What's going on with the Times-Standard's Opinion Page? It's bad enough that most of the news is canned Spam, and that the local news is mostly regurgitated press releases. To know what the featured national opinionators have to say, all that is required is to read one of their opinion pieces. Then the next time you see their name or names, you just pass them by since you already know what they are going to say. No originality, no imagination, no substance, nothing more than the same old self-justifying "talking points." The same is true of the ONLY local opinion writer, Dave Stancliff and his pablum filled As It Stands articles that dominates a half page of every Sunday Edition. That is until another face kept showing up on a regular basis taking up the My Word portions of the paper with his wordy nothingness. This is the Reverend Eric Duff, an "Episcopal priest and licensed clinical social worker." Just what we need, another "priest" telling everyone what to believe – indoctrinating every reader in the Editor's theological social rote.
My Word opinions are considered “Guest Editorials” by the paper. The newspaper say that: “My Words of 500-700 word are reserved for regional issues and related items of high local interest.” It doesn't take long to tell when reading some of these My Word commentaries that meeting this standard: “regional issues and related items of high local interest” resides ONLY in the “eye of the beholder.” In other words, as a “guest editorial” whatever you write must meet the same criteria as the newspaper's Editor or whoever it is that is responsible for the paper's editorial.
So, good luck getting something published if what you have say is both of a “regional issue” and or a related item of “high local interest.” All the newspaper cares about is filling their pages with gobbledy gook. You know what “gobbledy gook” is, don't you? Here's a good example I pulled at random out of my stack of old papers: “What exactly happened to everybody's sense of humor?” Seems like a substantive and criteria-meeting “item of high local interest,” right? Read the article and you see he has made his point, no one can talk to anyone today without committing some form of crime – let alone “make a joke.” Got a problem with your neighbor? You can get arrest for simply approaching him or her and asking them what their problem is? They just MIGHT FEEL threatened – a serious crime anymore. Never you mind that your neighbor ACTUALLY threatens to physically harm you, your family or property; a crime in any country. So, what was his solution? I guess he is following the newspaper editor's solution and directs everyone to the “other” always “entertaining” comedian, Dave Stancliff. (See the As It Stands: “Who would you like to have lunchor dinner with?”)
Since getting some of my priorities reorganized, I haven't spent much time reading As It Stands opinion. I do check him out and most always scan (speed read) through his commentaries. I really don't have much time to spend on someone as proven able and astute as Dave Stancliff when he spends or wastes his gift (a weekly, Sunday column) and talent writing about nonsense, always patting himself on the back and calling it and himself “entertaining.” Sadly, it seems, the same thing is happening to The Rev. Eric Duff's From Time To Time columns as well. His latest, “Humboldt happiness: It's in the air” really stretches the imagination to see how what he says is “an item of high local interest.” More like juvenile pablum served up by a hollow, empty, small-minded “newspaper” editor.
The problem is, these people, Dave Kuta, Kimberly Wear or Marc Valles DO NOT publish letters or My Word editorials that are relevant and substantive, in place of filling their pages status quo or standard “entertainment.” But then, no one would know anything about that, would you. They just quietly file such commentaries in the trash. What we need is someone with the guts and cojones that is adult enough to stand up to the substantive issues facing our community – what it actually takes to start talking to and about one another's juvenile conduct.
My problem with all of this Good Ol' Boy Club stuff is that we all know how it works in the “real” world of politics and business controlled by the 1%. In times past everyone believed that newspapers at least tried to stay above that corruption. Well, some of them did anyway. Here, with the Times-Standard you've got the one and only “retired editor” and a club of would-be “editors” vying for your attention. Check out some of the local blogs and you'll find the same Good Ol' Boy's Club practicing and engaging in the same kind of ingratiating, self-serving stroking. So read on for whatever it is worth.
tr.v. stroked, strok·ing, strokes
1. To rub lightly, with or as if with the hand or something held in the hand; caress.
2. Informal To behave attentively or flatteringly toward, especially in order to restore to confidence or win over.