So many pulped trees, strained eyes, bruised egos, and eager salesmen. All the editors, deadlines, and frayed tempers: What’s it all for?

The Reader’s Hot Type column raises that question every week with a sharp eye on the efforts of Chicago’s dailies. And once a month, a special essay is written just to punish wretched Bob Greene. You’re more than journalists, you’re also critics and authorities on the art of journalism itself.

But what about your own paper? What standards does the Reader use to select what is printable? October 25th’s column of personal advice by Dan Savage has made this question a difficult one. The topic of his learned essay (in case you missed it): what really is the best way to lick an asshole?

Not to say this subject is without appeal–it was probably critical to the careers of everyone who gets a Reader paycheck, especially the art and theater critics as they compete weekly for prime assignments. But isn’t the thrill of discovery the only thrill that some activities can provide? Isn’t this like printing a film review that gives away the secret? Or a restaurant review that ruins the exotic atmosphere by packing it with noisy, tasteless customers the following week?

So something here smells funny: Hot Type or Savage Love–only one of these columns can be taken seriously. Take your pick. The other must have been written tongue-in-cheek.

Chris Miller

Forest Park