Everyone knows “Yes Virginia. There IS a Santa Claus”. OK, most “everyone”. Do you recall where Virginia sent her letter …. and why she sent it there?
Virginia O’Hanlon, age 8, sent her query in 1897 to The Sun – a prominent New York City newspaper of that day. Virginia’s letter was answered in the form of an editorial by an obscure editor, Francis Pharcellus Church, on September 21, 1987. It appeared in the lowly seventh position on the paper’s editorial page beneath an ad for a chainless bicycle. It has since become THE most reprinted newspaper editorial in the English language.
The daughter of an Upper West Side coroner, Virginia sent her letter to her local newspaper because her daddy told her – “If you see it in The Sun, it’s true.”
That was 113 years ago. Would Mr O’Hanlon’s blind trust in his local newspaper exist today ? Newspapers regionally and nationally are every bit as profoundly partisan as “talk radio”. Locally, ours led the lynch mob against the “rich white boys” of Duke Lacrosse then wrapped a philandering “favorite son” in their protective womb. Radio talkers acknowledge their bias. Clenched-teeth journalists pretend their soap boxes are pious pulpits.
You know better, don’t you? Yes, sure you do ….. but “they” still lull you into believing them almost every day. Like carbon monoxide, their easy lies and cleverly worded headlines are odorless, colorless and insidiously deadly as an earwig burrowing into your brain.
Case in point occurred earlier this week involving our local fish wrap and some Republican political neophytes.
Last September, a lunch meeting is held in a backroom of a local country club. Eleven people are present. One roguish Internet Legend and ten others. Among the “others” were the crème de la crème of NC GOP poobahs. …. a typical fundraiser among the many being held all across America as November elections loomed.
Shocking as you may find this, I can be a bit of a saddle-burr smart-ass. Campaigning politicians thinking I’m some goober with more $$$ than good sense ….. in reality I have quite modest amounts of both.
I asked: “Do you gentlemen realize if you do indeed run the Demo-rats outta the General Assembly barn, then every man-jack one of you will be tattooed with a bulls-eye teathered like an umbilical to the News&Observer’s Op/Ed/News staff? EVERY twitch and rolled-eye will be above-the-fold fodder …. ripped out of context …. and plastered in Second Coming type? Do you REALLY understand that?”
NOTE: Op/Ed/News are one and the same with GangMcClathcy. It’s not simply due to their ongoing staff reductions. It was that way in the old pre-Internet days when they were printing money …. before everyone in Mayberry had a computer.
The assembled Repub politicos responded nodding like a row of bobbleheads. “Oh don’t you worry. We know they’ll be gunning for us all right. We’ll be careful. Everything will be above reproach with us.”
By golly, it was too. It took SIX DAYS before a McClatchyite hiding behind a potted palm at The Legislative Building caught a mess of’em behind a sorta kinda not-really closed door with some yahoos tied to video poker. “Six days” counts a Sat & Sun that the GA is not in session. Really only four days.
Video-freakin’-poker …. guess we’re lucky the lobbyist for Misunderstood Pimps & Puppy Mills was not in attendance. He was having trouble finding a parking space.
Those last two paragraphs sound pretty awful, huh? That’s exactly how GangMcClatchy spun it. Even some of my hard-core Right-Wing Fanatic Pals got sucked in.
OhMyGosh Our Guys Are As Crooked As Those Other Guys ! I read it in the local newspaper. It MUST be so ….
It actually was not a clandestine meeting at all. The video poker people are duly registered and are all longtime back-scratching buddies of those afore-mentioned Democ-rats that were run-out back in November…. BUT
The same high-ranking bobbleheads I had lunch with set themselves up to be clobbered by the marauding muckrakers. Their carelessness handed the nabobs a piece of gristle they will chew on and chew on and chew on some more for the next two years.
There was one rookie Repub legislator in attendance who truly is dumber than dirt and should be keelhauled immediately but probably won’t be.
The average “John Q” reads a tabloidish headline and the opening paragraph of a story. If the words “nekkid” or “stripper” aren’t there, John Q loses interest. The local nabob-assassins know that. They put the rest of the story (aka the facts) at least three paragraphs from the headline. They can say “it was there” knowing the knee-jerks never read that far.
If that editor from The Sun back in 1897 was answering Virginia today, it might go like this:
Is A Reclusive Obese White Man Holding Little People Hostage In Arctic Sweat Shop?
Is there a Santa Claus you ask? If there is, I’ve never seen his birth certificate or his green card but why should that matter? There is no reference to Santa Claus in The Constitution but that was just some ancient rabblings by pontificating humanists in powdered wigs and funny hats.
If there is, I think there should be a Black Santa too, don’t you. Maybe UNC will hire one some day. And a Muslim Santa ….. and a Lesbian version too.
Is there a fat white man holding little people hostage in an Arctic sweat shop along with endangered animals who will die if we drill for oil in ANWAR? Is he is cahoots with a local witch named Sarah? Does he pipe in right-wing radio propaganda to his chained-up little people? Does he (gulp) believe in Jesus too?
Maybe all that is true …..
But it probably isn’t at all like that but hopefully I just scared the bejeebers out of all our readers. Now I’ll write some wonderful mushy stuff about fairies dancing on the head of a pin. Blah blah blah blah …..
Francis P. Church, Editor
PS: Thank you and your gullible dad for your blind trust in The Sun …..
Think about the above the next time you “see it in your local paper.”