Talk about a whirlwind two weeks…
One minute I’m standing on a beach along the Pacific Ocean in Cabo saying, "I do" to a judge marrying me in Spanish while butchering my first name…a week later I’m masterminding the sale and a move from my home in Prairie Village to Lawrence via Topeka. That’s a lot to love, especially given it was squeezed into not much more than the space of a single week.
But you know they say about distance lending perspective.
So when I called the Kansas City Star on Friday afternoon at the height of my chaotic moving experience, the least of my worries was when and if I’d be able to transfer my newspaper subscription to T-Town. Not that the nice woman from South America or wherever the Star has outsourced such matters had a clue. All she knew was that the transfer would require someone at a higher pay grade to determine if I would be allowed to continue receiving the physical newspaper long distance. Or be relegated to reading the paper’s Web site free-of-charge like most of you – as Tony might say, dirtbags – probably do.
It would likely take two or three days to make that determination, she said. Meanwhile, for continuity’s sake, I should continue to have the newspaper delivered to my Prairie Village address to the four women who would be occupying my now-former residence.
Stay tuned; we’ll see what happens, I’ll get a call.
However when I stopped by the old hood to pick up my mail on Saturday, there was no Star in the driveway. And no phone call telling me if I’d qualified or not. Later that night though, after returning to the wilds of Topeka, I was startled to find Saturday’s paper in my driveway.
A little soggy but sweet.
They may not know exactly what they’re doing all of the time at 18th and Grand, but results matter and the bottom line is they totally got the job done on virtually no notice whatsoever. Overnight.
Which brings me to a long overdue Star Search column critiquing the paper through more-or-less out-of-town eyes. Or in this case, a front-page story by Eric Adler about a controversial statue at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
Here’s where things start to get more than a little lame.
Because how in the world can the Star deliver to its core readership – the paying customers mind you – a front page story about a public controversy over a lifesize, sexy, bronze statue of a topless chick without providing a photo of the artwork in question? A more than 50-column-inch in length story, no less.
I would say, I don’t get it except for the fact that I worked at the Star for 16 years and I know how small the thinking can get where s-e-x is concerned. "Be careful! Remember this is being read by people at their ‘breakfast tables.’ "
Not that it didn’t occur to the Star to send a photographer to the Arboretum to capture the image in question.
Which by the way, did find its way into the same story online for the nonpaying, lowlife readers who digest the newspaper’s news on the cheap and who obviously have far stronger stomachs for such frightful imagery.
Not that Adler didn’t do his part to dial in as much R-rated fun and controversy to the tale as he could.
Attendence at the park has been "far busier" since the sexy statue went in – at least "anectdotally" he "reports," while doing a bit of fuzzy, journalistic math.
"We had a group of middle aged men out there last Friday looking at it," Adler adds in a quote from the park’s PR dude Sean Reilly."
The implication being by the placement and inclusion of the quote, that the statue was somehow attracting the juice bar crowd.
With tens of thousands of visiors to the Arboretum every year – and during peak season – of course there would be groups of men "looking at it." Along with groups of women, children, grandparents, people from other countries and you name it. Who’s not going to tour the grounds and look at the artworks as they walk past?
See how the game is played?
Adler’s little word game strongly implies that people are flocking to the park to see the naked lady. Especially horny, older dudes with nothing better to do than drag ass out to some park to check out a pair of bronze boobs.
Sex sells and the middle aged, white reporters and editors at the Star know this as well as anyone.
Yet with political correctness being the name of their game, the object of said game is to fly as close to the fun facts as possible without getting their wing wax melted.
Now if the dudes were yucking it up, fondling the statue in question or trying to leave dollars bills, that’d be one thing. However those details – should they exist – went unreported.
Here’s my point.
Using journalistic artifice to pour gasoline on a tempest in a teapot controversy is silly and sophomoric.
If you really want to fan the flames of a controversy, man up and let the readers in on the joke by showing the photograph and supporting the anecdotal inferences with a few facts.
After all, it is art and it is mainstream journalism, right?