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Mr. Wrong

Paper Poop

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 4/12/2006

Hey, do you read the newspaper? I don’t mean this paper; City Paper, the fine weekly (“Get It Wednesday”) publication that carries the “Mr. Wrong” “column,” on an every-other-week basis, because while it is indeed a fine weekly newspaper (with the exception of not having enough Vision to carry the “Mr. Wrong” on a weekly basis, like 99.9 percent of the rest of the crap up in this piece, no offense) and it has Real News in it about real people doing real things, this paper is an “Alternative” News, Arts, and Infotainment paper, which I think basically means we can put the word “fuck” in it as many times as we want, watch—fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
—and we don’t get in any trouble. ’Cause, you know, there’s a First Amendment and stuff, which means if somebody bitches about “Hey, who is writing the F-word and ruining our Country?” I can say, “Well, look, I was writing ‘fuck’ to demonstrate the concept of protected speech, ergo, i.e., to wit, if it was Against the Rules of this paper to carpet-F-bomb, I wouldn’t do it, but it ain’t, plus, it’s a “Free Country” and shit, and I am protected by the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting [blah blah blah] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or [blah blah, snore, zz-zzz . . .]) when I type f-u-c-k into my Microsoft Word 2004,” without worrying that a bunch of dictionary-thumping kooks are gonna cancel their subscriptions or whatever. Not that anybody would, though, because City Paper, “Baltimore’s Free Alternative Weekly,” is a free paper, i.e., don’t cost nothing, take one, it’s free. You don’t really need a subscription or anything like that unless you are a shut-in or really far away and don’t look at The Internet.

Anyway, I’m talking about The Sun, the daily paper, which if you buy it out of one of its mostly blue street boxes costs 50 cents Monday through Saturday—and, what, a buck, buck-fitty maybe, on Sunday, I think—and is also called The Baltimore Sun, although on the front of each paper—the “front page,” if you will—it says, or, more accurately, It Is Written: the (and then there’s artwork of a choo-choo train, a lady in a robe holding a sword, an arteest’s paint palette, an old-school United States shield avec stars and stripes, an eagle, an anchor—like for boats, not teevee news—a thing of wheat—a portion, I dunno, what, a bushel, a bunch, a sheave?—and then a thing that looks like a beehive, and a sailboat, and then there’s these sun rays emanating from behind the whole schmear) sun. Up until last week it was pretty much “The Newspaper,” right? With headlines from around the world, and the five-day weather forecast, and the funnies, with, like, Marmaduke and shit. If I told somebody “I read in the newspaper” about recent developments with one of the local sports collectives with an avian mascot/fetish-symbol, most people would assume I meant I read it in The Sun.

And what’s with the names of newspapers, huh? I mean, jeez, The Sun? There’s like a billion papers called that probably, right? I just looked on the Google, and there’s one in Vancouver, and Las Vegas, and San Bernadino County, and Toronto, and Yuma, and I’m not even gonna scroll down and look for more. It’s like newspapers are called The Sun, or The Times, or The Record, or the [whatever]-Express. Even the fine paper you are reading right now has a pretty unimaginative name, eh? City Paper? Right off the top of my shallow brainpan, I know there’s one of those in D.C., and one in Philly, and one in Pittsburgh. They don’t have anything to do with each other except they have the same boring name.

But anyway, now there’s a new newspaper-paper in Baltimore, a daily-except-for-Sunday paper with a lotta the kindsa stuff they have in The Sun, like news and sports crap, and what’s on teevee, and a boring name, The Examiner, which makes you think of it as a regular newspaper-newspaper. They have red street boxes, which makes me think right away they are frontin’ like a “Red State” newspaper, since errbody says The Sun is a “Blue State” Pinko-Liberal-Commie newspaper. But until I can figure out there’s something in The Sun that I can’t get in my Daily Newspaper experience from The Examiner, I’m goin’ Red Box, and right now it’s all about what’s on Page One. I mean, Wednesday, The Examiner had “High-ranking prison officer charged with possession of crack,” and The Sun had some “Terps Win” snoresville crap and some other blah-blah. But I didn’t actually look at anything other than what was “above the fold,” as they say in the newspaper business, because The Sun is folded in half in the Blue Box out on the street, and, hey, I ain’t spending no 50 cents on some newspaper when there’s a free one sitting right next to it. Plus, they got Marmaduke now.

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