slogan is TribuneWhats in it for You? Indeed.
Anatomy of a false story is an editorial pretending that journalistic ethics should forbid inquiry into first sources as to whether or not Obama ever had fundamentalist Islam training with no mention that secondary sources were used to supposedly scotch the story while preserving the candidates deniability preceded by a so-called Ombudsmans whitewash which repeated the liberal habit of calling the Swift Boat testimony into disrepute without providing documentation. Wonderful for Mr. Axelrod.
Grade: F-. Not worth further discussion. How soon til the rag is chopped up and sold in chunks?
Second chances and aldermen recycles an editorial earlier by the Sun-Times which said it better. Since the feds are finding the city council fertile territory for corruption there should be no revolving door between the penitentiary and the floor of the Chicago City Council.
Grade: D. I liked the Sun-Times one far better but then, obviously the Tribune wanted to see how safe it is to say this without getting criticized.
License to offend deals with the Choose Life license plate issue where federal judge David Coar ruled that the state has no right to reject the pro-life plate because it doesnt like the message. Trib finds it convenient to have it both wayspleasing pro-lifers and pro-aborts by saying (a) the ruling is correct but (b) it would be scary to have a pro-KKK plate, wouldnt it?...so (c) perhaps lawmakers should think about how necessary it is to have any designation on license plates at all.
Grade: F. A three-cushion billiard shot in gutlessness.
The anti-surge surge meanders this way: (a) President Bush wants time for his surge strategy to work but (b) some Republican as well as Democratic senators oppose it so (c) therell be a debate because Bush (d) hasnt fully explained how he plans to force Iraqis to control their own destiny so (e) stay tuned.
Grade: D. Bland recitation of the recent past ending with a shrug.
Separating sheep from the goat is a recitation of the trial of Scooter Libby, whose defense counsel says, if you remember, he is a scapegoat for Karl Rove. Editorial starts out with the biblical story of the scapegoat where the sins of the Jews are placed on a goat who is released to wander in the desert. In this case (a) all big trials need two competing stories(b) one comes from the prosecution, its version of how the law was broken: Libby the liar; (c) one comes from the defense: Libby the victim scapegoat. Conclusion: If Libby was a goat who left the White House and headed for the desert, he left many active sinners behind. Meaning, I guess, that Libby was a scapegoatbut conclusion is murky. Then you get into the doctrine of Original Sin. Oh well.
Grade: D-. More cowardly than usual even for a Tribune piece.