Friday, March 5, 2010

Personal Aside: “Batman” er, The Herald’s Lissau Strikes Again—Walsh’s Being Hard-Up Endangers Congressional Run.

    Feast of St. John Joseph of the Cross*
           Yesterday I wrote about a novel theory publicized by one Russell Lissau, a so-called straight news reporter for the suburban paper that alleges, tries and convicts conservative Republicans without a trial—The Daily Herald, published in Arlington Heights.  Lissau has written article #2 in what will probably be a long series…running until November…on the issue. 
           The Lissau contention: Republican 8th District nominee Joe Walsh had a condo repossessed by a bank. If elected, he would sully the pristine corridors of the U. S. House trod by such luminaries as… 
           Ex-Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) who resigned his chairmanship for accepting corporate trips and who is being probed for cheating on his taxes…ex-Rep. Randall (Duke) Cunningham (R-Calif.) now in federal prison for bribery…ex-Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) convicted for not explaining $90,000 in bribes found in his freezer at home…ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) who had to resign for writing sexually explicit notes to a 16-year-old male page… 
           …ex- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), still under indictment in Texas for money laundering and conspiracy to engage in money laundering…Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY)who announced last week he won’t run for a 2nd term for health reasons, aggravated by the possibility of being sued for sexual harassment by a male aide…and Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. still in the House and who has announced he is cooperating with federal prosecutors in a probe to determine if he offered to swap fund-raising help to ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in return for Blago’s naming him to Barack Obama’s Senate seat.    
          Clearly in comparison to that bipartisan list of multi-millionaires, Walsh, a poor man who supports his wife and 5 kids on $40,000 plus, wouldn’t naturally belong. Were I he I wouldn’t want to belong. But I’m glad there are patriots who don’t mind serving there. 
           But listen: To reporter Lissau it is incongruous …that Walsh who stresses prudent spending and taxation in federal affairs…joins this list. Rewrite: Make that headline Incongruous that poor man  Walsh belongs in Congress.   The Daily Herald’s clear choice to continue to represent the 8th …and a candidate the paper has supported in the past…Democrat Melissa Bean either serves or has served with the above celebrities.   
                                Lissau’s Breathless Journalistic Style. 
           Obviously there is no scandal in a poor man losing a condo to a bank in a deep recession—but with his breathless journalistic style, Lissau makes it appear so.  In yesterday’s Daily Herald installment, headlined… 
           What Next for Walsh?  GOP Unsure How Foreclosure Will Play… 
         …Lissau interviewed the immediate past chairman of Lake county, Dan Venturi, who said he wasn’t sure. Venturi’s successor whom Lissau didn’t bother to interview, thinks people will accept Walsh all right.  But as the current chairman he’s not news, Herald-style.   
           The teaser: Let’s wait for tomorrow, folks: buy The Herald and see whether poor man Walsh can sell his case to the 8th district!  
           A journalist myself who started in the profession 57 years ago, I am deeply stirred by,  and admiring of, Lissau’s tabloid style. It hearkens back to the old days I remember as a boy: Hearst, the old Chicago Times, the old Chicago Herald, the old Chicago Herald-Examiner. So I checked up and find that on the side…I kid you not…Russell Lissau writes scripts for Batman comics…you know, the pulp kids or adults who are kids at heart read.  
           That’s why Lissau’s style is so familiar.  I’ve read it in Batman for years!  “Com’on, Robin: we’ve got to clear up crime in Gotham City!”  
           Now for comparison, get this lede (aka as “lead”) or the first sentence bylined by Lissau in yesterday’s installment 2:

            “Will this week’s revelation [sic] that Republican congressional candidate Joe Walsh lost a condominium to foreclosure affect his political chances in November?”   
             This “revelation” comes from perusing dusty records in the Cook county Recorder’s office.  But get the verve, the dash.  It is zinging and understandably so…since Lissau has been for five years a moonlighting free-lancing script-writer for DC Comics’ The Batman Strikes! 
              I suppose by Lissau’s standards for this revelation I ought to be awarded a variant of Gotham City trophy conferred by The Gotham City Globe or The Gotham City Gazette which in the strip regularly credits the Caped Crusader for uncovering action scripts.  But I will decline the Gotham City variant of Pulitzer. I got the stuff by googling it.   
              The story of Lissau’s fun days as Batman scriptwriter is detailed in of October, 2007. 
               Lissau should get something too for writing prose about Walsh’s poverty that crackles with enthusiasm for the hunt.  I can see him now grabbing the phone…rattling machine-gun style to the rapt female operator…Hi, sweetheart, get me re-write!  (Pause). Rewrite?  Lissau here.  Ready?  Here goes: `Will this week’s revelation’do you have that…no revelation—r-e-v-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-that Republican congressional candidate Joe Walsh W-a-l-s-h lost a condominium to foreclosure affect his political chances in November?’ Huh?  C-o-n-d-o-m-i…aw look it up will ya…either that or make it ‘condo.’!” 
              As Lissau gave Walsh’s background, so will I his. He’s a lifelong comic book reader and still owns the first two superhero comics he ever got.  One day at his job he had a wonderful idea for a Superman story. “It just popped into my head like an epiphany.”  Epiphany: The revelation that God has been made man in the personage of Jesus Christ.  But that isn’t what Lissau means. Well his idea was turned down but Lissau didn’t give up. He got an idea for Batman and as The Dark Knight himself would say “Robin, let’s vow that tonight we’ll get The Joker or die trying!” 
              So tomorrow, buy The Herald, pulp edition, to read The Caped Crusader’s ghost-writer and scenarist tell you in installment #3 if poor man Joe Walsh who’s never spent a nickel that wasn’t private sector originated can convince voters that he belongs in the same chamber…looking up at the rostrum which is presided over by the little lady from San Francisco wielding the big gavel her hubby rented for her.    
             If scenarist Lissau and his Herald bosses have their way, Poor Man Walsh will be disqualified from joining that group…and that the 8th will continue to be represented by Melissa Bean.   
              Nancy Pelosi and Melissa Bean: the Dynamic Duo. 
              Somehow I think the voters have had enough of them. This year they have a chance to get rid of one (not Pelosi who represents the farthest Left district in the nation).   In a few weeks it is entirely likely…nay almost a certainty…that the 8th  district of Illinois will in the personage of Mme. Bean vote to encase 1/6th of the nation’s economy…the finest health care system in the world…in the federal gulag.  
              A Bat idea.     
       *: St. John Joseph of the Cross [AD 1654-1739]. He was born Carlo Gaetano Alosirto on the island of Ischia, off Naples to a moderately well-to-do family of seven sons. One day two Spanish Franciscan friars came begging to the home of Madonna Laura, Carlo’s mother. They signed up young Carlo then only 16 but who was well-schooled in self-abnegation and mental prayer.  He took the name of John Joseph of the Cross. The monks were engaged in building a monastery at Piedimonte di Alife and enlisted the young monk, a deacon, to take on most of the labor. Happily he did so, hauling stone and developing a skill at carpentry and building. 
          But that happy life as an artisan was interrupted when his Superior ordered him to become a priest at the tender age of 23. He undertook to build near the completed monastery a series of little hermitages for retreats and reflection and completed the task. Then he was ordered to undertake the difficult task of novice-master.  During that time he experienced a great spiritual aridity similar to that which burdened Mother Teresa of Calcutta. But he persevered and several times he was recalled to service as novice-master.  It was at the second term as novice-master that John Joseph of the Cross became aware that he was being invested with some miraculous powers. He kept quiet about them but soon these gifts were perceived—the power of healing…the power to produce food and multiply it for the house.

         He was ordered to be Superior at Piedimonte where his acclaim spread. Years passed and the miracles plus healing advanced producing a fame that quite irritated John Joseph. Enduring a stroke, unable to hobble except with a cane, he was greeted by crowds chanting his name and asking for healing. The multiplicity of miracles embarrassed John Joseph and he sought to hide them. One day on the Feast of St. Januarius, he went to the local cathedral to pray at the saint’s relic.  As he struggled to push his way through the crowd of admirers inside the cathedral, the cane fell from his hand, was trod over by the crowd. He was unable to walk without it.   But the cane had somehow unaccountably disappeared. 
        The crowd looked for it but in vain. Immobilized, John Joseph appealed to the saint at whose bier he was rooted and suddenly he was transported…no other way to say it…outside…as a veritable  flying monk…, over the heads of the crowd, to the door of the Cathedral where he sat to catch his breath.   He was wondering how in the world he was going to walk back to his monastery.   
          Then the crowd inside the cathedral cried out so loudly that John Joseph could easily hear them: “A miracle!  A miracle!”  John Joseph wondered what was going on but soon he discovered why. The cane came flying out the door, riding 4 feet over their heads, arched, lowered and tapped old John Joseph lightly with its handle and waited for him to grasp it firmly. Surrounded by the crowds, John Joseph trod slowly back to the monastery. There some years later he died after a violent apoplectic seizure at the age of 80.  He is buried at Santa Lucia del Monte in the plain brown Franciscan habit he wore—and his tomb immediately became a popular place of pilgrimage.  He was canonized in 1839.   

1 comment:

  1. This is by far not the biggest problem that I have with this piece of 'writing,' but: in what way is 'revelation' a misspelling? According to the OED, it's just fine.