1/3/2007 – Editorials



By Richard Peterson

From the Internet and the magic of e-mail come comedian George Carlin’s New Rules for 2007:

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for www.classmates.com!

There’s a reason you don’t talk to people for 25 years. Because you don’t particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days . . . mowing my lawn.

New Rule: Don’t eat anything that’s served to you out of a window unless you’re a seagull.

New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you’re a dope. If you’re a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you’re a grown man, they’re pictures of men.

New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here’s how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we’re done.

New Rule: There’s no such thing as flavored water. There’s a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That’s your flavored water.

New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that’s square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time Grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule: I’m not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don’t want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule: Competitive eating isn’t a sport. It’s one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too exciting. What’s next, competitive farting? Oh, wait. They’re already doing that. It’s called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule: If you’re going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what’s playing on the other screens. Let’s remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn’t good enough to be a movie.

New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it’s for babies, new homes and graduations from rehab.

Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn’t gift giving, it’s the white people version of looting.

New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don’t need to know in months. It’s "27 Months." "He’s two," will do just fine. He’s not a cheese. And I didn’t really care in the first place.

New Rule: If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than minimum wage, then for God’s sake don’t pierce or tattoo every available piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

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This item came from the pen of Bob Myers, writing in the Lapeer County (Mich.) Press 30 years ago. His column proves that flu scares are nothing new:

Year after year, there is one question most asked of newspaper

people: "Why do the papers keep printing all those scare stories?"

It’s a question that comes up when there are deaths from the first swine flu inoculations. And with skyjacking, inner city crime, or whatever is the scare of the moment.

It’s a fair question. Granted that the stories can make it worse (as in skyjacking), harm efforts to bring in new business or residents (as in inner city crime) or get people excited over nothing (as in the swine flu deaths).

There’s another side. Suppose all news of the first skyjacking of a few years ago had been suppressed. Then suppose you took a plane that was skyjacked and learned later that your plane wasn’t the first. You would ask, "Why was this news withheld from me? If I had known this stuff was going on, I never would have flown."

Suppose you opened a gas station in Detroit and were robbed four times in three months. Wouldn’t you be sore if you learned that this was the normal thing in Detroit, but news had been suppressed so people like you wouldn’t be scared away?

The swine flu inoculation deaths turned out to be a false scare. The vaccine was not the cause. But some 18 people did die. At first, no one knew the cause. Don’t you think you were entitled to know, so you could make up your own mind whether you should get your shot?

Most of us are interested in this sort of news. We just think it’s bad that everyone should be told about it, because that scares people and upsets the country. If there were only some way we could know everything that was going on, while the other guy was kept in the dark.

A newspaper has no right to decide what’s good for people and what isn’t. The newspaper can only decide what’s news. And news is simply something that’s happened that the editor thinks a fair number of people would be interested in.

The success of the paper depends upon the editor’s judgment of what is news and his ability in presenting it in a concise, attractive manner. The editor isn’t trying to change the world. That’s your job.


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