Nevertheless, the adultery of Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada makes me think of that wonderful German word, schadenfreude: rejoicing over someone else’s troubles.
Yes, we have all sinned and come short of the kingdom of heaven. But most of us are not hypocrites about it, preaching family values while sinning.
Jesus scores the Ensign type in Matthew 7:5: “Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye.”
Steve Sebelius, editor of CityLife in Las Vegas, skewers Ensign as a long-standing moralist. He quotes Ensign’s defense of an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution: “Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded.”
Moral of Ensign story: Do as I say, not as I do.
Reply to bloggers’ complaint
Blogger Robert urges me to go easy on President Barack Obama. My answer:
“Dear Sir: I cannot cut him any slack. I am furious that he has reneged on so many of his campaign promises.
“And, I am particularly angry that Obama intends to keep Iraq as an American colony until its oil runs out and keep U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan until doomsday.
“His compromises sicken. His kowtowing to the GOP is disgusting. To hell with Republicans. Obama has the bully pulpit of the White House. Better to fight the good fight and lose than to give away the store.”
Recall what Luther said at the Diet of Worms in 1521: “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
‘Wisdom’ of the
The near depression today has pushed states deep into the red. But their financial woes started with Proposition 13 passed by the dim-bulb voters of California in 1979. The change made it virtually impossible to raise taxes. So much for the judgment of the herd.
When the Supreme Court in 1963 struck down Bible and prayer reading in public schools, people howled. The congressional hopper was jammed with 150 proposed constitutional amendments to put religion in the Constitution.
Rep. George Andrews of Alabama shrieked that the Warren Court had put “the niggers in the schools and taken out God.”
Footnote on how politicians are in thrall to voters: When Nevada Sen. Dick Bryan was in office, he voted for anti-flag-burning constitutional amendments. But after retiring he admitted his true feelings: Flag-burning was a constitutional right.
Formulaic journalism is bad journalism
In my newspaper career aeons ago, I recall an editor of one paper I worked for who used the identical front page layout he had run on that date a year earlier. It might be a slow news day or a bustling one but the makeup was inflexible.
Which brings me to the Reno News & Review, a dull newspaper run by formula.
Every week editor Brian Burghart starts his column: “Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.” Every week he writes an article about a church or some religious group.
The religious pieces were interesting when Burghart started them a decade ago, discussing church theology, kinds of sermon and congregational fellowship. But now the articles are tedious except to the handful of celebrants.
Then we have news editor Dennis Myers. He is the best journalist in Nevada, an incredible researcher, thorough, exacting. But his news section is hag-ridden by formula.
Myers ran a story recently about Brendan Riley of the Associated Press in Carson City who is taking a buyout after 37 years with the AP.
With the story was a good photo of Riley and his son, Dylan, reduced to a magnifying-glass size of 1 inch deep and 2 inches wide. It should have run three times larger.
Meanwhile, on the same page was a terrible photo of new Nevada chancellor Dan Klaich. It was murky and funereal. Klaich was barely recognizable. Good cropping would have taken out 15 inches of wasted space. Yet it ran 5 3/4 inches deep and 5 inches wide.
The case for large newspaper art was made in the 1960s by the late, lamented New York Herald Tribune. Its big art in an era of pinched layouts had a tremendous impact.
These are desperate days for the newspaper business nationwide. Circulation and ad revenues are plummeting. But the RN&R is doing little to stem the demise of the Gutenberg press.
For a sharp contrast, read CityLife, the boldest, brassiest and feistious weekly in the state. It is just what an alternate newspaper ought to be: exciting opinion that you never see in the Establishment press.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.