POSTED ON JANUARY 20, 2010:
Love Letters/ Hate Mail
Send Out the Fools
(In response to "The Silly Season" in the Jan. 14-20 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
The danger to America is not Obama bin laden but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.
Vampires Still Bite
(In response to "Sucked In" in the Jan. 14-20 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Think you're projecting far too much meaning onto an over the top gorefest, with acting that almost lulled me to sleep. They put forth edgy visuals with none of the prose to back it up. I don't even mind gore but it was just excessive and goofy. This movie is manic at best, and may allude to some issues but goes nowhere. It speeds head-long into an ending that left me wanting my $12 back. The movie is as subtle as a brick to the face and about as enjoyable. It thinks its Dark City or Bladerunner but it feels like Nightwatch without the subtlety or originality to save it. As for Ethan Hawk, I'm so glad he got Gattaca with Vampires. Sadly Willem Dafoe can't carry the entire picture on his back, quite a good show from him though. Bleh.
Think for Yourself
(In response to "Still Under Attack" in the Jan. 7-13 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Beware of college professors spouting theories that their own facts contradict. In "Still Under Attack," Dr. Earl Tilford seems to argue that torture and continued imprisonment of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay are the only ways to stop terrorists from attacking the United States. Unbelievably, he suggests this while also warning that "terrorists...carry out attacks to prompt an over-reaction" and that the U.S. reaction should be "well thought out and effective." Dr. Tilford seems more concerned about what the battle against what terrorism should be called (he agrees with President Obama that it is a war against terror), rather than what steps to take to strengthen our defenses. Unfortunately, the steps put in place during the eight years under the Bush administration have proven to be less than fully effective and, in some cases, have proven to be the over-reaction that Dr. Tilford warns against. Fortunately, after the Detroit bombing attempt (which was eerily similar to the "shoe bomber" attempt under the last administration), the Obama administration is filling these gaps with the focus and seriousness required to succeed.
A Better Product?
If anything, 2010 will be marked for the continuing failure of an increasing number of newspapers throughout the country.
For any number of reasons, but those reasons are not as obvious as might be posed by those who are anxious to blame television or other mediums for their own failures in the print media.
If I was a publisher, I would look at my publication from a more flexible perspective. Flexibility is the answer to survival and print outlets are notoriously stultified in the same format they have followed since Volume I hit the streets.
For example, I feel reasonably confident in saying that our society is aging. People are living longer than ever before and the younger generation is geared to visual images. Senior citizens read newspapers because they were raised on the printed word. The IPOD, MP3, and Lady Ga Ga generation rarely if ever pick up a newspaper, even if it is free. So, what do you do to appeal to your readership base?
You continue to print your news and columns in 10-point type and in some instances, even smaller, making older readers strain to comprehend what your writers are conveying.
You could increase the size of your typeset by reducing the excessive verbiage of your writers, thereby conveying the same thought content and maintaining the same advertising space.
As an exercise, I edited Arnold Hamilton's column "Another Year Wasted" to the point where it occupied two columns instead of three but still fundamentally kept his thought patterns intact. The extra space would have permitted the typeset to be increased to 14 or even 16, which would have guaranteed it a much higher readership level. I could have done the same with the columns written by Ted Rall or Dwayne Davis or any of the others.
It is of no small significance that the ads you print in your publication only use the size type you use in your columns when the advertisers want to convey something in "small print."
In the event I have not made it clear, the point is that our population is aging, and inflexibility on the part of the print media is failing to realize that fact is only part of the reason why so many of your peers are biting the dust.
In actuality I enjoy reading your paper, but as the years pass it is getting to be increasingly strenuous and at some point the effort will no longer be worth it.
Editor's Note: Get some bifocals.
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