Archived Story

Ironies abound

Published 9:03pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How ironic that Occupy Wall Street in New York’s Zuccotti Park, preoccupied by digital social media, found time and need to start a newspaper.
The Occupied Wall Street Journal is a four-color broadsheet crammed with practical information on how to get involved in the revolution.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Alex S. Jones, wrote “Losing the News” to examine challenges facing the industry in an online world, arguing that the demise of newspapers would be the demise of a functioning democracy.
Jones writes that what masquerades as news is actually entertainment, puff pieces passing as the kind of real reporting that let citizens make informed decisions.
“News is a valuable commodity,” Craig Klugman, 66-year-old editor of The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., said in Editor & Publisher. “In this time of cutbacks, declining revenue and rising angst, news organizations have never had the influence they have now. We are consumed in states and countries where most of us have never thought we would be read. We can tell stories in as many ways as there are ways. If we can’t figure out how to survive, we ought to fail.”
How ironic that the charitable children’s organization Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky founded in 1977 was called The Second Mile, as in the Bible’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:41, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.”
In other words, do more than the minimum to aid others, which seems to have been the undoing of Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials more concerned with protecting their school’s reputation than children from predators.
How ironic that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has written a book about cleaning up corruption in Washington.
Instead, I read stories from the life of a onetime Richard Nixon supporter and Eagle Scout, “Here Comes Trouble” by Michael Moore.
He edited and published the muckraking Flint Voice (which became the Michigan Voice in 1983) for almost 10 years.
I never knew Harry Chapin had been its main benefactor.
For five years, until the folk singer I met at Boogie Records in Mount Pleasant died in a crash on the Long Island Expressway in July 1981, Chapin performed 11 benefit concerts for the Voice.
After Moore’s four-month stint editing Mother Jones magazine in San Francisco, he portrayed the owner of a small Michigan auto parts company to infiltrate a U.S. Department of Commerce conference in Acapulco helping ship American jobs to Mexico.
That was in 1986, so it’s at least the 25th anniversary of the exodus of the American dream, though few noticed at the time.
Keynote speaker at the closing-night outdoor dinner was a Republican congressman from Arizona, Jim Kolbe (“These American factories in Mexico do not take away jobs from the U.S. They save jobs.”), who, ironically, was appointed in 2010 by Barack Obama to his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
A Japanese banker told Moore, “This is the future, and some people are going to do very well,” to which the author adds, “It was both nauseating and breathtaking, the scope of what I witnessed over this weekend. A well-oiled machine was already revved up and in motion to snuff out the American middle class.”
But Moore salts away the grandest irony of all for page 422 of 427 pages, when he recalls making his first movie, “Roger and Me.”
He didn’t even know how to operate a 16mm camera, so he enlisted the help of a Harvard-educated New York documentary filmmaker, Kevin Rafferty — nephew of President George H.W. Bush!
•••
“We think there really is this shift taking place in America, where those with the money want to turn the clock back to a time when everybody else has to scrape and scrap and beg for the crumbs.”
— Roger Donaldson, Aussie film director of “The Bounty” and “No Way Out” with Kevin Costner, in Michigan in 1984
•••
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.“
— President John F. Kennedy
in his inaugural address

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