Monday, January 16, 2006

In Which We Discuss Self-Pitying Flights of Fancy

This letter was sent to the Chestnut Hill Local in response to the paper's front page piece of January 12, 2006, credited to Maxine Dornemann and Chris Kemezis.

It will not appear in the Local because the interim editor said "I have read this several times and don't think it serves the community well by printing this."

Lawrence Walsh, the author of this letter, is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chestnut Hill Community Association.

As Lawrence is wont to point out, "The Pulitzer: true enough, but I always say (on resume) it was a staff share. If someone decides to call the Pulitzer office at Columbia, I may or may not show up on some list--the prize in '68 went to the Detroit Free Press people who were out in the riots, reporting. I was one of these, but I was far from crucial or even important. If I had never been born, the Detroit Free Press still would have won that Pulitzer. I have a certificate somewhere in the basement, balled up and water-damaged, but I sure as bloody hell don't dine out on this thing."


Letter to the Editor [of the Chestnut Hill Local]

I am the unnamed member of the CHCA board and of the Local’s dysfunctional publisher’s committee who, out of an unspeakable malevolence, worked to undermine the paper by orchestrating the resignations of its two top editorial employees last fall. In the Local’s 12 January edition, pages 1, 2 and 3 are decorated with "For the record...the truth”, the opinion piece where my fifth-columnist efforts are laid bare for the reading masses of Chestnut Hill.

"For the record" is the work, chiefly, of the Reverend Maxine Maddox Dornemann, board president, and it is another of her dark, dark signature moves in the conflict over the character and purposes of Chestnut Hill’s 50-year-old independent newspaper. Top to bottom, back to front, the Rev. Dornemann's exercise is studded with brazen falsehoods, cynical and self-pitying flights of fancy and "Caine Mutiny" battiness. Nothing new there.

The Local's faithful are bored spitless with the claustrophobic nature of the lengthening quarrel over the Local's future. I'll clear out of the way as quickly as I can here, but if the Local's return to adulthood and plain-vanilla newspaper integrity is of any interest to those who follow the hot doings in the letters column, may I invite all such readers to visit this new troublemaking blog:

chnotebook.blogspot.com

It has been brought to life to fill at least part of the void created when the Reverend Dornemann and her merry band of cultists decided to gut the paper, shoo off serious newsmen and newswomen, and flog an infantile version of civic truth in zip codes 19118 and 19119.

The blog is in its infancy, still far from figuring as a sleek, user friendly, full-service destination in the blogosphere, but give it a try. (And contribute to its growth by writing for it.)

Sometime between January 18 and January 20, my detailed, document-supported rejoinder to the Rev. Dornemann's agiprop production will appear on line. The poor deluded journalists who became my finger puppets at the Local, Mike Mishak and Jim Sturdivant, will make ample appearances, in their very own words.

The computer-shy should send several stamped, self-addressed business-size envelopes to:

CHNOTEBOOK
P.O. Box 4364
Philadelphia PA 19118

We will mail hard-copy versions of the blog to the perplexed and curious who choose this option.

Lawrence Walsh
Member, CHCA Board of Directors

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the Rev. Dornemann's agiprop(sic) production"

"agitprop"

Wed Feb 08, 10:05:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulation on finding a typo. You can't really believe an Ivy League graduate, who then studied at Cambridge, and then was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, and then was employed by various prestigous news organizations -- including the Saigon Bureau of CBS -- and who won a Pulitzer Prize -- needs help in spelling agitprop. Gosh, I bet he even knows what it means.

Now, I do know a certain "interim" editor who desperately needs your help.

Thu Feb 09, 12:29:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Germantown Cruiser said...

I'd say she is beyond help. But that's another issue. A typo is your critique? Try thinking, for god's sake. It's an exciting pasttime and mat shake up your life.

Agiprop, agitprop. Here's a bit on agiprop you might find interesting.

Beyond Smart Mobs: Mobile Agiprop Tools

Posted by Russell Shaw

Utne magazine (don't call it by its abandoned name of "Utne Reader" has a great piece on "Subversive Gadgets."

Depending on your view of sociopolitical networking as guerilla theater, most of the six spotlighted gadgets have the potential to stir things up or cause disruption.

Thu Feb 09, 12:40:00 PM EST  

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