Monday, January 31, 2011

Jan. 31: miserable Monday at the Moncton Times

A reader sent us a comment that a front page story in today's Moncton Times is another ad masquerading as a story. True enough. But our reader was being kind.

"Casino's prime game is fun" is certainly not a front page story, or a news story at all.  But neither is "Concert word today"; (the promoter of a rock show is going to announce the name of a group coming to Moncton, and he's going to announce it today; and there will be a press conference; at the casino; and the premier will be there; and oh,  I could die, I could just die...)This drivel goes one for what seems to be the longest item in the paper.

And there was another free ad." Shediac kicks off winter carnival". There was a little story in there, it's true. But it was hardly stop the presses. Put world war three on p. 2 stuff.

The  editorial was its usual fluff and bumble. Really, who ever came up with the idea that a person who lays out newspaper pages is, by definition, an authority on all subjects from, in this case, the provincial economy, to constitutional law to military affairs? And the writer is always anonymous because the editorial is supposed to reflect the collective wisdom of the whole staff. What collective wisdom? The same collective wisdom that thought "Casino's  prime goal is fun" was a lead news story?

But the real gem is below the editorial. It's a guest column sent on by The \Frontier Centre for Public Policy. By coincidence, The Fontier Centre ( in Calgary) is a ridin', ropin' pardner of the neo-conservative, big business propaganda ranch we call Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.

I could tell before the end of the first paragraph it was written by a professor. It was full of jargon, unlcear meanings, overlong sentences, and improper use of quotation marks to give words implications that have no generally agreed understandings...  It brought back memories of  the years of  undergraduate papers I had failed for such incoherent writing.  Generally, its point is we should ease building restrictions so that the future will consist of ever greater urban sprawl - with all its unbearable costs in transporation (at higher f\uel cost) and access to basic services - like groceries. To him, housing affordability means single-family houses with lawns etc. for everybody.  Why? He doesn't say so. But I expect it's because that way big business will make more money.

The only thing worth reading in the article is his long bio at the end. I have seen lots of pompous bios and  overblown titles before; (remember, I taught in a university.)  But this one set a record. For a start he is Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University.

Presidential Fellow simply means he was given that title along with money by the president of the university. Fellow means he might or might not be doing anything in particular. Chapman is a private university, formerly a church college, and still affiliated to a fundamentalist church. Presidential
 Fellowships are funded by generous individuals who wish to make a contribution to learning. Get the picture?

Oh, Chapman Universities two most important achievements are that it is the home of the largest freestanding spiral staircase west of the Mississippi; and it has the second-largest piece of the Berlin Wall owned by an American university. (For real. They brag about it.) Better not tell Moncton City Council about that. They, with the NB corporate world and The Moncton Times & Transcript will insist we borrow eighty million dollars to build the highest freestanding spiral staircase  east of Fredericton, and the second biggest lobster after Shediac. The the whole world will pay attention to us.

The writer, Joel Kotkin, also has a whole bunch of other titles like  senior fellow, senior consultant, adjunct fellow - all with those propaganda mills that call themselves think-tanks. When it comes to overblown titles, they beat even the Ku Klux Klan with its Imperial Wizards.

That's the news for today. And we pay for this crap. 

1 comment:

  1. In the minds of many, including the juveniles producing the local "newspaper", the fact a couple of, albeit well-known, bands have been booked to appear locally,trumps everything else happening in the world. But today's coverage of the announcement reminds me of the famous words of "the world's greatest entertainer', Al Jolson who, so famously, said.."you ain't seen nuthin' yet".