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…