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Fluff Benefits and Contrary Logic

Posted 9/17/2008

In his column, "Palin Politics" (Political Animal, Sept. 10), Brian Morton observes an obvious trend in post-convention media coverage: ". . . when it comes to politics, the modern popular media often lacks the resources (or the desire) to make the effort to cover issues, which leads to headlines during this time of year to focus on two things: fluff and horse races." Further, Morton suggests the GOP would stand small in an issue-rich media environment. On both these points, I disagree. Though I savor Mr. Morton's gift for political soap-boxing, I believe he wrongly shades past into present.

First, the "modern popular media" has been reshaped since the introduction of blogging. With a national readership, the left-hitting, YouTube-fueled blogosphere injects the popular media with a healthy dose of issue-tapping opinions. True, fluff lines are media meat during fall campaigns. But they are important in-terms of vetting. When the Rev. Wright story broke in April, Barack Obama gave a series of topical speeches meant to pull attention from a potentially campaign-ending controversy. Without a gutter-prone media to keep him on his toes, the freshman senator would lack the media experience needed to defend himself in a general election.

Now time for electoral issues, aka the economy. Elections reside in the hands of working Americans. In truth, if working Americans focused on what will impact them most immediately-job growth-Democrats would face a tough road. Unemployment has risen at a steady clip over the past eight months, with approximately 605,000 jobs lost. Despite all this, the economy, in terms of production, is growing, and has been since the 2001 recession. In other words, companies are cutting jobs, even though profits are up. So where does that leave Democrats? Obama wants to hold corporations more accountable by increasing the federal corporate tax rate. Question: If jobs are being cut when money is up, what will happen when money is down? Answer: further cuts in jobs, salaries, and benefits. John McCain, on the other hand, plans to lower the federal corporate tax rate, from 35 percent to 25. While this doesn't guarantee job creation, it avoids worsening an already tight job market.

Obama promotes nationwide healthcare entitlement, and what is basically a multi-billion dollar federal bailout of the automotive industry. Granting workers coverage and returning them to their posts is great. Who pays for it all? Corporations? No, you do.

Matthew Gentry

He Types Crap (But in a Good Way)

I've just finished reading "Always the Best" (Mr. Wrong, Sept. 3) by Joe MacLeod. It was a choice I had to make, and I did.

To tell you the truth, I don't know what to make of Joe MacLeod's writings. He seems to be saying a hundred things all at the same time. His writing confuses me, because I cannot personally get connected to what he wants me to know about what he is saying in his writings, which he says with spirited entanglements. To me, most of Joe MacLeod's writings do not make immediate sense when you first read a sentence. The strange thing is that I keep reading his columns every other week.

Several columns ago, Joe MacLeod told us that someone had destroyed parts of his car. Who would Joe MacLeod have as an enemy? I have wondered if Joe has purchased another car, or how he is getting about Baltimore at all. At least his mind is driving forward with hazardous "fucking expressions" that bring a pause to a sentence with a leeching moment.

As an avid reader of City Paper, I know that Joe MacLeod is one of the "Best Journalists" at the paper.

The last line of Philip Larkin's poem "A Study of Reading Habits" reads "Get Stewed: Books are a load of crap." Sometimes I read Joe MacLeod's columns, and I do think they are crap, but his writings let me escape to laughter, which is my way of flattering Joe MacLeod's mind.

Joe, keep writing your crap. Alarm your readers with your foul "fucking expression" moments that reveal the passion of your wildest thoughts. You write good. Be yourself. Do not let your readers define you. You scare us with your oddity. We wish we could be the same.

Larnell Custis Butler

Correction: Due to an editing error, a quote was wrongly attributed in "The Company You Keep," the Mobtown Beat story on filmmaker Lavern Whitt and her ties to City Hall (Sept. 10). Publicist Sharon Page, not Whitt, said "It's a major story," in reference to the potential for success of Whitt's media projects.

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