Revisiting An Old-Fashioned Newspaper: We're Not Missing Much

There are still these things called newspapers out there. Yeah, I was surprised too – I gave up hardcopy papers way back when dissent was still patriotic. But out for a Sunday lunch at one of our favorite places in lovely Manhattan Beach, I noticed the front section of the Los Angeles Times lying forlornly on a counter between the napkins and the hot sauce. Someone had left it behind. The price being right, I decided to see what I’ve been missing.

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The first thing I found was a long story on how the conservative movement is struggling to prove that it is not infused with racism. I was unaware of that the burden of proof is upon the accused to demonstrate its innocence, but then I remembered what I was reading. The banner picture of Joe Wilson summed up the way the article would combine dubious preconceptions with the lamest kind of liberal conventional wisdom and ignorance of the most basic elements of the conservative movement.

I never got the memo on racism – and I had thought I was on the vast right-wing conspiracy email list – so I was unaware of the turmoil and self-examination within the movement that the Times uncovered. I thought our consensus response to these idiotic racism accusations was pretty much along the lines of “Nice try at changing the subject, dudes. Now, let’s talk about death panels.”

I read further and found two vivid examples of terrible racist manifestations at the very highest levels of the conservative movement. An aide to someone in the Tennessee state government circulated a stupid drawing and the ex-mayor of Los Alamitos, California, sent out an email with a dumb joke last winter. That nailed it. I went right up to my bookcase, past the works of Hayek and Buckley, to the shelves reserved for the works of the ex-mayor of Los Alamitos and tossed them all out. I mean, it took several trips to get them all out to the recycle bin, but I wasn’t having that kind of filth in my home even a minute more.

I have to agree with the Times – the conduct of the ex-mayor of Los Alamitos last winter demands some serious soul-searching. We need to stop with all this fuss over healthcare, cap and trade and the rise of socialism in general and really focus on the issues that the ex-mayor of Los Alamitos has brought to the fore. Now, where is my sackcloth and ashes blazer?

I looked up and asked my wife if she was aware of a racist undercurrent within conservatism. She thought that was nonsense, but she’s Hispanic, so how would she know?

Then there was another article about how the President is staying out of the “racist” debate. The Times noted he has stated the majority of opposition to his liberal policies is not based on racism. It’s nice that he doesn’t believe that most of the reason people oppose his policies is not due to a damning character flaw. The problem is that his statement also implies that somewhere between 1% and 49.9% of the reason people oppose his policies is due to a damning character flaw. I would have asked him how much is, but maybe that’s why I’m not a reporter for the Times.

The Times also reported on Los Angeles schools increasing class sizes because of the budget crisis. For a bunch of liberals, the Times crew does not seem very interested in root causes. A key root cause they overlooked is the sweetheart union contracts that inflate salaries and pensions while crowding fresh blood out of the classrooms.

The sole purpose of public employee unions is to protect the incompetent from the threat of accountability. But the unions have nothing to fear from the Times, which lapped up and printed every sob story they could find. Poor high school honors students, stuck in a class of 45 students – it’s worse than Guantanamo Bay. But aren’t they in that class in the first place so they can get into college and be in a lecture hall with 200 students? I’m just asking – because the Times sure didn’t.

So I asked my wife if she thinks 45 students is too much in a high school honors history class. She thought she could handle 45 honor students and that the kids who want to learn are going to learn anyway, but she was only a teacher for 13 years, so how would she know?

I flipped to the op-ed pages purely from morbid curiosity and I was not disappointed. Doyle McManus had a piece warning that the clock is ticking on Iran. Apparently the plan is that when time runs out this time, we will threaten them with further concessions. For the Times, this was a relatively conservative position – usually their contributors think the answer to the Iran problem is for us to apologize and slip into burkas.

There was also an op-ed by a women’s studies researcher – surprise – who thinks that the very best way of ensuring the safety of women is to ensure none of them have a gun to use to protect themselves. Since men, who people who buy into the women’s studies line of nonsense think are the root of all evil, are generally bigger and stronger than most women, one might ask if this might not have the effect of putting women at the mercy of their tormentors. But no one will ask that in the Times.

So I asked my wife what she thought of giving up the right to own firearms. This is a woman who informed me that I simply did not own anywhere near enough guns. Naturally, I immediately asked for her hand in marriage. But she actually believes in the Second Amendment, which the Times probably thinks makes her crazy and racist too, so what does she know?

There was more stuff in the Times, but not that much more. The paper was noticeably smaller and lighter than I remember it being back when I paid for it. It’s almost like no one’s reading it anymore. I finished my cheeseburger and left it behind for the next guy. Even free, the Times just isn’t worth it.


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