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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 18, 2012 6:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Quotation of the Day. The next post in this blog is The heat's on Gatsby. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Censored in Portland

The last installment of the week of Doonesbury that the O didn't let its readers see is here.

Comments (10)

I'm curious to know why you didn't republish the other two.

Yeah, now that you ( are the only place for info, you have to provide all the news, all the time... Where else could we get those comics?

The O shouldda moved it to the Opinion section long ago, and print all of Gary's stuff.

I shouldn't be writing this. Ever get up in the morning and realize you're too grouchy to comment, but then you do anyway?

In my banquet days, I waited on the lawyer who spoke before the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade. As I remember she said it was her first case. I've also done plenty of NARAL banquets over the years.

I hate this issue. I got a bad vibe from the leaders of NARAL. It's the wrong cause to feel heroic or sanctimonious about. And I really don't like the right wingers who say it's the same thing as murdering children. I feel like I have the moral high ground on them in one way: If I heard of a schoolyard where children were being murdered I'd do what I could to stop it. I couldn't just go on living in a town where that was happening.

My point is not to incite anyone to do anything. I believe the fact that they don't act, means they don't really believe it themselves. They don't really believe this is murdering children. How could they and live with themselves? So this tragic mess is reduced to a political wedge issue. God, I hate this topic.

Let's move on to slamming the Oregonian. I have communicated with Peter Bhatia quite a few times over the years. A friend of mine from the band I moved to Portland with, actually, grew up with him in Pullman, Washington.

Our communications would come under the headings of applications and rejections. I was always curious why they wouldn't hire me to write a column for the Oregonian, especially after my column in the Tribune ended. One of the craziest things about it was they were reprinting lines I had sold elsewhere, so my stuff was already there. Why not go to the source? And yes, I can remember at least once where they used something I had written - that was also in Time Magazine - on their editorial page.

Here's the tie-in with the Doonesbury decision: We all know printed newspapers are in trouble. What did the story say yesterday? The fastest shrinking business in America?

This is due for the most part to changing technologies, but another part is that their editors' minds are trapped in another century. They have not changed with the times as much as they should have. They remain staid in a world that is no longer staid.

They're so used to having no competition, that they're arrogantly holding on to this world view and it's gone. As a former print columnist, I think it's a damn shame. I felt that in me, they had a proven international humorist with original serious points of view as well, but when I saw their extremely lame humor column called "The Edge", I knew they were stuck in the suck zone. It didn't have to be that way, and now we get to sit back and watch the whole damn industry fail.

I also got it after Iraq when columnists like me who made the right call, were canned, while neo-cons like Bill Kristol who were wrong about everything, were given bigger platforms than ever. Bill Kristol even got a column in the New York Times before it became apparent how much he sucked. Beware of industries that don't reward excellence. Beware of institutions that tolerate outrageous shabby, immoral personal behavior. It usually ends badly.

It's sad. We're looking at the last few years of newspapers in print. I wish they had put up a better battle. I would have loved to be a part of that. It's a noble thought, but you can't do it by ducking controversy and playing it safe. If your editor is bumping cars, drunk outside a strip club, run with it. As I said at the Tribune many times: "This is not required reading. You're acting like it's required reading - it's not."

Sorry, I'm frustrated. I feel like the Oregonian let down Portland big time lately, and it makes me a little sick. Meanwhile this week, I had another line reprinted - this time in the Opinion Section of USA Today. But can I get any play in this town? Of course not. I could have helped.

Peter Bhatia is a good guy - a very accomplished guy. He did not cover himself or his paper in glory this past week. Peter, you should hire me. Let's start to turn this thing around.

"Beware of industries that don't reward excellence. Beware of institutions that tolerate outrageous shabby, immoral personal behavior. It usually ends badly."

Subtle dig at public schools?
...or the Portland police dept?
.... Congress?

"Peter, you should hire me."

Please, you are better than that. Besides, better for you to deconstruct from the outside, than try and reconstruct from the inside, during the last swirl around as the flush ends.

Deconstructing from the outside doesn't pay. But relax - as a serial freelancing applicant that is merely the way I conclude every letter.

Here's the real truth: I'm profoundly disappointed in the way so-called adults of a certain age have acted in Portland these last few years. I think it's embarrassing. There's behavior you can expect when you're 20 but after you turn 40 or 50 or 60 you should tighten it up a little.

I'm not being puritanical, but if we don't grow wise as we get older, what's the f*ckin' point?

Once, years ago, a teenager was killed where I worked in an accident, and it bothered me on levels that it shouldn't have: I felt in some ways like it had happened in my home.
When I read about some of the shenanigans the power elite of this town have been up to, I feel - on some level - personally responsible.

Portland's our home - we've got to do better.

why you didn't republish the other two.

I was busy. If you click the forward and back arrows at the top of the page I've linked to today, you can see them all.

Dear Bill,
You are not the only person who feels "on some level personally responsible" for the really bad stuff that has happened and is happening in Portland (and the rest of the USA). I do too, and I am pretty sure there are lots of us.
I also feel impotent and pretty helpless to make any effective changes.
However what I do feel hopeful about are the various new technologies, like bloggIng and YouTube and all the other social networks, to at least publicize issues in ways that the current crop of aging politicos and 1%ers cannot imagine. Time will tell if today's younger generations will give a sh*t or not.

I just walked up on Tabor and it hit me what's wrong here with the Oregonian's handling of this. First, I started my walk in a rainstorm with a little hail but I could look west and see some sunny skies coming our way, and they did. It was beautiful up there.

Okay, the Oregonian used the family friend as a source. They did not get a second source as this was one of their own, but that is the rule: Get a second source. So the Oregonian slipped up there.

Then when they realized the source was wrong, they didn't just correct the story - they outed the source. Journalists go to jail to keep the identity of their sources secret.

The statement by Peter Bhatia was delivered as a tribute to integrity in journalism complete with some snarky comments about the "trolls" who would dare question these marvelous, exemplary powerful people.

What really happened was an institution that had been duped by not following the 2-source rule, decided to burn the source for one of its stories, and that's not stellar journalism. That's bureaucratic ass-covering.

The O should take lessons in honesty in journalism from Ira Glass, and This American Life. The mistake is never as bad as the lie that tries to cover it up.

Getting back to the Doonebury topic, I see in the Tuesday O that even Idaho has just passed a similar bill, I believe in the Idaho House. Gotta love those one party states.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
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William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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