Friday, September 01, 2006

A nice blog post where I don’t mention pedophiles, terrorism, or failed attempts to introduce a new word* into our collective lexicon of expletives.**

I wanted to write something on the less serious side since it's Friday. Based on the comments, none of you are taking my warning about the Red Hat Society seriously so you can all just sit idly by while they turn our town into a crime-infested sinkhole. So here are a few lighter items to start the Labor Day weekend. Enjoy it while you can because soon only red-topped women-of-a-certain-age will be allowed to attend the Ethnic Festival and the Rail Classic.

Congratulations to Pat Coburn, publisher of the SJ-R, on his retirement.

This should give you an idea of the kind of person Mr. Coburn is. Yesterday I sent him an email congratulating him on his retirement and thanking him again for allowing my work to be published in his paper.*** Although he obviously had to have been swamped what with preparing for his departure and assisting with the transition to a new publisher, he responded within a few hours. He even paid me a compliment in return. That will get you mentioned on BFS every time.

I know that some of you have a problem with our local paper at times, but it is an indispensable resource to our community.

Arthur Miller once said that “a GOOD newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” By this definition, if you substitute community for nation, Springfield is home to a very good daily.

There is no doubt that the SJ-R, more than any other source, leads the discussion among local media. Radio and television newscasts, talk radio, blogs (especially this blog) – all of them follow the SJ-R’s lead to a significant extent. Even the Illinois Times, which is positioned as the alternative press, owes them debt of gratitude, if for nothing else then for providing them a worthy nemesis.

The changes at the SJ-R during Coburn’s tenure have a lot to do with their ability to get the community talking. The most obvious is the increased emphasis on the letters-to-the-editor page, but the one that I think is even more important is allowing readers to comment directly to every online story. I’ve also appreciated his efforts in getting the newspaper staff involved in other public forums to share their expertise. Although it speaks unfavorably to my social life, the Bernie Schoenburg-hosted Capitol View program that runs on Friday nights is about as close to must-see as TV can be for me.

Everyone who has participated in, or even followed, the debate on profiling and the Muslim response to terrorism will receive four credit hours towards the master’s degree of their choosing. I’ve taken online courses at the graduate level and the level of discourse never reached the level it does here. Not only is it a rational and vigorous debate, the grammar is astounding for an online forum. The tone has also remained quite civil. Thank you Monkey Boy.

Russ at Springfield Rewind, who always does great work, has outdone himself with his current piece on White Oaks. He’s posted pictures from the hallowed mall’s past, along with articles published during its planning and construction. Just reading the list of original stores is enough to set your mind awash with memories. Huzzah, Russ.

Unspelled is asking us to delve into our pasts and into our psyches, and reveal some of our inner secrets as they relate to pop culture. All of the cool local bloggers are playing along and the 26th Man even revealed himself to be a huge Vanilla Ice fan.

* Remember crap tablet. That was going to make me a trendsetter in popular language and possibly be my entry into the OED. Thanks for nothing!

** I was going to use the headline “Odds and Ends”, but it reminded me of everything I hate about newsletters. You know, how they always have the clipart image of a stork next to the birth announcements and every other story ends with the line “a good time was had by all.” I especially hate the roses and thorns feature (A Rose to the wind, for being a friendly source of energy. A Thorn to John Ashcroft, for saying that thing he said a few years ago.)#

# I skewered the liberals with this example because they seem to be particularly fond of the rose/thorn device. Conservatives are much less metaphoric when dispensing with opinions and would probably prefer daggers to thorns if forced to choose.

*** Some of you will probably interpret my gracious tribute as brown-nosing. How crude. In response I can only say that I pity you your cynicism.


The 26th Man said...

Dammit, Dan, why'd you have to do that? I feel like I need to list all the cool bands in my CD collection to re-establish my indie cred.

Let's see... The KLF, Milli Vanilli, Winger...

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Sorry Jeff

I do recall that you like Ween, so that should help restore some of your indie bona fides.