Opinion

A Brief (Or Lengthy?) History of Phillipe and Jorge: Your superior correspondents celebrate 40 years in print

It seems amazing, especially to your superior correspondents, that the Cool, Cool World entered its 41st consecutive year of publication with the advent of 2020. This is a record for a journalistic column in The Biggest Little, of which we are both proud and astounded.

If there is a key to Phillipe and Jorge’s success, we call on the legendary Urinal columnist and our longtime friend, Bob Kerr, who once wrote that P&J “had more of the truth and less of the facts.” We stand tall with pride. And he was right.

The Cool, Cool World was hatched around a table at the legendary Leo’s, full of lunatics and dozens of empty Rolling Rock beer bottles. Its inspiration came from the English news/satire magazine, Private Eye; and Alexander Cockburn’s “Press Clips” column in the once estimable and now defunct Village Voice. We used the oh-so-continental-sounding P&J personal monikers to cover our asses, while old pal and artist supreme Dan Gosch came up with the “Cool, Cool World” title.

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Since we knew our goal was to piss off people of the highest rank — we being just a couple of (well-informed) wiseasses — we decided to adopt the personas of gay men. This despite J’s girlfriend of the time telling the media, correctly, that we were hopelessly heterosexual. But that didn’t stop us from being very pleased to be named grand marshals of the (then “Gay”) Pride March in its earliest days, when the Providence police were trying desperately to ban the parade.

P&J started our run in the alternative media circuit with the brandy-new Providence Eagle in 1980. The Eagle probably became best known, especially in the journalism community, for publisher Vin Suprynowicz blowing a hole in his editor’s office ceiling with a shotgun when pressed for back pay owed. Those were the days.

We eventually moved on to The Newpaper, the Providence Phoenix and now to Motif. And we thank each and every abused editor and publisher we have dealt with for not leveling Vin’s double-barreled at our heads during that time. Or tomorrow, for that matter.

The public success of P&J in those days was due to the fact that we took on all comers who had never been attacked before: top government officials and the Urinal’s editorial board, to name a few. More than a once or twice, P’s bosses received phone calls from the governor, speaker of the house, and Urinal editorial page editor telling them to fire him. Fortunately, our superiors said what P or J did on their own time was their own business. Quite so. And in some cases, we became friends with the folks we terrorized (see Hackett, John, former editorial page editor of The Urinal, who eventually co-hosted a radio show with Jorge, with no hard feelings).

To give away a trade secret, the Phillipe and Jorge litmus test for political crookedness was quite simple: How loud did they scream when we revealed a few of their backroom machinations? Disgraced Governor Ed DiPrete and others of his ilk (say hi, Prince of Darkness Joe DeAngelis) went ballistic when we revealed some of their pranks, and they ended up in jail or under a cloud. But ‘”Captain Blowhard,” Governor Bruce Sundlun, looked at us as two wiseasses who weren’t worth his time, and would still invite us to his cocktail parties. And the Bud-I, the legendary Providence Mayor Buddy “Vincent A.” Cianci, would run into us at fundraisers and simply say, “You two guys are assholes. Lemme buy you a drink.” When the Bud-I was spending time at the government’s pleasure, P ended up corresponding with him, and it was rewarding.

And what always gave P&J a chuckle was how folks would say we had enough column fodder for centuries just by exposing State House stupidity or outright corruption, not knowing that much of the insider information we are given comes from Smith Hill staffers or reporters. Loose lips sink shits.

So we thank all of our readers for sticking in there for four decades plus. It ain’t been easy, but it sure has been fun. Our goal has always been to make the other one laugh, celebrate absurdity and eff-ya if you can’t take a joke. Hope it has been as much fun for you it has been for us.

This Is a Sport?

Phillipe and Jorge still cannot help cringing when the sport of cornhole comes up in any situation. For anyone over the age of 30, this is not only clueless, but also disgusting and cringe worthy. And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, ask your parents. (And wait to get slapped.)

So we were startled to see that there is now a professional cornhole league, for which we are sure the founders are quite proud. Who wouldn’t love to hear their kids break through the back door and shout, ‘’Hey Mom and Dad, I’m the best cornholer in the state.” Ooooh-kaaaay.

Since we appear to be going national with this abomination, which we assume is being sponsored by Ben Dover Enterprises, Phillipe and Jorge will gladly join in the excitement of turning pro. But in the upcoming Cornhole World Cup, with the grand prize being the Michael Jackson Trophy, we will be betting on the teams containing the most Catholic priests or Boy Scout leaders. Go with what you know, right?

Stuck in Third City

P&J can’t help but get the feeling that the world is becoming more and more like the late 1970s/1980s TV series “SCTV” (in its heyday, a much funnier show than “Saturday Night Live”). Where is Edith Prickley (the great Andrea Martin) when you really need her to run things? Instead, here in the Biggest Little we get Gina Raimondo and nationally it’s the Orange Monster. Let’s just hope things aren’t as grim as they look here in the Cool, Cool World.


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