It’s a postseason ‘tradition’ as old as the Mayoral Bet: columnists in opposing cities will write humorous rip jobs–not of the other team, but the actual cities.
For example, when the Bulls squared off against the Lakers or the Suns or the Jazz in the NBA Finals, I’d mock L.A., Phoenix or Salt Lake City. When the White Sox played the Blue Jays in 1993, I ‘ripped’ Toronto, a columnist for the Toronto paper made fun of Chicago, and we ran both columns in our respective papers.
All in good fun.
Last week, in advance of the NLCS, Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune went after the city of Los Angeles in pretty nasty fashion.
I think Huppke’s a talented writer, but I wasn’t a fan of this particular piece. To me it came across as too broad, too cliched, too stone-fisted, when a lighter touch might have worked better. I’m sure some found it hilarious. All comedy is subjective.
Also, it’s the written version of a Comedy Central roast. Not to be taken seriously for a moment.
The L.A. Times Twitter response:
“Hey @chicagotribune, Fewer than 15 murders that day–slow news day?”
First, a word about the whole “slow news day” thing. I’ve heard that more than a few times in my career. I’d write a column or post a Tweet or do a radio segment about something relatively light, and I’d hear, “Must have been a slow news day!”
I’ve had to come up with ideas for more than 5,000 columns and untold thousands of hours of radio and TV segments. They weren’t all winners, that’s for sure! But I’ve never, ever missed a deadline or taken a day off because it was a “slow news day” and there was nothing to talk about.
Sometimes you write and talk about the most serious issues on the planet. Sometimes your goal is provide entertainment and diversion and maybe a laugh or two by focusing on something relatively inconsequential. Every general interest newspapers, online site, radio broadcast, TV show, etc., finds room for opinion pieces, sports, lighter features, etc., in addition to hard news. “Slow news day” is the crutch of the intellectually lazy journalist–and a tired, mushy line of criticism.
As for the Tweet about Chicago’s murder rate–how did we get from Cubbies and Dodgers to THAT?
The Times took down the Tweet and to its credit, issued a REAL apology and not one of those “If anyone was offended” non-apology apologies.
In the meantime, the Cubs took Game One of the NLCS, and the Indians hold a 2-0 edge over the Blue Jays in ALCS.
Can you imagine a Cubs-Indians World Series? Boy do I have a few things to say about the city of Cleveland…
Great conversation this morning on “Good Day Chicago” with director Jordan Melamed and his father Leo, the legendary pioneer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Their relationship is the focal point of a fascinating documentary titled “Futures Past.”
In the history of televised debates, the Sunday evening “Town Hall Meeting” at Washington University in St. Louis was the most surreal, the darkest, the strangest, the WEIRDEST event ever.
There’s not even a close second.
Reeling from the audio tape in which he bragged about the sexual assault method of approaching women, Donald J. Trump sunk to a new low, even for him, by parading three women who have publicly accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and/or harassment, and a woman who was raped by a man Hillary Clinton defended at a trial in 1975.
As the New York Times reported (link below), Clinton was appointed to defend the accused in the rape case, tried to get out of the case, but was denied that request by the judge.
Re: Bill Clinton’s accusers, there’s no attempt here to defend Mr. Clinton’s track record–but this is still the United States of America, and there is and should be a HUGE difference between accusations, actual criminal charges, AND convictions. (Often when I Tweet about a public figure who has been accused of a crime, I hear from people who make the leap of convicting those individuals, calling them “rapist” or “murderer” even though they were never convicted of such heinous crimes. You can’t go on and on about how America is the greatest country with the greatest freedoms–and then decide unilaterally who is guilty and who isn’t guilty.)
So Trump’s reaction to just the latest revelation of his piggish, boorish, decades-long history of demeaning women is to hold this fake ‘press conference.’
And that was just the precursor to the Main Event.
* * *
After the awkward greetings between Bill Clinton and members of Trump’s family, the candidates were introduced.
They stood a few feet apart. They did not shake hands.
Asked about the now-infamous audio of him bragging about his technique for seducing aka assaulting women, Trump once again passed it off as ‘locker room talk.’
What idiot in Trump’s camp advised Trump and his stooges to use that phrase? First of all, as someone who played sports for a long time and has covered professional sports (and is hardly naive about the manner in which SOME athletes talk), I don’t know what locker rooms Trump is talking about. Maybe he’s talking about the locker rooms of country clubs? Or it’s just a stupid, immature turn of phrase?
You weren’t in a locker room, sir. You were a man who was nearly 60 years of age, pathetically trying to impress a giggling lightweight entertainment reporter. (Sidebar: NBC suspended Billy Bush on Sunday evening. I don’t know Billy Bush. I’ve been interviewed by him a few times, and he was always well-prepared, gracious and professional. I don’t believe his career should be torpedoed over this controversy. Give him a little time off and let the man continue with his career.)
When we finally moved on, moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz did their best to keep the candidates from going over the time limit, interrupting each other and evading the questions.
Cooper seemed to almost disappear at times. Raddatz was far more assertive, but neither one was entirely successful at reigning in two of the biggest egos on the planet. (Not that I could do any better. Cooper and Raddatz are thoughtful, learned, dedicated and accomplished journalists. Moderating a debate, like hosting the Oscars or umpiring the World Series, is a thankless task. The best you can hope for is to not become the story.)
Trump held the mic close to his face like an unpracticed karaoke singer, which only served to amplify his odd sniffing. He paced about the stage, often looming behind Hillary, and couldn’t help but interrupt her again and again and again. Here is a man who clearly doesn’t know what to do when he’s in the same space with a woman who is so much smarter than him.
Clinton was much more focused, but on occasion she would laugh when laughter was not warranted.
When Trump talked about Clinton having “hate in her heart,” it sounded like a classic case of projection. Say what you will about Bill and Hillary–and I’ve written DOZENS of critical pieces about them over the decades–if you asked 100 people on the street who has more “hate in their heart,” Trump or Clinton, I’d be shocked if Trump didn’t get 90 percent of THAT vote.
And when Trump said if he’s elected president he would get the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s ‘situation’–that was a ludicrous, legally ignorant, chilling statement you’d expect from a dictator-in-waiting, not the Republican nominee for president of the United States.
In the history of this country, has there ever been a major party nominee who has been so incredibly uninformed about the way things work if one is elected?
Trump seems to think that if he wins the election, he gets to pose for a photo op with an oversized check, fire everyone he doesn’t like, build a wall that literally can’t be built, set into motion a legal vendetta against his vanquished opponent just because and order up bombings like room service.
He’s astonishingly obtuse.
At the very end of the debate, an audience member asked each candidate to say something positive about the other.
Clinton complimented Trump on his children and their loyalty to him. Trump responded by saying he THOUGHT that was a compliment, was that a compliment, OK that was a compliment, and thanked her for that, and then lauded Hillary for being a fighter.
It was a rare moment, when the two candidates with nearly 140 years of life experience between them actually sounded like reasonable, mature human beings.
The third and final debate is scheduled for Oct. 19th in Las Vegas.
What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. It’ll stay with us for weeks, maybe years, to come.
Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin joined the kids at School of Rock in Elmhurst for a jam session on Saturday, Oct 8. Pretty cool!
OVER? NOTHING IS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE IT IS!
The first of three presidential debates is over, which means we’re really just getting started with the home stretch of the presidential campaign.
No doubt the Trump campaign feels they won the night, while the Clinton camp will be equally confident they triumphed. Nobody crashed and burned, nobody scored the cliched “knockout punch”–but that almost never happens in any debate on any level.
Whether you support Trump or Clinton or you’re undecided, whether you think this was a carnival or a legitimately informative evening, I hope you agree there are a lot more positives than negatives to a night such as this.
We live in a country where all of us–politicians, paid operatives, journalists, folks at home watching the debate–can Tweet, Snapchat, Instagram, text message, blog, Facebook and shout from rooftops, without fear the government will storm our homes and drag us away and punish us for expressing ourselves. That’s a freedom we sometimes take for granted, and a freedom hundreds of thousands have fought and died for.
To be sure, some of the comments on the Twitterverse and elsewhere tonight were mean-spirited and vicious. The same could be said of commenters weighing in on ANY topic.
Overall, here on my Facebook page and on my other Social Media outlets, I saw passionate but mostly respectful back-and-forth. As many of my longtime readers/viewers/Followers know, I always try to keep an open mind and I’m willing to Retweet or quote my conservative friends when they make solid points, catch me in a mistake or simply come up with a good one-liner.
I doubt many opinions were changed by tonight’s debate. That rarely happens.
If you love Trump’s Wild Wild West style and you loathe Clinton, are troubled by the e-mail leaks and other red marks on her resume, and you’re pining for a major shakeup in Washington, nothing Trump did tonight will likely change your views.
If you respect Clinton’s resume and you’re appalled by Trump’s decades-long history of cruel taunts, his juvenile feuding, his questionable business practices, his uninformed belief in conspiracy theories and his racist views, I can’t imagine how he could have won you over tonight.
The battle is for the Undecided. And that battle has yet to be won.
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