Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Sunday Feeling

I read last week where the publisher of the National Enquirer was going to submit its story on the John Edwards affair for consideration for the Pulitzer Prize. One doesn't exactly get the opportunity very often to mention the Enquirer in the same breath with the word "journalism" much less the Pulitzer Prize. But they did break the story which exposed a national politician as a complete liar and phony. Which blew up his campaign for President. So what the hell. Maybe they deserve consideration. Indeed, the Democrats should thank their lucky stars that Edwards' lies were uncovered even if they were brought to light by a tabloid that specializes in alien abductions and completely faked up sex scandals. What if the SOB had actually got hisself elected before the scandal hit the fan.

This would have made Bill Clinton's peccadilloes while in office pale in comparison.

To be fair, if the Enquirer does pull this off, it won't be the first time that a second rate publication won the Pulitzer. The New Orleans Times-Picayune won it in 2006 for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation caused by it throughout the region. As my buddy PM said at the time, " the worst f_ _ _ing paper in the business is going to win the Pulitzer Prize."

And make no mistake about it. The TP ain't much. When I was at Tulane, I used to marvel at the stuff they used to run in there. Every Monday, or it seemed, there was some lurid headline such as "Ax Murder in Slidell!" alerting the reader to a crime of senseless violence, still abundant there, that had occurred over the weekend. The TP was/is nothing if not earnest about the fact that it mainly cares about the sports and society pages. The sports page is still pretty damn good. I remember when the Saints beat the 49ers to end the then longest losing streak in the NFL. The headline on the front page screamed " THEY WON!" in large type generally not used except for declarations of war or the second coming of Christ.

Speaking of whom, if Jesus had chosen to return, or if war had been declared, if either of these events would have occurred during Carnival they would have been relegated to the back of the paper.

Unless old man Schweggman was running one of his paid editorials there. Schweggman, whose first name I cannot recall ran a chain of grocery stores down there. When I first graced Orleans Parish around 1978, he was in the middle of a protracted and highly acrimonious divorce proceeding. I seem to recall that he was alleged to have strayed from the marital hearth much to the displeasure of his wife who was doing her best to clean him out.

About once a month, Schweggman would run a full page ad on the back page of the TP in which he would excoriate both his wife and the legal system that was rendering him destitute. Even though I was but a callow lad of 22 or so at the time, I felt that the publication of these screeds in the biggest paper in the Pelican State to be completely unwise as a matter of strategy. I did not know much back in those days but I strongly suspected that the Judge was reading this stuff too.

I used to get the Sunday Arkansas Gazette by mail. I would show it to my friends saying " Now THIS is what a newspaper looks like. Oldest paper West of the Mississippi. Won a Pulitzer. That will never happen to the damn Times-Picayune."

Wrong as usual. The Gazette no longer exists and the Times-Pic won a Pulitzer.

So who knows? Maybe the Enquirer, that purveyor of scandals, aliens and scandals involving aliens may win it after accidentally committing an act of journalism.

As Mother might say, but not about the Enquirer, you can't say for sure that stuff ain't true.

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