If you dream of outer space and know you’ll never get there, the blog maintained for intramural consumption by Tribune Company visionist Lee Abrams is another way to sample weightlessness. Here’s his recent post on the subject of “Celebrity Crimes Against Humanity and Doing Something About It.”
“What I mean here is that We can’t underestimate our importance these days. We can change this cultural disease. Exciting and important time to be in the information business like the 80s was an exciting time to be in show biz . . . . we can’t blow it by offering dated TV that’s over slick and cliche ridden or Print too sluggish and bland. Our position is too important.”
By way of supporting his . . . point, Abrams goes on to offer two quotations:
“Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
“Answer: ‘I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.’ Miss America 1995 from Alabama Heather Whitestone (and she won??!!)
“‘Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.’ Popular Pop Singer Mariah Carey
“Scary stuff . . . we can’t feed this machine. we need to work hard at being Intelligent but unconventional. Inspirational. Agents of change.”
I’m surprised Abrams is so hard on Ms. Whitestone. Linger over her observation, tease out its implications, paddle past its verbal vortices — in other words, work really hard — and traces of wisdom begin to glitter if you’re desperate to find it. I’d expect Abrams to admire a mind that has so much in common with his own.
But as for Mariah Carey, it’s scary all right. It’s scary how hard it is to figure out what he’s getting at. And it’s scary that Sam Zell’s company bugler, assigned to stir legions of old-school journalists out of their sloth, doesn’t bother with fact-checking and didn’t discover that Mariah Carey said no such thing. Abrams has repeated a 13-year-old canard that was debunked long ago.
The blog post goes on and eventually acquires some heft. I’ll skip down:
“Speaking of Chicago,Shocking . . . a positive review of the tabloid Chicago Tribune from an industry trade paper. Not that they matter…they dont, but it’s still shocking! Rumors had it that Chicago WOULD fall into the lake and cease to be if this newspaper made such a dramatic change (even though it’s only in the newsstand/street copies). I guess the point is that Chicago did NOT fall into the lake, and the CT had the courage to AFDI something that had, from what I understand, been in the “discussion” stage since about 1950. Good, noticable change/evolution is a key component to our survival and GROWTH . . . in print or on a screen.”
So in other words, go to hell Editor & Publisher, because I’m trying to get this chip-on-the-shoulder, underdog thing working for us, so your praise don’t mean nothing. But please, just a little more . . .