Thursday, August 25, 2011


Image used for illustration only
Apologies to Ellie May Clampett

For 27 years, I read the Los Angeles Times. Stands to reason, since I was living in Los Angeles. For the last 5 or so of those years, my wife and I also got the New York Times delivered. To some, that would seem redundant. But we were informed. We moved to a little town in Oregon almost four years ago. We almost immediately subscribed to The Oregonian out of Porltand. Never mind that we live about an hour south of the "city." It was–and is–for all intents and purposes, the only choice we had. I'm not one of those people that can eat breakfast in front of a computer. Call me a Luddite. For that matter, call my wife a Luddite. We won't mind. I bought a book today, with a cover and paper pages. Imagine. But the point I am trying to make is that neither the LA Times nor the NY Times prepared me for The Oregonian. The paper is skimpy, and what seemingly little content it does have is filled to a great degree with small time crimes and white trash misdemeanors. For that matter, the Portland TV news also seems to occupy itself with the kinds of events and incidents that would never make it in a big city. Near drownings. One car accidents. And gang violence. I have said it before: if the Los Angeles Times covered gang-related crimes the way The Oregonian does, it would have the daily heft of the Manhattan phone book. And so, it is a convergence of a seemingly lack of editing and the contents itself.

I could have chosen almost any example. But the excerpted item from Tuesday's Oregonian particularly struck me. It should probably be read while throwing a shot of Elijah Craig down yer neck and listening to a raucous country song, (perhaps "Papa shot the Juke Box" by Mark Chesnutt)

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Police arrested Sally Ann Lee, 57, on accusations of attempted murder. She allegedly fired a rifle about 8:00 pm at two people at Lee's U-Catch Trout Farm... about five miles from Vernonia.

Her brother, Tom Lee, 56, told 9-1-1 dispatchers his sister was drunk and armed. The dispatcher heard at least two shots during the call, and people were running for cover, Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said.

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And don't you dare get me started on Salem's Statesman Journal.


MadPriest said...

There is never any need to apologise for posting a photo of Ellie May, whatever the context.

mjs said...

The L.A. Times was a different rag back in the late 60s and early 70s--"the wrong type of Chandler" became the boss and lo and behold they began to win Pulitzers and stand for something beyond mere profits and bullying (the history of the Times is like an Anglo-mob film). Luckily the family put a halt to all that journalism nonsense and let the paper slowly sink into the morass of tar pit mediocrity. Or so I contend. As to the Oregonian: it's a small town paper with a smaller town ego, and it's base is largely liberal but its heart is somewhere else...

Note: One of the most haunting images I have ever read in a newspaper came from a single paragraph story about a woman in Montana (could have been Wyoming) who died while trying to drive away from a wild fire. The pertinent sentence was "...she made a wrong turn and drove into the flames." So it goes...