Slow Parade

by Michael Bérubé on January 6, 2008

Happy no-longer-new year, everyone. Well, the final weeks of 2007 were pretty much like the whole of 2007 in my house: just before finals week, the sewage line in the basement backed up for the third time in four months, and as they say, the third time was the charm. This one left a good two inches of water in select basement areas, where “select basement areas” means “the corners in which Michael keeps his hockey equipment and his drums.” It’s been great fun cleaning everything and ripping up carpet and throwing out stuff and refurnishing part of the basement, but through it all, I know that the house has said to me and me alone, in an intimate and personal kinda way, “GET. OUT.” Of course, that was before the sheet of ice slid off the roof and knocked out our satellite dish thing. The people from the satellite station promised to send out a satellite dish repair person ASAP, which means in a week or so, because we live in the deep uncharted interior of the continent.

So good riddance to 2007. I hope it never comes back around these parts.

But that’s not why I’m here!


No, I’m here to report that when I brought in the local paper from the front porch this morning, I found that the cover story on this week’s Parade was all about Benazir Bhutto. (Parade, for those of you who don’t get the thing, is the standard Sunday supplement in run-of-the-mill newspapers in the deep interior of my continent.) The cover asks, “Is Benazir Bhutto America’s best hope against al-Qaeda?” This struck me as a somewhat strange question, and not simply because of the recent tendency in these parts to treat Bhutto as Pakistan’s Greatest Democrat Ever. The story itself begins on page six, under the headline “A Wrong Must Be Righted – As Benazir Bhutto seeks a return to power, Tuesday’s election in Pakistan could profoundly affect the fight against terrorism.” Well, I was going to say, I hope you people in other countries will stop complaining about how American news media don’t cover foreign things from far away! But, of course, Parade’s web site is a bit more current:

Editor’s note: The assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27 occurred after PARADE’s Jan. 6 issue went to press.

OK, then, the paper went to press more than ten days ago. So now I wonder just what kind of technology the print version of Parade uses. Was someone asleep at the steam-powered linotype machine? Let’s just say that in my house, cut off as we are from the outside world (except for phones and newspapers and internets and the Midnight Bark and tin cans with string), this morning’s Sunday paper was a bit disorienting.

{ 28 comments }

1

The New York City High School Math Teacher 01.07.08 at 12:07 am

When I was a real paperboy, 20 years ago, I used to get the sunday supplements on the prior Wednesday. I’m not surprised.

2

idlemind 01.07.08 at 1:44 am

It’s not the steam-driven linotypes, it’s the horse-drawn wagons that are the problem.

3

vivian 01.07.08 at 1:46 am

NPR covered it this evening. Miserable news about your home-front though, I guess you’d have been much happier with an ice sheet in the basement and sewage on the roof (where it can be rinsed off).

4

Lynn Gazis-Sax 01.07.08 at 2:29 am

Once, some years ago, my husband was working on a history project for which he needed news stories in California about California becoming a state. So I got to help him by going through the microfilms. We knew, of course, exactly when California had become a state, so we started there. And it was interesting, to watch the long interval of speculation about California statehood, the arrival belated news about an earlier maneuver that indicated likely defeat, complete with an explanation of how the politics of slavery was affecting California’s chances at statehood, and how finally, long after California had officially become a state, the Californians got to find out about it.

Of course, they really were waiting either for the horses to arrive or for some boat to sail around from the East Coast to San Francisco.

5

Michael Bérubé 01.07.08 at 2:53 am

I remember my paper route too — and yeah, the Sunday supplement arrived about six months ahead of time. But this was 1974, when the Long Island Press still existed, back when there were “afternoon papers” and horse-drawn wagons and . . . hold the phone, California is a state now?

And Vivian, that’s it exactly. The ice sheet in the basement would’ve made for some great indoor holiday hockey, and the sewage on the roof can always be washed away by the toxic rain.

6

aaron 01.07.08 at 3:23 am

i read in the paper today that bhutto managed to defeat truman in the 1948 presidential race.

7

John Protevi 01.07.08 at 3:37 am

“Is Benazir Bhutto America’s best hope against al-Qaeda?”

What is this, 50 questions?

America’s best hope is the new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected–not elected, this guy just took over office.

8

Michael Bérubé 01.07.08 at 3:54 am

the new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected–not elected, this guy just took over office

The title you’re looking for, John, is “decider.” The general Pakistani guy in that Arab nation is called the decider of Pakistania.

9

John Protevi 01.07.08 at 4:25 am

Decider, eh? I might have expected a little Schmittian talk from the insane-clown posse of the academic Left every day.

10

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 4:38 am

I know that the house has said to me and me alone, in an intimate and personal kinda way, “GET. OUT.”

I think you misspelled “REDRUM”.

Which means in a week or so, because we live in the deep uncharted interior of the continent.

Scatman Crothers is on his way right now bringing it on a Sno’-Cat. Keep an eye out for him will ya’?

11

Henry (not the famous one) 01.07.08 at 4:48 am

Just to complete the circle with the author of the piece that Mr. Protevi linked to: Parade Magazine ran a story in 1967 or so on the proto-Nazi formations created by German environmentalists of the early 20’s, who exalted nature, purity and authenticity–all of which the ideologists of the Nazi movement coopted as best they could. As Casey Stengel said, you can look it up.

Was Jonah reading the newspapers by that time?

12

George 01.07.08 at 4:52 am

… I know that the house has said to me and me alone, in an intimate and personal kinda way, “GET. OUT.”

One of the few areas where I’ve actually changed my life for the better is in (fairly regularly) reminding myself that inanimate object are not talking to me. Nor are they out to get me. It’s all physics.

13

JP Stormcrow 01.07.08 at 4:57 am

inanimate object are not talking to me. Nor are they out to get me. It’s all physics.

That’s exactly what they want you to believe.

14

Hattie 01.07.08 at 8:40 am

I must be dead, because even though I knew Bhutto had been murdered, I looked at her pic on the cover of Parade, read the article, and said oh well.
It’s the opposite of Twain’s remark that the reports of his death had been exaggerated. In her case, the reports of her continued existence had been exaggerated.
I feel as if I’m turning into a zombie that accepts everything without critical thought, because I am so tired and overwhelmed.

15

Doug 01.07.08 at 9:01 am

5: Phone?

16

The Constructivist 01.07.08 at 11:15 am

My question is why Parade was doing BB coverage in the first place. Back when my family would get it, it was all celebrities and diets and recipes. Have they become more consistently “newsy” or was this piece an exception? If an exception, back to my original question.

17

John Emerson 01.07.08 at 1:45 pm

The inserts are printed up weeks in advance. Here in the actual middle of the continent there’s a printer (Banta Publications, Long Prairie MN) which I have been told mostly prints these inserts for newspapers all over the country. Decades ago I was a midnight inserter for the Washington Post on Saturday nights.

That’s why Doonesbury has problems being timely, since the funnies are an insert.

18

Hogan 01.07.08 at 3:27 pm

16: Clearly our domestic supply of “hotties who haven’t recently been in prison, rehab or divorce court”–traditional Parade cover material–is running dangerously low.

19

abb1 01.07.08 at 3:32 pm

They probably print it in India.

20

Michael Bérubé 01.07.08 at 4:04 pm

My question is why Parade was doing BB coverage in the first place. Back when my family would get it, it was all celebrities and diets and recipes. Have they become more consistently “newsy” or was this piece an exception?

They’ve become inconsistently newsy, TC, sort of like morning TV — an “in step with” interview with an entertainer, a few human-interest side things, timely financial tips, the Marilyn vos Savant column, a coupla cartoons, and a range of feature stories — Oprah and Denzel, Bill O’Reilly watching out for you, someone’s recovery from depression, a list of the ten worst dictators, and so forth. Think Reader’s Digest meets Good Morning America.

So I wonder whether there aren’t a couple of Sunday-supplement- reading Americans out there this morning, most likely in the 70+ age bracket, who are hoping that that nice Bhutto woman can help save us from terrorists.

21

mds 01.07.08 at 4:36 pm

70+ age? In five days, 108. Thanks for asking.

I think you misspelled “REDRUM”.

No, it’s actually spelled “The Red Room.” Hey, I haven’t gotten my Parade yet: when did Long Island get taken over by Pennsylvania?

22

shpx.ohfu 01.07.08 at 9:23 pm

Parade is the home of Republican smear merchant Ed Klein. Anything they can to to drum up terror hysteria, such as running a cover story showing a now-dead BB blurbed as “America’s best hope against al-Qaeda?” is good for their editorial POV.

23

Michael Bérubé 01.07.08 at 10:13 pm

Well, that’s just silly, then. Everyone knows that only Rudy! can save us from terrorists.

And mds, you don’t look a day over 90, and no, I’m not just saying that.

24

roac 01.07.08 at 10:22 pm

I am old enough to remember when there were two of these Sunday supplements — the other one was called “This Week.” (Plus some small fry, but the major Sunday papers all carried either Parade or TW.) For a while, at least, Parade had faint but observable lefty tendencies. The Wallechinsky brothers used to be regular contributors. And Dotson Rader. Of course, that was when lefty was in. I don’t pay much attention to it any more, but I get the impression that the editors try to make it smarter than it has to be.

Of course, the whole enterprise has to be very marginal these days, with the newspaper business continuing to go south. My wife asked why they didn’t pull the BB issue after she was killed. My assumption was that they couldn’t possibly afford to give the advertisers a refund.

25

BillCinSD 01.08.08 at 1:03 am

I would have guessed Parade was having the late Ms. Bhutto discuss her favorite 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray. therefore the last best hope was probably her “listen up, lasagna” — a whole wheat lasagna with an escarole salad

26

mds 01.08.08 at 2:41 am

And mds, you don’t look a day over 90, and no, I’m not just saying that.

Wait, that big ghostly head in my home really is two-way?

Anyway, though I’d love to ascribe this to fomenting despair by maliciously pulling a rug out from under people, er, retroactively, I’d more readily accept that they simply couldn’t be bothered, because who really gets their foreign affairs from Parade? Especially when that’s what “Get Fuzzy” is for.

27

Michael Bérubé 01.08.08 at 4:39 am

The Wallechinsky brothers used to be regular contributors.

Yes, but that was before they left Parade to direct The Matrix.

Seriously, the “ten worst dictators” series is a Wallechinsky project. The democratic left lives at Parade!

I would have guessed Parade was having the late Ms. Bhutto discuss her favorite 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray.

I understand that the late Ms. Bhutto’s favorite TV series was “Gray’s Anatomy.” Not that US media would trivialize an important election, of course.

who really gets their foreign affairs from Parade?

Um, mds, that would be me, as I thought this post made painfully clear. This ghostly head is lookin’ right at you, dear.

28

Ted 01.08.08 at 1:31 pm

For a minute I thought that Michael was actually answering the question “Who really gets a parade of foreign affairs,” but sadly, no.

Comments on this entry are closed.