More lipstick on the pig of Fountain Street as Gatehouse Media continues to downsize The Urinal.
BlowJo Executive Editor David Butler, who will obviously say anything to anybody with a straight face, took to The Other Paper’s front page on June 6 with a “Note to our (remaining) readers” to inform his audience of exciting (honk!) new changes to Little Rhody’s organ of record.
The showcase of this earthshaking change was that the Business section would now be the cover of the paper’s third section three days a week, saying “(t)he move out of the A section will give local business and economy stories greater visibility and prominence.” Well, perhaps Mr. Butler might have chosen a better day to make his pitch for this new commerce-centric shift by his rag.
While section three that day did indeed have business news featured on its “cover” with a story on aquaculture, local titans of industry eager to sink their teeth into this hinted-at meaty approach to big business may have been disappointed when they turned the page to find that was case closed for the economic info. After the one page that Business occupied on a flimsy piece of newsprint folded over to form four pages — not even enough to light a fire with — the remaining pages 2, 3 and 4 devoted to such economy-oriented material as advice columns, puzzles and the daily horoscope (page 2); TV listings (all of page 3) and the daily comics (all of page 4). Wow. Bow-wow!
This blatant oversell was part of that day’s lightweight content that has come to be a signature of The Incredible Shrinking Paper as it cuts back on staff. The full paper that day was equally impressive … as a fly swatter with about 19 pages of real content.
Perhaps Mr. Butler has some new ideas about how to sell the fact that at $2 per copy, The BlowJo is now charging more than 10 cents per vapid page for its awesome news coverage. And you thought pay toilets are an insult to the public.
Suggestion: Read Motif instead, even if it does take more than 10 minutes.
Muhammad Ali was a boyhood idol and hero of Phillipe and Jorge, and invoked frequently as a short duration personal savior as the years rolled along. There is not much P&J can add to what has already been said about “The Greatest” except that he was just that, one of the most courageous and inspiring people in our lifetime. We were teenagers in February 1964, a month that, upon reflection, changed the world in so many ways. That month, the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight champion of the world. The day after his victory, he announced that he was a member of the Nation of Islam and his name was now “Muhammad Ali.”
One of the most famous of his lines quoted on TV and in print from the usual gang of chattering idiots who became instant Ali BFFs upon his death was from the incident when Ali refused induction into the US Army, saying, “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” The sheer simplicity of the logic — and rightheaded thinking behind it — became an undertone of many young people’s view of this absurd and inevitably unwinnable war.
But the line about his turning down the offer to head off to Viet Nam, and easily the most sharp-edged and potent, was one that was shunted behind the curtain by almost all the mass media P&J encountered, with the exception of Sports Illustrated, when Muhammad declared at the time, “No Viet Cong ever called me ‘nigger.’”
This political correctness is indescribably lame, but this is just PC America at its worst. Perhaps its utter truth, and what it said about America at the time, was a little too close to the bone for the desperate, scared-to-offend milquetoasts that masquerade as journalists these days.
Ali was drawing on his experience growing up not just in the South, but what he saw nationwide. At its core was an accusation demanding accountability and an attack on the hypocrisy of racial discrimination in a country that was obviously just mouthing the words to that sad song. Despite the widespread admiration of the heavyweight champ, the majority of Americans then still longed for that Great White Hope who could shut up that uppity boy — never mind a black Muslim who didn’t worship “our” God.
Muhammad Ali showed he had the ability to win over the hearts of teenagers not just through dazzling skills that could shine through any cloud, but whose eyes were opened to whatever that war it was we were fighting somewhere we couldn’t find on the map, and prompted the simple and innocent question of Why?
“No Viet Cong ever called me ‘nigger.’” Poetry even more poignant than “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” A man for all seasons, and situations, who will be remembered and admired forever. Thanks for showing the way, champ.
Summer Solstice Festival in Cumberland