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May 06, 2010

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Mr. Talton, this is again a superb editorial piece, especially vital to the discussion in light of today's pathetic PHX Beat column by Laurie Roberts: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/LaurieRoberts/80314. She criticizes Mayor Gordon for his comments suggesting that we need to discuss and deal with SB 1070 directly, rather than simply "screaming louder” on either side of the debate. Whaaaaaat? After engaging in plenty of inflammatory grandstanding herself, Ms. Roberts finally comments that Mayor Gordon is right. Yes, he is right. So why would she first try to bash him before admitting so?

On the more anecdotal public front of the debate, I've now been overwhelmed by SB 1070 supporters arguing that we need to be more like Mexico in dealing with visitors/immigrants (also mentioned were Afghanistan and North Korea, among others). Again, I ask, whaaaaat? Since when do we hold up these kinds of places as benchmarks for an ideal policy framework?

And then on to the more absurd, they who have already gotten much of the proto-fascist policy they wanted are now invoking civil disobedience as a good reactionary counter-protest. I've now logged at least four independent accounts of faux news viewers saying that we all might as well discard our legal IDs and begin committing crimes against our fellow citizens -- just as the illegals supposedly do. Huh? (I mean, whaaaaaaat?) Is the traditional "law and order" crowd really ready to abandon both principles in order to preserve the alleged rightfulness of a foolish piece of legislation? I seriously doubt it, but still must wonder where this poisonous verbiage is originating.

Please come back to AZ, join ranks with the good reporters left in the wake of our decimated journalism industry, and I will vow to help uncover the business model needed to make it work. Certainly, there are enough sane people interested in Arizona policy and events, besides those who are capable of supporting the Guardian, aren't there?

PLEASE do come back and bring the "Deadline Man" with you!

Jon, I believe you're mistaken about the Republic endorsing LBJ in 1964. If memory serves - and at my age, that's no longer a sure thing - Goldwater was given a rather tepid endorsement. It stated he was likely to lose but as a home-grown candidate, he made us all proud, etc.

I read the Sunday editorial online and had much the same reaction. False equivalencies now afflict virtually every aspect of punditry, from David Brooks' aw shucks excuses for right-wing obstructionism, to the chirpy Tom Friedman calling for a Green Tea Party since both parties are so irresponsible.

I suspect what's going on at the Republic is the necessity of catering to the white-right readership. Newspaper reading is more an artifact of our once-vibrant culture than anything currently essential. I gave up my subscription a few years back when I realized I had already read most of the newspaper copy online the previous day.

Eugene Pulliam was hard right without being nihilistic. We loved to hate the Republic back when Reg Manning's inept cartoons and Michael Padev's pro-Franco op-ed pieces filled its pages. But real journalism was still taking place as Don Bolles tragically showed. Today, it's a sign of the times that most people really don't care that much about Arizona (except for getting rid of Mexicans).

Even the New Times seems unessential. I can't quite pinpoint the pathology. Is it in the newspapers themselves with their dumbed-down content? Or is in the cities and states that no longer incubate the civic spirit of places that matter to us? Perhaps it's a combination although the question itself is academic. We are now so wired, so globalized, so chronically incapable of local focus that we've outlived the importance of any place called home.

Soleri - newspapering certainly is a dying craft, but I still believe the job has a role. I'm thinking of my earliest years in Arizona when I discovered Jon Talton's business writing in the Republic, and in the past few years, Leo Banks' excellent reports on the border. I learned a lot from these two local writers, and continue to troll for new ones of value. The print versions of news may become artifacts soon, but I'm confident that news writing is evolving into perhaps a more accessible form - like this blog. Even though I generally disagree with the view points here, I continue to glean necessary information to function effectively in my adopted home. Summing up, it is my fervent hope that the last press doesn't quit until my final breath is drawn; I'm a print junkie, I admit it.

If I had to describe this essay in a word, that word would be "brilliant". In a phrase, sine qua non. Those who wish to understand Arizona's monopoly market newspaper of record should read and reread the very first paragraph. I savor it. It's all distilled there: subsequent paragraphs hammer in the coffin nails with insight, eloquence, and diligence.

Mr. Talton has (often unfairly) been compared to a journalistic Lemony Snicket. Here, he offers readers the inestimable service of telling the unvarnished truth. "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Christ, how I long to hear those words, in place of the usual tickertape parade of bootlicking parasites, symbionts, and namby-pambys!

In fact, I'm all the more impressed, because this very morning, I was reading the Arizona Republic editorial on Rick Romley (as successor to Thomas), when I came across the following bit of odious subversion:

"With the blessings of the supervisors, Romley is seeking a full-blown audit of his predecessor's spending practices, which include a civil-division budget that is 50 percent over its $4 million allowance."

So far, so good. But wait, Arizona Republic, tell us what you really think:

"Romley's proposed audit could prove valuable, certainly. But not if it merely becomes a cudgel used to bash Thomas."

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2010/05/06/20100506thur1-06.html

Well, what the hell else is it good for? Isn't the whole point of an audit to expose Thomas's bilious and diseased abuse of office? The means, methods, actors, and results? The relation between Thomas's politically motivated persecution of attorneys, judges, and politicians, and the self-serving, flimsy rationales used to justify this? What is this editorial, except a not-so-subtle signal to Romley to lay off, in the name of an illusory "stability"? How can you have stability when the county's right arm became hopelessly infected and putrescent, without cleaning out the wounds? Yes, it's going to expose some nasty stuff, and it's going to sting a bit, but you'll be all the better for it. No, now that Thomas is gone, the Arizona Republic would rather let bygones be bygones.

Par for the course. The Arizona Republic provides, only occasionally (and always as a late-comer) the sort of righteous indignation and impetus to truth which a state newspaper should regularly offer; but it invariably undoes itself later, retreating from principled positions, undermining justice and reason in order to promote an illusory "stability" (i.e., the papering-over of the terrible flaws of the status quo) so that they might return another day. It's as if a doctor promoted an aggressive antibiotic treatment for an infection, only to have second thoughts before the course of treatment is done.

Soleri's comment offers additional insights. I'm running short of time at the moment, so I'll just say: kudos!

(No time for a final read-through. Excuse the typos.)

Brilliant writing and sharp insight, Mr. Jon! The immigration debacle reminds me that the media needs to get its scope up and acknowledge some macro trends at work.

In 1981 Joel Garreau wrote "The Nine Nations of North America", identifying Arizona as part of "Mexamerica" and predicting a blending of the cultures. It has turned out to be partly prophetic, but the "blending" theories probably didn't account for the partitioning effects of racial prejudice brought by our LEGAL IMMIGRANTS since the book was written!

I've got a slightly different take, as a fan of both Rogue Columnist and a perpetually disappointed reader of the Republic's editorial page: this one was actually much better and bolder than most, and the false equivalence was not as bad as is usually the case. Perhaps that's a low bar.

Speaking of disappointments, neither Borders nor Bookstar has Deadlibe Man in stock.

"Deadlibe Man" Oh Oh ! Was that a typo with an agenda????

( : - )

@ azrebel:

Not at all; sometimes a typo is just a typo. :)

After all the hoo-ha about Los Suns, our basketball team is bringing honor to our fractious Valley. Kudos to ownership, Steve Kerr, Alvin Gentry and the players for having the huevos to make a statement . . . then sweep the Spurs and chase the monkey off their collective backs!

The PHOENIX Suns. Not Arizona, not Valley.

There's this thing called "reflected glory" where even folks in Maricopa probably think the Suns belong to them right now. The mariachis in Rocky Point refer to "The Soles" as THEIR team! In 1993 when we lost in the NBA finals, they were too sad to play!

At the risk of being tedious, all are part of a metropolitan area called Phoenix. If we're unwilling to use such a cool "brand," we deserve to be lost in a world of valleys.


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