Back at it.

I confess: I spent too much time on Sunday picking a Mitch Albom column apart like some insane vulture, then decided (after a workout) that I really need to stop doing stuff like that. Direct your energies in productive directions! NO ONE CARES! That said, the column drove me insane. Because it was lazy and dumb and full of stupid usage errors. It’s about a 90-year-old federal judge, a local legend who stood up to both the Nixon and Bush 43 administrations, intersecting with every significant political and civil-rights career of the 20th century in the process. Only he doesn’t really tell you that, because he’s too busy painting word pictures like this:

“Hey, how you been?” Damon Keith will exclaim, his voice high and reedy and sounding like an excited kid permanently on the edge of discovery. It is not an authoritarian voice, not a James Earl Jones boom — not, perhaps, what you expect from a judge. Which is perfect. Because his whole life, Damon Keith has been defying stereotypes.

“Articulate” is inevitably applied to African Americans who don’t employ the usage and syntax of rappers. Corollary rule: The actual tone and timbre of their voices must be compared to either James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman.

Also, “authoritarian” is a very different word from “authoritative.” You could look it up.

But I will stop with that. Because this isn’t healthy, for any of us.

As I guess some of you have figured by now, we took a couple of days off and the Nall-Derringer Co-Prosperity Sphere took off for Chicago. The visit to the University-of was mainly an excuse; I said I wanted to blow town for somewhere, anywhere, and wherever we went, we’d visit an institution of higher learning, to get the kid thinking on the subject, and that it did. UChicago, as it’s branded, would likely be on her reach list, but it’s worth the reach, in my opinion. She fears it would be four years of grind, but she did like the place. The curriculum of core subjects complemented with electives and major courses pretty much matches exactly what I think college should be, but then, I’m not the one who would be attending.

If nothing else, it was a good way to spend a snowy morning. Best moment of the trip: One of the kids in our sub-section was wearing a high-school letter jacket from a school in Arizona, festooned with patches that suggest he is a decorated football player. We entered the athletic facility and gathered in the trophy area for the guide’s spiel, a moment at which I was closer to an actual Heisman Trophy than ever before. The kid’s father asked, “Do the football players have their own gym?” Answer: No. He looked astounded, which astounds me. If the kid’s smart enough to get into UChicago and they traveled all that way, you’d think his father would know it’s not a football factory. Maybe their next stop will be Notre Dame, but unless the kid’s a place kicker, I don’t think he has the size for them.

Oh, well.

Apologies if I didn’t call you when I was in town, and I’m looking at you, Borden. And John. And others. The only people outside my family I got together with were Eric Zorn and Neil Steinberg, columnists for the Tribune and Sun-Times, respectively, because Eric once said I should do that the next time I’m in town. We didn’t have time for lunch but we did have a beverage on Navy Pier after the two did their Friday radio gig. I reflected, once again, that the newspaper business might have been cruel from time to time, but I don’t regret many days I spent working in it, because when it was good, it was like sitting there on Navy Pier, talking about this and that with a couple of smart guys. Fun.

Which seems as good a time as any to segue to this item, which Jim Romenesko calls, with understatement, the most incredible newspaper apology ever:

The Cherokee Scout in Murphy N.C. apologized Friday for asking the local sheriff for the names of gun-permit holders and permit applicants. The paper calls its records request “a tremendous error in judgment” and apologizes to the sheriff for submitting it.

“We never meant to offend the wonderful people of this fine community,” says publisher David Brown.

Ugh. Times have changed.

Finally, the T-Lo red carpet also-rans. “Nothing says ‘Academy Award nominee’ like a dress that looks like a dirty dust ruffle.” Snerk.

And so the week is underway. I think I’ll watch a piece of my Valentine’s Day present — the entire, compleat, every-possible-minute collection of “Homicide: Life on the Street.” I can’t remember if Aunt Calpurnia ever gets hers.

Posted at 12:52 am in Media |
 

62 responses to “Back at it.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 26, 2013 at 7:10 am

    With Steve Allen’s last appearance as a nicely peculiar elderly man. That series had a little bit of everything. Enjoy!

  2. Deggjr said on February 26, 2013 at 7:39 am

    The University of Chicago plays Division III football. It’s an option for undersized high school players who aren’t ready to give up the game. I saw a University Athletic Association conference game once and the crowd was only parents and girlfriends. The players themselves took the game very seriously and played hard.

    Robert Hutchins was the university president who ended the football program for awhile. He supposedly said: “There are two ways to have a great university. It must either have a great football team, or a great president”.

  3. Jeff Borden said on February 26, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I forgive you. This time.

  4. alex said on February 26, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Didn’t the News-Sentinel threaten to publish the names of all gun owners in Allen County one time because the list was a matter of public record? This must have been ten or fifteen years ago, I’m thinking, and there was quite a backlash back then.

    I thought it was a good idea. If I’d had children, I’d sure as hell want to know whether they were hanging out in a home where guns were present and possibly unsecured.

    What I remember in particular were the statistics that were released at the time with regard to local gun owners. The average height and weight of an Allen County gun owner was something like 5’5″ and 250 pounds, the very picture of a piss-ant with a chip on his shoulder.

  5. beb said on February 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

    One of the things I hate about the Detroit Free Press’ webpage, well, everything about it actually, but I find their section of columnists especially annoying because a) they have more sports columnists than anything else and b) no matter how old Albom’s column is it’s always the first item on their list. How about some rotation, huh?

    In the couple paragraphs that you shared with us we accursed Albom of racism (articulate), of burying the lede, misusing the English language, and racism again for comparing Judge Keith’s voice to James Earl Jones.

    I’d say you don’t need to go farther, you’ve already nailed his hide to the wall quite expertly.

    I thought Jane Fonda and Queen Latifah rocked the red carpet with simple yet elegant gowns. I think way to many of the other ladies that night were engulfed in their dresses. Oddly, I thought one of the best dresses was also one of the tackiest, the low, low, super-low front gown worn by Brandi Granville of “Real Wives of Beverly Hills.” ASide from the fact that a nip-slip was just a silly millimeter away the dress fit her, looked good on her, and clearly said, “I am here, baby, deal with it!”

    A state senator in Utah has introduced a bill to give (formerly) crazy a road back to owning guns. And in his posthumous biography, Bork claims that Nixon promised him a seat on the Supreme Court for firing the special prosecutor. Somehow I don’t think Bork needed to be bribed to do that, He’s just the kind of authoritarian mind to do it just because the president asked.

  6. nancy said on February 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Alex, you are living proof Jack Daniel’s doesn’t destroy memory. You recall correctly. For a while, it was a popular project for cash-strapped newspapers, as the gun-owner database could be purchased for the price of a decent lunch. The usual angle was to go through it and find well-known individuals with carry permits, many of whom were publicly liberal and pro-gun control — judges and politicians, mostly. A few papers dumped the whole database online and let people comb through it for their friends and neighbors.

    The news value was thin, but these days, it’s all about clicks, and clicks those things get.

    The N-S was about to do the same, but the gun nuts got wind of it ahead of time and buried the editor in screaming objections. She pulled the plug on it, and wrote a column about her decision that was only a few degrees shy of this level of groveling and bootlicking.

  7. nancy said on February 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Beb, I’m sure Albom’s place at the top of the columnists’ rotation is part of his contract. He’s taken weeks off at a time, and whatever the last thing he wrote was, it remains at the top of the list.

    I didn’t accuse MA of racism, and he never called the judge articulate. I just find it amusing that a black man’s voice is so often remarked upon in relation to its James-Earl-Jonesiness. Has anyone ever said that about a white guy? What does Antonin Scalia’s voice sound like? I honestly have no idea.

    I love how he throws that “perhaps” in there, which essentially washes his hands of his own observation. His voice is “not, perhaps, what you expect from a judge.” So if you don’t have preconceived ideas about what judges should sound like, hey, no biggie.

  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

    The University of Chicago was a founding member of the Big Ten. There’s still an academic thing called the CIC whose acronym I don’t recall and can’t be bothered to look up, which we worked with at the Newark Earthworks Center to do an academic conference, and they were/are the Big Ten land grant schools plus the University of Chicago, so there’s a number of odd strands tying them all together.

    And of course the first chain reaction, now marked with a Henry Moore sculpture, was under the north bleachers of the football stadium in a repurposed handball court. Amos Alonzo Stagg wasn’t thrilled, but national security trumps all.

  9. Peter said on February 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Jeff, CIC stands for the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and despite what some Big Ten sites will say, it was started well after the athletic part of the conference. U of C was invited as an original member of the Big Ten.

    For you trivia fans, Michigan State was the school selected to replace Chicago.

  10. brian stouder said on February 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

    That said, the column drove me insane.

    When Pam says that this or that or the other thing that I just did/said/stumbled upon “drives me crazy”, I never (ever) fail to reply with “and it’s a short drive”.

    And for some reason, this almost never gets a laugh!

    Just sayin’

  11. Eric Zorn said on February 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

    It was fun. Neil is one of the all-time great conversationalists and NN is even more blisteringly candid and amusing in person than on the blog page.
    What she didn’t say because it’s kind of embarrassing is that we had our beverages at the Billy Goat — but not the grungy, subterranean journalists’ hangout that inspired the SNL skit and has hosted many drunken, ink-stained fistfights. No, we met at the touristy knock-off Billy Goat out there by the WBEZ-FM studios on Navy Pier.
    To make the experience more authentic, then, Nance and I walked about a mile through the bitter winds.
    True enough that UChicago isn’t a party school. But — and I say this as the father of a 2012 grad — students have more than enough fun there in the view of parents who are going into hock to pay the annual freight.
    Don’t know when “U of C” became “UChicago,” but it’s my suspicion that it roughly coincided with the rebranding of the University of Illinois, CHicago Circle Campus (informally “Circle”) as University of Illinois at Chicago (informally “UIC.”) “U of C” sounds enough like “UIC” to sow confusion and, let’s be honest, inspire a bit of preemptive snobbery on the part of UChicago.
    Imagine if a commuter school in the Boston area opened up calling itself “Hovid.”
    My theory, anyway.

  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Peter, thanks!

  13. MichaelG said on February 26, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I love apologies. “Mistakes were made. I’m sorry for what happened. We need to move on and put this behind us.”

  14. Jeff Borden said on February 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I sincerely hope Nancy tries to have lunch with John Kass on her next venture into Chicago. He’s not in the same class as Mitchy, but damn, he is Johnny one-note and an irritating note it is, too. And his self-reverence is breathtaking.

  15. Bitter Scribe said on February 26, 2013 at 10:46 am

    If I can pick up something from yesterday: I was astonished at the idea that anyone could hate Anne Hathaway. Now I know better.

  16. Heather said on February 26, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I would have loved to see you, Nancy, and I owe you at least a drink for last time, but I knew your schedule was probably pretty full. I’m glad you had a good visit! I don’t get down to Hyde Park often, but I did go ice skating on the Midway Plaisance in January for my birthday–a nice setting for it. We also stopped at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, which made me realize how much I miss independent bookstores with an intellectual and literary bent.

    Having slogged down to the WBEZ studios on Navy Pier in inclement weather more than once myself, I can attest to those authentic bitter winds.

  17. Mark P said on February 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Murphy is a small town, and, let’s face it, in a small town the newspaper stays in business by not offending too many advertisers, and that usually means not offending too many shouters. The paper in my hometown (Rome, Ga) is pretty much an organ of the chamber of commerce. They promote business over clean air, any road project anyone names, and selling public land for private development. And they are bankrupt. They stay in business by charging ridiculously high rates for things like obits and legal notices. Their rates for my mother’s obit last week was about twice what it was for the Chattanooga TFP.

  18. Charlotte said on February 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

    We used to feel very smug at Beloit when we beat UChicago in football — we might not have been able to get in, but damn if we didn’t have the finest half-time kazoo band in the league.
    And wee tiny Beloit college sent a kid to the NFL last year (a good thing?) — Derek Carrier. Looks like he signed with the Eagles.

  19. Jolene said on February 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Heads up re a potentially interesting (but very long) show on PBS this evening. It’s called Makers: Women Who Make America and concerns the role of women over time. Mostly short interviews and short historical clips, I think.

    http://www.pbs.org/makers/home/

    It’s three hours long, so, if you have a DVR, this would be a reason to use it. The NYT has a pretty favorable review.
    http://tv.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/arts/television/makers-women-who-make-america-on-pbs.html?ref=television

  20. brian stouder said on February 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Well, I made more than three paragraphs into that Salon thing before ejecting.

    I can’t decide if it’s closer to a load of horseshit, or a steaming pile of bullshit…and this is no small distinction:

    http://click.mail.advantagebusinessmedia.com/?qs=43dfb7d13c61943457e17544da077cc958a4edfe61efc619572d4e2627f00b9a

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African food scientists say there is water buffalo, donkey and goat meat in mislabeled South African foods including beef burgers and sausages…..

    The study found soya and gluten were not labeled in 28 percent of products tested, undeclared pork in 37 percent and chicken in 23 percent. Co-author Professor Louwrens C. Hoffman says Tuesday that “This study confirms that the mislabeling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labeling regulations but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts.” He says no horse meat was found.

    Hey look! No hosre meat!

  21. brian stouder said on February 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    and – no horse meat, either

  22. Catherine said on February 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the TLo link. Today’s word of the day is “titbow.”

  23. Peter said on February 26, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Bitter, I’m astonished about the Hathahaters as well. I think she’s so good that I’ll even see Les Miz – although it will probably be from Redbox and I’ll have the mute button handy.

    I’d write bad checks for that woman.

    And she’s not perfect – I mean, you have to have a few screws loose to be in love with Krusty.

  24. adrianne said on February 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks to the Journal News, the Gannett publication in Westchester County, NY, we here in the Fourth Estate are getting incredible blowback from their decision to publish a map of gun permit owners in the Hudson Valley. They’ve had reporters and editors being threatened – even a SUNY New Paltz professor who was quoted in a New York Times story about it got a voicemail with gunshots on it – and it led directly to another curtailment of public records in New York’s new gun control law. Basically, lawmakers allowed anyone with a gun permit to exempt themselves from public disclosure. It’s nuts.

  25. jwfromnj said on February 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Nowadays (is that a word) newspapers stick to the tried and true and subsized by vendors OM fuckin god that isn’t red snapper, it’s lane snapper features. And in reality it’s all the same, and here in florid-uh lane snapper and mangrove snapper are all good. I try to find pineapple snapper. But it’s all a news story packaged to go for anytown usa newspapers. If you can’t tell tiliapia from Chilean sea bass, which isn’t sea bass at all but Patagonian toothfish, then you should steer far away from the seafood aisle. We watched a fascinating show about the largest pollack fishing ship that works for Mickey d’s. 380-feet long, 90 employees in the fact ory. They make stuff for mickey d, plus roe for Japan which their biggest profit margin, and bags of fertilizer from tthe bones, skin, etc. If I could get a job cooking on a ship like that I’d never come home, find a girlfriend in dutch harbor. My wife would give me gas money to get rid of my ass.

  26. Prospero said on February 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    RE the dresses: Melissa McCarthy, have a chat with Latifah, who looked amazing. I decided to skip the show whent Seth Rogen was announced as the host. I like the dirty, stupid pleasures of family guy as much as the next inner eight year old, but that crap he pulled out for Quevenzhane Wallis should have gotten him booed off the stage.Being sophomoric is one thing but sexualizing a nine year old girl as he did with his boorish comments is egregious behavior.Also, Shirley Bassey? Damn lady. Also, Sandra Bullock’s dress looked like somebody stole curtains from the Psycho set. And I saw photos of Charlize Theron on the T-Lo site. Gotamighty that woman is gorgeous. And Jane Fonda looks maahvelous for 90 or whatever she is now.

    Nancy, I thoroughly enjoy your dissecti0ns of Mitch, and would hate the thought of never reading another. Bastard deserves it. And remember, one of the funniest things ever written is Mark Twain’s discussion of Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses. I thought he used “transgressions” which would be even funnier, but I must have misrembered.

    Gods be thanked, it finally stopped raining here.It was fearsome, and we are left with standing water everywhere. Good thing it’s not spring yet or we’d have to be sleeping under mosquito nets. Schools have been closed in SC and NC, probably because of a horrendous storm-related schoolbus crash that killed a kid and put another 14 in the hospital. We were both under the weather and wouldn’t have gone out even wiithout the rain, but the windows are all wide open to dispel the St. James infirmary malaise.

    Properly prepared goat meet is pretty tasty and is common for barbecue in the south, and I imagine water buffalo steaks and roasts might be tasty, but I wouldn’t eat any part of a zebra in any circumstance. Too beautiful, and besides, that’s catfood.

    The vituperation about Anne Hathaway on the internets is puzzling. No diva stories and real talent. She seems as down0to-earth as anybody in the movie business.

    Chicago did used to play football and once had the best player in the country, Jay Berwanger. I think they stopped playing for a time and resumed, but I could be wrong about that.

  27. 4dbirds said on February 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I like Anne Hathaway and I like Jennifer Lawrence. I watched Winters Bone and the Burning Plain this weekend. Jennifer Lawrence is good and I haven’t seen Silver Linings … yet, but I think she’s playing the same character in these movies. Older sister, taking on part of the parent’s responsibility, carrying a grudge, soldiering on.

  28. adrianne said on February 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Hey, minutes after I posted about the gun blowback, Poynter Institute does a story on our story in the Times Herald-Record today.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.poynter.org/category/latest-news/mediawire/

  29. Julie Robinson said on February 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Love the TLo takedown of Helena Bonham Carter: “We’ve seen better from you, Missie. Your hair’s a fright and your dress looks like a pile of laundry”. Vulture also had some good snark in this series of photos: http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/best-frozen-moments-of-the-2013-oscars.html?mid=facebook_vulture

    Jolene, I just finished reading a story about Makers, and will definitely be recording it. We cannot forget.

  30. Dexter said on February 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I used to go to the Billy Goat Tavern once in a while for a beer and a cheeseburger in the hopes of seeing Mike Royko, but I always missed him.
    I found this video of Royko in his element, having a smoke and a brew and holding court , discussing softball in the place.
    This is for Zorn and anyone else who remembers Royko and The old Billy Goat of 1982.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPbp3vMDzQ8&feature=player_embedded

  31. Jeff Borden said on February 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Dexter,

    If it was late in his career, you’re probably lucky you didn’t run into Mike Royko. One of my colleagues who was a Filipino almost got into a fist-fight with Mr. R after the esteemed columnist called him “a Jap” at the Billy Goat. He was drunk, of course, but still. He slurred Mexican-Americans to such an extent in his columns that there were pickets outside Tribune Tower. And then there was the time he was arrested for DUI on his way home to the North Shore and was recorded hurling horrible homophobic insults at the coppers. When he was great, he was really great and “Boss” is as good a view of unvarnished power politics as you’ll ever read. I count myself a fan and admirer who owns several collections of his columns. But his last few years were kind of ugly and disheartening.

  32. Prospero said on February 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    The most ridiculous argument against newspapers publishing gun licensing records is thaat criminals would use the information to target gun owners for theft of their guns. What? You have the guns to protect yourselves don’t you?

    Interesting piece on UChicago football.

    Why does Helena Bonham Carter do that to her hair. Of course, her husband has pretty much the same hairstyle, but somewhat shorter. Sill, Carter and Tim Burton are a ridiculously rich movie bidness couple, so the punkgoth shit is a little difficult to put up with. She looks like she used a Waring product to get that effect.

    There was an Irish bar in the South End in Boston that was our usual, just around the corner from our condo, where the great George Kimball held court, and he brought Charles Pierce with him when he got Pierce a job on the Boston Phoenix. aThe two made for an uproarious pair of derinking buddies. A few years later Matt’s was sold and refasioned as a cowboy-themed gay bar. That Royko tape is a classic, Dexter.positively made my day. Sad thing about Royke these days is the wannabes like the primo ahole Johm Kass and Mike Barnacle who got run out of Boston for writing the same fabricated story over and over, and for not knowing how to spell his own surname.

  33. Prospero said on February 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Detectable nipples are not all that uncommon with these dresses. Is that what all the brouhaha is about?

    And really, you’d think mre people would be up in arms about the Onion tweet in which a little girl was called a cunt. No more page hits for me at the Onion for a while at least.

    http://socialreader.com/me/channels/35798/content/nZddM?_p=trending

  34. Dexter said on February 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    JBo, thanks for the insight. I remember reading about the DUI.
    Mike Royko died young, at age 64. Still, I would prefer going like that , relatively quickly, than go through what Trib columnist and novelist Bill Granger endured…ten years in the Manteno Veterans Home, debilitated by strokes and finally succumbing to a heart attack last April at age seventy.
    Granger, who wrote novels as “Joe Gash” , last wrote thirteen years ago and has been mostly forgotten by the newspaper-reading public, but if there’s a Chicago Writer’s Hall of Fame, both these guys are right there, or should be. If there is or is not, I think the place should be named “The Nelson Algren Chicago Writer’s Hall of Fame.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5E8MOkx554

  35. Bitter Scribe said on February 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Jeff Borden: Word. As great as Royko was, he became an embarrassment in his final years. The Tribune was lucky he died when he did.

    Also, he apparently was notorious for starting fights and not finishing them, because he was drunk and/or couldn’t punch his way out of a paper bag.

  36. Dorothy said on February 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Prospero you have your Seths wrong. Which perplexes me because you referenced Family Guy. The host of the Oscars was NOT Seth Rogen. It was Seth MacFarlane.

  37. Minnie said on February 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Regarding Hathahate,I’m just not interested enough in celebrities to feel strong emotion when it’s revealed that they are – shock! – ambitious. So long as they aren’t destroying innocents (reprehensible) or themselves (pitiable), what they do doesn’t register at any depth. Of course they appear more gracious if they can convincingly fake sincerity and humility, but being on constant display would wear thin for most people.

    Have to admit that Ann gets points with me for her short hair. It’s a relief in this age of mermaid hair, as TLo refer to it.

  38. Lex said on February 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I have some insight into the newspaper apology incident that is showing up only very deep in the comment thread at Romenesko and the newspaper’s facebook page.

    First, my family has lived in North Carolina since before the 1770s, and I’ve had relatives either in or near Cherokee County pretty much the whole time. Corruption is rampant in the mountains; it predates the white-likker bidness that birthed NASCAR. Hell, when North Carolina seceded from the Union, parts of the mountains tried to secede from North Carolina. It’s just a different world up there.

    Second, because North Carolina is a “shall issue” state with regard to concealed-carry permits, that means absent a legal reason, the sheriff’s department has to give you one. The Cherokee Scout had reason to believe the department wasn’t doing its job. That’s a legitimate story at any paper.

    Third, the Scout published two letters of apology a couple of days apart. I want you to compare the first, published on 2/21, with the second, published two days later, and then I want you to ask yourself: What might have happened after the first letter to have resulted in the same outfit publishing the second. And if you say “threat of an advertising boycott,” you lose and we have no valuable parting gift for you.

    Now, as Nance and a couple of others here know, I’m as hard-core as they come on open records, corrupt officials and so on. But you need to understand something. The difference even between urban Guilford County, N.C., where I live, and Cherokee County is about like the difference between midtown Manhattan and Mogadishu. I sneaked into Klan rallies in Iredell County in the mid-1980s with a pistol in my boot, and even I wouldn’t go up there alone to try to do a story on the sheriff’s department. And every single State Bureau of Investigation record is specifically exempted from what is otherwise a pretty good state Open Records Act — because the politicians need at least one rug to sweep stuff under.

    The editor and publisher need help from the feds, and I’ve privately advised them whom to call to try to get it. It’s all a big laugh/outrage/mocking target on Romenesko, and if it were happening in Detroit or Atlanta or Charlotte, I’d be outraged and laughing and mocking as hard as anyone else. But these two guys are in what amounts to a war zone, and they can’t call in artillery or air strikes if they get in any more trouble.

    Now that Warren Buffett has bought every daily between Hickory and Greensboro (and if he’s as smart as I think he is, he’s negotiating for High Point and Durham as well), maybe a BH Media strike force could swoop into Cherokee County and start turning over rocks just to see what crawls out, accompanied by armed security if need be. Or maybe everybody who reads this could write the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and request copies of its CCP records. Maybe some of you have the wherewithal to have a lawyer write a letter backing up your request.

    But understand that this was not a craven publisher caving to bullying public officials. This was a guy who might well have been buying time to get his wife and kids out of the state.

    • nancy said on February 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      That is an amazing pair of letters. Someone wrote the second with, perhaps literally, a gun to his head.

  39. Bitter Scribe said on February 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Dorothy @36: It’s a natural mistake. Both Seths are unfunny, annoying and inexplicably successful.

  40. MarkH said on February 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Dorothy @36: “Forget it. He’s rolling”.

    Otherwise, what Bitter Scribe said above. Although I give MacFarlane the edge.

  41. Prospero said on February 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    John Doe’s birthday. Great rocker.

    Well it true that Mr. mcFarlane is not nearly as physically repulsive as Mr. Rogen. He also doesn’t reach nearly the same depth of cretinism and is capable of being funny at times. Seth Rogen is not. I do know the difference and typed the wrong name by not thinking about it for a minute.

    I can picture Wayno Lapierre on an insamne tear were the Justice Department to demand access to those gun records in NC, but there is little doubt the second letter was written under duress, probably by some shithouse loony good old boys the sheriff gave the gun licenses to when he knew they were nuts. if he wanted to retain an appearance of legitimacy by not making the threaats himself. This sounds like Phenix City Alabama back in the day. Obviously any reasonable person would conclude there is legitimate reason for federal law enforcement involvement. But a large number of Americans will go absolutely wild if that happens.

  42. Lex said on February 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Nance, re the newspaper story: Pretty much, I’m thinking.

    There is a bright side of sorts, however. The comment thread at BoingBoing is a helluva lot more entertaining than the one at Romenesko or the one on the paper’s Facebook page.

  43. brian stouder said on February 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Lex, that scraping apology is genuinely disturbing.

    Really, truly –it makes that region sound like an American Kurdistan (and I say this as one who lives in amongst many Hoosier Hezbollah-types). The old wisdom that people are pretty much the same around the world is much more true than many people might suspect.

    And now, I’m off to a public meeting at the new Carpet Bombing school….full report later

  44. coozledad said on February 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    nancy, Lex: Reading the comments from the “guns make you safer unless people know you have them” camp reminds me that these people have faith-based educations. Everything is a matter of religious apprehension of the natural world.
    They’re no different from a village of Waziris in that respect.

    At what point does someone decide they would rather inhabit a land of shadows or live in an occult society than just fucking lighten up and make an effort to be happy?

    I think we are already at war with these people, and it may come down to air strikes. They’ve already demonstrated a willingness to harbor an international terrorist(Rudolph), and we kill scores of innocents to get one of those fucks just about weekly. What’s the difference?

  45. Lex said on February 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    What’s the difference? That my mother has a house up that way for starters, and I haven’t had a chance yet to have the AAA installed.

  46. Dexter said on February 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I heard that Seth MacFarlane received killer numbers for his job on Sunday. When I was a kid we could see many comedians on TV…Sid Caesar, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Jackie Vernon, George Goebel and a hundred other big names, and I never heard so much hate come forth as has been directed at Seth MacFarlane. I hear people berating “Family Guy”, but when it was cancelled the fans of the show raised so much hell Fox brought it back. I can’t blame msm or lesser media outlets; here on this blog I read nothing but hate for MacFarlane.
    It puzzles me , because I loved his act Sunday night, I love “Family Guy” and all his other projects, and I put his genius right up there with the greats I listed in this post.
    So to each his own; I’ll continue to laugh at MacFarlane’s jokes as he rakes in the millions of dollars.

  47. coozledad said on February 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    The military keeps telling us they can limit collateral damage. I don’t believe them for a minute, but I’d like to see some consistency.

    It’s a rhetorical question, sure, but another answer is they’re primarily white. The Move, being black, warranted police bombings in a densely populated area of Philadelphia.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcLqR_UcyQw
    If they ever do start a war against the Klan, I’m in the northwest corner of Person county, a couple of minute’s walk from Caswell. If they send tomahawks in to annihilate a Klan wedding, chances are I’ll at least see the sheets drifting back to the ground.

  48. alex said on February 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Our Waziris want women to have wands up the yayhoo twice just to purchase Plan B. But I don’t think they’ll ever make the News-Sentinel apologize for not being right-wing enough. Those Carolina kin of theirs are some scary mofos.

  49. MarkH said on February 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Dexter @47 – In light of your post, I realize I may not have been clear in my post @41. When I say I give MacFarlane the edge, I meant it in a positive way. I can’t believe the shelf life Rogan has maintained. I liked most of what MacFarlane did Sunday night. He came off as smooth and wth just the right amount of polish. He punched out the envelope with some of his material, but overall, I found it refreshing and funny. The Shatner/Star Trek bit really straddled things, though. I’m not a fan of MacFarlane’s animated series so could not figure out what the fuss was about until I saw him on some interview shows and saw him convey his sense of humor.

    For a completely negative view of the Oscar telecast, did anyone tune in online to Nikki Finke’s rolling snarkfest at Deadline Hollywood that night? Here’s a link, it’s pretty deadly.

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/oscars-2013-live-coverage-commentary-nikki-finke-live-snarking/

    Didn’t realize Nikki and I are about the same age (60).

  50. MichaelG said on February 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Amazing pair of letters.

    I just looked at the Oscar runway pix. T-Lo is blocked at work. There is a celeb named Fan Bingbing? Seriously? Who is she? What does she do?

  51. Jolene said on February 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    The editor of the Cherokee Scout has resigned.
    http://jimromenesko.com/

  52. Jolene said on February 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    She’s a Chinese actress, MichaelG. Has been in some films that have been released in the US, though I didn’t see anything to indicate that she’d been nominated for anything at the Oscars. For more, look her up at imdb.com.

  53. Prospero said on February 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Most southern states have terroristic threat laws. Wonder if the Cherokee Co. sheriff’s department is investigating the terroristic threats that clearly have been made against the Cherokee Scout editor. Some how I figure the investigation is somewhat less than intensive.

  54. coozledad said on February 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    prospero: I’m not holding my breath. Pat McCrory is as spineless a piece of trash as you’re likely to find anywhere, and the legislature is majority Americans For Prosperity.

  55. MaryRC said on February 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Fan Bingbing has appeared at Cannes for the past few years and Tom & Lorenzo often feature her since she always looks stunning. I have no idea what movies she has starred in, but she can certainly wear a dress.

    http://lamutamu.com/2011/05/12/cannes-film-festival-2011-fan-bingbing/

  56. Deborah said on February 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I just binge watched the whole first season of Girls today. I had a weird thing happen at about 4 am this morning where I was dehydrated and went to the refrigerator only to find trader Joes Tangerine Juice to slake my thirst. After drinking a tumbler full I broke out in hives and had terrible indigestion. I couldn’t even lie down in my normal sleep position, it was not fun. I love the tangerine juice but no more for me.

  57. Jolene said on February 27, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Wow! “Can certainly wear a dress” is an understatement. Google “fan bingbing Cannes” for some remarkable pictures.

  58. Dexter said on February 27, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Seth MacFarlane is done with Oscar-hosting. Next year Pope Emeritus Benedict can have the gig. He should be restless enough by then to do something…I mean, once ya been in the spotlight…

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/seth-macfarlane-says-no-way-he-would-host-the-oscars-again/375396-8-67.html

  59. beb said on February 27, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Dexter @46: I remember a lot of the comedians you list and, yeah, they were good. But they also had an 8 pm act that was family friendly and a 10 pm act that was a bit raunchier. In fact, I remember seeing Red Skelton one year performing at Norte Dame;s football stadium. I was 8-10, the parents took the whole family. I was mortified by some of his skits because they seemed … crass. It was stuff he’d never do on television. It was probably just his 8 pm show stuff but even some of that was too adult for TV. What Macfarlane did was bring 10PM show material to prime time. Not everyone cared for that.

  60. Suzanne said on February 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    “Someone is always getting tripped up by their preconceived notions, by projecting their issues onto someone else’s.” Absolutely. I’ve seen it happen so so many times.

  61. Lex said on February 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Cooz @47: That probably does have something to do with it. Which is why I advised the publisher to contact the U.S. Attorney. That office has seen this kind of problem before. The stuff I was covering in the mid-1980s led to an undercover FBI operation, called (God, I always loved this) Operation Crossfire.

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