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The Scum Paper

The title of this post is taken from Facebook exchanges among some people who proudly refuse to subscribe to The Baltimore Sun (historically known as “The Sunpaper”) because we’re all so damned lefty here at the paragraph factory.

Pity. That means that they will miss in tomorrow’s editions Fred Rasmussen’s recollections of the “tomato feud” between Earl Weaver of the Orioles and the groundskeeper who grew tomatoes in left field at Memorial Stadium.

And Michael Sragow’s account of how Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon struggled for years to write and find a publisher for Lord of Misrule, the novel about horse racing that won her the National Book Award.

And Richard Gorelick’s appreciation of the variations on Louisiana cuisine that can be eaten while listening to live music at Chef Mac’s on Harford Road.

And Childs Walker’s account of how Towson University aspires to energize its floundering athletic program.

And Mary Gail Hare’s story about the elementary school students at St. Casimir’s School who present the Stations of the Cross as tableaux vivants every Lent.

Still, I suppose people have to be careful if they want to keep all this Bolshie stuff out of the house.

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 3:53 PM | | Comments (12)
        

Comments

Count me among the Sun subscribers who sometimes gets a bit irked by the paper's editorial slant to the right. Still, a newspaper is (and should be) by its nature all over the map, literally and figuratively. To shun the Sun because of some perceived political leaning means giving up all the little goodies like Fred's incomparable local color, Gorelick's useful news about local food and drink, and all that. The shunners sound like the kind of folk who go looking for any little reason to get in a huff. Lighten up and get lives, folks.

Having never seen The Baltimore Sun, I can't comment on its alleged political bias. I will submit, however, that no newspaper is going to win (or win back) readers by saying the complaints about the paper's bias are silly. Nobody's going to pay for a newspaper they perceive as slanted or unfair, no matter how many hoity-toity articles about Memorial Stadium or Louisiana cuisine it runs.

Hoity-toity?

Moreover, and I believe a number of colleagues can verify this, once people have a fixed conviction that your publication is biased--no matter in what direction--there is little or no prospect of discussing the matter reasonably with them.

I've never read an article about restaurant food (let alone cuisine) that wasn't hoity-toity.

OK, before you say it, I've read the piece you referred to, and I'm prepared to admit that, while hoity-toity, it's unhoitier-untoitier than many. Although I would add - and this is subjective, obviously - that an eating house that is "something more than a restaurant. It is potentially something much bigger and more important for the city, an adults-only gathering space for people who haven't had a nice place to go hear live blues" sounds godawful.

Live blues is wonderful, but don't think I want to be chowing down a big meal as I listen. Such music calls for something less ambitious while at table, like measuring out my life in coffee spoons.

Nice one, Laura Lee.

No, that would need to be music from a farther room.

Whilst dining out, I prefer no music whatsoever. It is invariably too loud, making conversation and eating quite impossible. And this is true for those annoying places where the violinist comes swanning over to the table during the soup course. Beat it, Bub!

Wow, LL!


For someone who admittedly gets slightly vexed over ofttimes ubiquitous, ever-droning restaurant muzak, or popular eatery big-screen TVs blasting some real-time pro sports event, or streaming the looped CNN news feed, having a live blues band funkying it up, a al Charm City's Chef Mac's, whilst trying to savor some great etouffée, jambalaya, or Cajun shrimp, and hopefully engaging in lively conversation w/ my tablemates, would likely turn me off the dining experience, big time.

Not that I don't dig good live blues, or zydeco, for that matter. But, I subscribe to the notion that there is always a time and a place. Mixing dining, w/ live music, (or theater), for me, usually doesn't work.

Speaking of theater, why has the once popular phenomenon of dinner theater pretty much faded, appearing to trickle off toward the late '90s? I suppose it could be merely a generational thing, as the post-boomer generation can't relate to what for them might come off as a kind stogy anachronism. And don't tell me that all the seasoned, veteran actors, hoofers and crooners have just died off, or retired to lives of leisure in Vegas, Palm Springs, Scottsdale, or Miami Beach.......... although frankly that could well be a major factor in the dinner theater demise. Hmmm.

Now w/ the typical sports bar, ingestion of food seems to be secondary to the attending sports aficionados' shared, communal experience of taking in the action (on and off screen HA!), while,of course, imbibing copious quantities of beer. This appears to be an established North American public indoors ritual, (similar to the thriving pub scene in the U.K. I suspect), which is basically here to stay, as long as sports are televised, and fans show up to cheer on their favorites to victory.

Now give me a mellow, low-key coffee house ambiance w/ some folky solo, or combo ballad fare-----a pleasant, tolerable musical backdrop for most, where one could still enjoy a good meal while not being totally bothered, or distracted by the live performance. OK, call me a square. HA!

@Laura Lee, THAT could be a perfectly relaxing restaurnat scenario where I might well find myself "measuring out my life in coffee spoons"...... or maybe packets of organic sugar, or twisty straws. HA! It could be a hoot, or as the late noted Beat poet Alan Ginsberg might exhort, a "Howl". (Groan!)

Ducky "Buckwheat Zydeco Rocks" Isaksson......... laissez les bons temps roulez!

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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