I read both Detroit dailies every day, not every word but a lot of them, usually returning to the websites several times. I think the Freep may have lost me for good today. I don’t know what the print edition looks like, but you know what the lead story is on the website? (Underneath the Red Wings package, of course; I mean, the bankruptcy of the cornerstone of the underlying industry that supports a whole region might be news, but hey — priorities, people!)
A really stupid one.
One with lots of one-sentence paragraphs and
padding creative white space.
Oh, and a repetitive catch phrase, like a refrain, because you know Mitch is a songwriter, too.
It is: All fall down.
It’s hard for a newspaper to insult me, these days. I’ve gotten used to the degradation. I told my boss the other day, the one I farm news for, that the hardest thing about this job has been watching the steady decline of newspapers over the last three years. There was an oncology conference in Florida this week, a big one, that we were tracking for our clients. Monday’s Wall Street Journal and New York Times had several stories on the news coming out of it, about new cancer drugs and therapies. So I made sure to visit the website of the local paper, once one of the finest papers in the south, in search of stories. They had punted it to the AP.
But Mitch Albom writing about General Motors? That might just do it for me. I can’t even stand to take it apart for laughs, it’s so depressing and stupid. OK, one line:
We have each other.
What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?
Nothing like starting the first day of the rest of Michigan’s life on a high note, I always say.
I’m starting to like these one-sentence paragraphs. I think that extra white space really gives flaccid prose that extra oomph, don’t you think?
It’s sort of like the very short sentences in children’s books:
Look, Sally, look. Mitch is writing a column. See Mitch write. Write, Mitch, write. See Mitch write while he’s doing his radio show. Multi-task, Mitch, multi-task. Mitch is quoting the governor: Gov. Jennifer Granholm told me Monday on WJR. Synergy, Mitch, synergy.
OK, that’s not funny. Here’s what is: I’d be willing to bet a mortgage payment that Mitch makes at least $200K from his Free Press revenue stream, perhaps more. They could get Sweet Juniper for half that, the columns would be better, he’s shoot his own photos and show up in the office more. I know I’ve made this suggestion before, but it bears repeating.
Well. It’s a bad day in Michigan, innit? We are officially in free fall. I’m now working under the assumption we are capital-F you-know-what. For a while now, I’ve been asking old-timers, “Is this the worst recession you’ve seen in Michigan?” and they all say, “No, early ’80s were worse.” That was the “Roger & Me” downturn, the tent cities in Houston, the “Continental Drift” migration of the blue-collar working class to the south. They don’t say that anymore.
Fortunately, we still have the solace of television. Dexter posted this excellent interview with Vince Gilligan, creator of “Breaking Bad,” which just finished its second season. I was a little worried as the season began; whereas last year’s had a fairly constant undertone of comedy, year two dawned under dark, dark clouds. Gilligan faced the same problem David Chase did with “The Sopranos,” i.e., how do you make a show with an evil character at its heart and still make viewers want to tune in? I remember Chase saying at the time how frustrating he found it to hear viewers describe Tony as a nice guy, when he clearly wasn’t. I think the turning point for viewers came in that show’s second season, too, with the Scatino bust-out and subsequent whacking of Big Pussy. You really couldn’t hold on to your illusions after that.
Walt had more sympathy going for him; the guy had cancer, and his turn to meth cooking was initially because he felt he had to leave a grubstake behind for his family. So Gilligan had to rub our faces in the fact even a noble end doesn’t justify the evil means, and the first few episodes were so, so bleak. But Chase figured it out — when you need relief, turn to the other characters. And so we got buffoons like Paulie Walnuts and sweet, clueless Adriana to leaven Tony’s march into hell. Gilligan did, too, and found depth in the characters of Skyler and Jesse and even Hank the DEA agent. Jesse, Walt’s toddler-dressed accomplice, turns out to be the one who most regrets his actions, and his suicidal depression at the end of this season will be interesting to watch in the next.
And in the meantime, we have “True Blood” to look forward to, and then “Mad Men,” coming back in August. If we still have cable then, that is. You never know.
Not much bloggage on this depressing day, but what I have is amusing: my left armpit smells while my right one doesn’t. this isn’t even a shower issue, it smells right after a shower — Oversharers on Twitter. HT: Brother Jim.
Off to the gym. Because if only the strong survive, I want to at least be able to carry one of their suitcases.