Sunday, December 18, 2005

Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of their blogs.

Although late to the game, I thought I'd comment on a topic that my betters in the local blogosphere have been on top of since early last week.

Blogging was a hot topic of coverage in the SJ-R this week, sparked by some gubernatorial campaign chicanery uncovered by Rich Miller at his Capitol Fax Blog site. This lead to an editorial that, among other things, cautioned readers as to the veracity of information that is found on blogs, and in doing so, held newspapers up to a greater light.

I wasn't initially taken aback by this stance. There is, after all, a lot of nonsense being posted on blogs. And, overall, I think that newspapers are a more trustworthy source of news. But after considering the matter further and reading the opinions of others, I do understand the minor blog-roar that erupted in reaction to the editorial.

The newspaper wasn't referring to the billions of blogs being run by pajama-clad conspiracy theorists and randy teenagers, they were addressing Capitol Fax specifically and other high-traffic, news-driven local blogs such as Abelog. When you also consider, as Dave at the Eleventh Hour points out, that the editorial fails to make the distinction between bloggers and those who post comments on blogs, a rather important distinction, then it's understandable why journalists such as Miller and Jim Leach would be offended. I read both blogs regularly, and while I don't always agree with their opinions, I've never come across anything in the content that they produce that was false or intentionally misleading.

In defense of the SJ-R, I do think that generally they give local bloggers a pretty fair shake. When I was researching blogs two years ago for a class assignment, I read all kinds disparaging remarks from newspaper people who had nothing but contempt for this new medium. One of my favorite columnists, the Sun Times' Neil Steinberg, regularly takes shots at what he considers a trite exercise in journalism. In comparison, the SJ-R comes across as cheerleaders for the home bloggers.

And if it seems that I'm kissing-up to our local daily because they included a quote from one of my posts in an article on food blogging last week, well, I never. I didn't even get credit for the quote since it originally appeared on Look Back Springfield where I'm known only as Dan. Probably just as well though. It's a rather sappy piece of drivel that laments the loss of a chicken sandwich. But in deference to you BlogFreeSpringfield completists, I've reproduced it in full below.

Thanks to Marie at Disarranging Mine for informing me that the SJ-R was cribbing my stuff.

Remembrance of Birds Past

When they remodeled White Oaks Mall in the early 90s to include a food court, an egregious offense was perpetrated on the people of Springfield, the ramifications of which are still being felt to this day. I speak of course of the elimination from our locality of the premiere fast food restaurant this country has produced: Chick-fil-A. This is my tribute, a love song if you will, to this dearly missed franchise.

For the true believer, there is no equal to the Chick-fil-A experience. Connoisseurs only differ as to their preference for the nuggets or the original chicken sandwich (the grilled chicken sandwich does not qualify and was meant only to appease those egotistical waifs who value their trim waistlines over all else.) The mixture of spices and the juicy tenderness of the chicken surpasses even that that can be found in the world’s finest bistros. Its ambrosial savoriness knows no equal.

chick fil a

How else is Chick-fil-A great? Their corporate fiat to remain closed on Sundays has taught temperance to a society overtaken by gluttony and selfishness. Their refusal to dabble in the ways of Angus beef demonstrates a single-minded approach to excellence, a quality often missing in a world driven only by profit.

As is often the case in these situations, I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone. In high school, a good friend rose to the ranks of assistant manager of Chick-fil-A and was granted the honor of closing the store on occasion. Here, presented to me by some otherworldly grace, was my Charlie in the Chocolate Factory opportunity. Yet I let it pass without attempting to discover the secrets of the franchise. Ah, the folly of youth.

A couple of years after returning to Springfield from college - wiser, more worldly - the opportunity to atone for my youthful indiscretions was short-lived as Chick-fil-A lowered its gate for the final time.

But fortune would again smile on me many years later when I started dating the woman who would become my wife. She was working in retail management at St. Claire Square in Fairview Heights, IL, a mall that is blessed to this day with a Chick-fil-A. I was a frequent visitor to their food court, grateful to again have access to the food that remained my mania. It was a glorious relationship, one that sadly ended when I gave the woman who reunited me with my true love a ring, and she moved to Chick-fil-A -less Springfield to become my wife.

St. Claire Square was also the scene of an event that left me questioning the egalitarian nature of man. One day, as I stood at the counter awaiting my usual order, a person exhibited the crudest, most base act of culinary malfeasance I have ever witnessed by ordering a chicken sandwich from the Hardee’s stand that was located right next to the venerable Chick-fil-A site. “Philistine! Get thee to a church and repent!”

In 2003, during a debate on AM Springfield, Sam Madonia asked the two mayoral candidates to name one business that they would strive to bring back to Springfield if elected; Tony Libri immediately spoke lovingly of Chick-fil-A. At that point, Libri could have come out for a double digit tax increase, mandatory state militia service, and prohibition - he still would have had my vote. The glow that emanated from his candidacy was only diminished when Tim Davlin seconded his adoration for the tastiest bird known to man, leaving the two in a virtual dead heat leading up to the general election.

Mayor Davlin has not come through on what I perceived as a promise to return Chick-fil-A to Springfield, devoting his time instead to such trivial matters as libraries and lawsuits.

On occasion, I still visit the mecca of my youth. My in-laws spend winters in Florida, a land rich in Chick-fil-A’s. A brother in Indianapolis lives just minutes from a freestanding outlet. But for the time being, my children will be forced to endure an existence without it. And for that, we are all the lesser.


Brendan said...

Would you be willing to post something from FreedomWorks, about the Cook County cigarette tax hike?

We are sending out an email action alert today.


Anonymous said...

I think they have a Chic fil A at Eastern university and IL ST Univ. Not far drives, especially up to Bloomington.