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The Week in WTF

1. Tribune, WTF?

The Tribune Company apparently is angry at almost everyone this week, and there likewise is a full balcony of people mad at the Trib, too. Whom you ask? Media critics. Fans of good taste. Bar hostesses who didn't get $100 offers to show their superstructure. People who remember what the Trib used to be.

The Trib is angry mostly at Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Dense).

WTF has seldom read a more hostile non-endorsement. It was Beau Geste epaulet stripping. They kicked him out the door with a loud "and you're an idiot, too!"

Sure, Wild Bill Brady (R-Freakin' Nuts) might have a plan to save Illinois, and we could tell you what it is if we spoke Sanskrit. The plan apparently is like Creationism. You just have to take it on faith.

2. Gary fake police, WTF?

Reserve cop (volunteer who gets to pretend he's a real cop) sitting in squad car. Has a new gun. While putting bullets into the chamber, he shoots himself in the hand with it. Bullet hits his partner on the driver's side. One bullet. Both okay, except for lacerated dignity. Wins marksmanship trophy and award for tight inventory control.

3. Will County, WTF?

This has not been a lousy year for Will County law enforcement. It's more like a lousy millennium, of which Brian Dorian's misfortune is only the latest faux in the pas.

So, first Dorian was guilty of the Two-State Bee Crime Spree and, to be fair to all us WTF conclusion jumpers, his police mug shot sure makes him look like Nick Nolte after a seriously bad bender. What more do you need?

Now it seems he's not guilty. This is the official position as of this moment, more or less.

We think that just as the Constitution prevents us from assuming guilt, it should also prohibit presumption of innocence. After all, we're all guilty of something.

By the way, the Constitution does not require we think Blago is innocent because Flying Monkeys are not protected by any Article.

Luckily for Dorian and what appears to be an irreversible emotional contusion on his soul, $50 million will make him feel lots better.

4. Rich Whitney, WTF?

Okay, so it was an odd if not totally hilarious gaffe that someone translated the ballot name of the Green Party's nominee for governor to Rich Whitey. That would prove to be a negative indicator on the South Side if anyone there had heard of either names. WTF is waiting to vote for a Green Party candidate whose name actually is "Green Party."

WTF thinks this particular event was a plot to deprive the Green candidate of a totally pointless and irrelevant electoral swan dive into an empty pool. No need to pity them. It's what they were bred to do. Whitney was appalled and indignant, as people in the Green Party often are.

It's lucky for him they switched from the first fake name. That was Rich Honky.

5. Mary Schmich, WTF?

Never read her column. At least not on purpose. Life is short enough as it is without losing those minutes. But considering her current bosses at the Tribune - Bluto Blutarsky and Dean Wormer - have been in the news recently, it's either a stroke of genius or stunningly dumb luck that she wrote this week about "Great Bosses."

Each sentence in her fuzzy, tender-hearted litany of good boss street rep is either brutal and hilarious sarcasm or mindless drivel.

Based on history, we vote for mindless drivel.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property. He welcomes your comments.


1. From Alan Solomon, ex-Tribune staffer:

"Based on history, we vote for mindless drivel."

History? With no history? And you talk about drivel? Either grow a brain before you rip someone's work in public, or get an editor.

Steve Rhodes responds via e-mail:

Um, I never read her column based on her history of writing mindless drivel either.

Solomon responds:


Rhodes responds:

Huh right back at you.

Rutter: "Never read her column. At least not on purpose. Life is short enough as it is without losing those minutes."

Me too.

Rutter: "Each sentence in her fuzzy, tender-hearted litany of good boss street rep is either brutal and hilarious sarcasm or mindless drivel. Based on history, we vote for mindless drivel."

I agree.

Solomon responds:

But Steve, if he never reads the column (aside from an occasional stumble), how does he know she's reliably horseshit?

His opinion aside (an opinion that, certainly on this specific column, I don't share), don't you see the illogic? And how stupid he sounds?

That's all.


Rhodes responds:

I see what you're saying but see what he (and I) are saying: I know from past experience that she writes mindless drivel. Therefore I never read her column - unless forced to or I stumble upon it or have some particular reason. Why is that so hard to grasp?

He didn't say "I have never read her column."

He says he (now) never reads her column, not on purpose anyway (get it?) because of what history has told him. Same with me.


Solomon responds:

Consider two pronunciations of "read," which alters the tense/meaning. "Never read" the column. "Never read" the column.

I'm through with this. Have fun, guys.

Rhodes comment: I think I just said that.

2. From Richard Wronski, Tribune staffer:

David Rutter . . . is either the world's wisest and most talented, Pulitzer prize-winning former newspaper publisher/editor, or he's an idiot.

Rich Wronski
(who would have written this even if I didn't work at the Trib).

Steve Rhodes responds via e-mail:

I'd be happy to post this if I understood what it meant. Care to explain?

Wronski responds:

Just echoing what he had to say about Mary Schmich's column. And make that "mindless idiot."

3. From Judson Randall:

Or job security.

4. David Rutter responds:

Over the course of many years, one might read many sources and find them intellectually appealing. Or perhaps, find them generally a waste of time.

Sometimes you start to read a regular columnist and then realize it's one of those you'd just as soon avoid investing the energy. So, one might avoid Mary Schmich as, for example, you might miss many of those who write for both the Trib and the Sun-Times. Lots of people who used to read both papers don't anymore. They've made their own decision.

As to whether her "bosses" column was really smart or not, I found it not. Just taste based on 40 years of writing and editing columns. Others are free to disagree. But if it wasn't a devilishly clever barb aimed at her Animal House chieftains, then it was just silly. Besides, deliberate silliness is my job. At this point in my life, I certainly don't resent hot kitchens.


Posted on October 15, 2010

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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