The idiots' club

Dateline: Sat 03 Oct 2009

This blog has hammerd away, since 2006, against Gannett and corporate journalim.

But it's time to move on.

I'm confident abuses by Gannett will continue. As long as those are documented, by Gannetoid and other blogs, and by reporters in the ranks, I will share that outrage.

But I'm not convinced --- despite all the evidence -- that daily newspapers will just disappear. My personal opinion is that the Indianapolis Star is a very successful enterprise, financially speaking. I also happen to believe that other newspapers are making money, and they will march on. I have no hard evidence, just a gut belief in the importance and vitality of civic life, which is what makes newspapers viable.

So where does that leave us?

This evening, making an Oberweis call -- I help my husband Guy with Oberweis, which I believe is a good product -- I ran into the Star's former political writer Patrick Traub. He told me about the Idiots' Club.

For some time, he said, he and other former writers at the Star -- Dave Raimondini, Jim Newland and Susan Hanafee -- met regularly and occasionally wallowed in daily-newspaper nostalgia. Then one day, Traub said, they had this realization: (paraphrasing)

"Hey, we all have good jobs now....we have jobs we like. For the most part, we get to do what we want, with bosses who are OK. And guess what -- we make twice what we did at the Star!!! So, we decided we were all idiots (for all the nostalgia about the old jobs, with newspapers). And we called ourselves....the idiots' club."

Count me in. Idiots' Club.

I will continue to write, but I often find issues today that are far more compelling -- believe it or not, a column in the Criterion by former Criterion editor John Fink on the distinction between religion and spirituality.

"You have probably seen, or perhaps heard, someone comment on how he or she is 'spiritual' but  not religious.' It seems to be am excuse for seeking spirutal experiences while avoiding any type of organized religiion..."

Later, Fink says, "Religion is that part of the virtue of justice in which we human beings publicly and privately give God the worship due to him. When we do that, we combine spirituality with religion. We become both spiritual and religious."

That, at this stage of life, seems more of an interest than beating up on Gannett.

I still read the Star daily, as well as the NYT and other blogs. I won't give up on journalism or anti-establishment perspectives on journalism.

But it is time to move on -- other topics, other interests, other perspectives.

Change is what makes the world go round, a wise old editor once said. This blog will change with my perspective.

Thanks to the Idiots' Club, and the many folks who have moved on before me, I'm ready.



Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"It seems to be am excuse for seeking spirutal experiences while avoiding any type of organized religiion..."

And why is that a Bad Thing?

Spiritual beliefs, belief in The Force, a unifying cosmology, a Prime Being, can legitimately exist without benefit of organized religion. OR, as you know, has rewrit history and its own rule books for its own benefit.
I don't doubt OR gives comfort and solace to people seeking such through its doors, but to say that one cannot be spritual without belief in organized religion is is Fink's proposition.

2009-10-03 08:42:07

hendy [Member] said:

Various phrases come to mind:

1 You go grrrl!
2 Godspeed
3 Keep on keeping on

I'm sure there are more.

2009-10-03 09:03:01

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

What Hendy said. Double.

Does the club allow former scribes, who didn't work at The Star, to join?

Ink flows through our veins, whatever we end up doing to support our lifestyles. Once a drop of ink goes to the circulatory system, it never leaves.

Until the final -30-

Peace out sistah.

2009-10-03 09:28:33

hendy [Member] said:


We need to start the Holladay Inn for Ruth (and Guy). It sounds like it might be a bar some place on the N side of Indy for itinerant and pithy tin-types.

Could be fun. Or-- better still-- an online group somewhere. Here's a hoist of a virtual beer!

2009-10-03 12:49:17

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hmmmm...not sure where to host that group, Hendy. Lemme ponder that for awhile...

First thing that comes to mind is. Marco's Tuesday night (Cheap Meat Night). Excellent Margauritas, or so I'm told. Tea-totaler here.

Which makes me, I guess, the Designated Driver.

If they won't let us in the Idiots Club, maybe we could form the Idiots Club Auxiliary.

2009-10-03 15:02:22

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, here is an idea of something for you new to explore in your writings. But first you will need to go see a movie:

My wife and I saw Michael Moore's new documentary today about capitalism. It was the best national journalism I have seen since Watergate. It reminded me of the once-promising "advocacy journalism" of the '70s.

I hope people won't blast me here for promoting this film until AFTER they have seen it. Then, if you see it and find fault, blast away.

2009-10-03 23:32:55

hendy [Member] said:

Blasting you without evidence has become the unfortunate American Way, WB. But I'll be unAmerican and reserve judgment. I'll never get into politics this way.....

2009-10-04 07:53:25

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Thanks Hendy. Maybe you can start a new third party - we need one.
Dan Carpenter's column in today's (Sunday) Star:

2009-10-04 11:49:14

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Dan regularly hits a solid double, occasionally a triple.

Today's column was a home run. One of his best ever.

Whitebeard--we don't need a third party. We need the two existing ones to return to their roots.

Two is enough, if they're doing their jobs.

2009-10-04 16:18:06

hendy [Member] said:

Frank Rich hits that nerve, too.

What a blazing sense of idiots; most liberalisms find a brick wall when profits are at stake.

You see, this is the difference: liberalism and socialism and conservatism are political terms. Capitalism is an economic term, and occasionally socialism is an economic term.

The terms are used in the same breath, as though they mean the same thing, and they don't. I'm a fiscal conservative with a realistic view on taxation and the need to address the socially and financially incompetent. But I'm a social liberal that's inclusive. But then, I'm for universal health care, so I'm apparently a socialist, too. Too bad I'm not a commie. Makes my bumper stickers feel lonely.

2009-10-04 18:51:29

jersey [unverified] said:

I spoke with a minister once about my struggle with religion vs spirituality.
She asked why does it have to be a struggle? Why can't you have both?
I liked that answer.

2009-10-04 20:51:45

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

Most of us "idiots" ate and breathed The Star every day of our lives for years -- decades. It takes a while to detox and then, one day, you realize, you have moved on.

2009-10-05 10:30:05

news junkie [Member] said:

Martha Teichner looked at religion and spirituality on CBS' Sunday Morning yesterday:;featuredPost-PE

2009-10-05 11:11:55

Star Geezer [unverified] said:

We'd like to move on...
but there's all that nostalgia for when newspapers mattered in this town.

For remembering ECP's dictum about telling the truth, advertisers be damned.

It's kinda like remembering an idyllic childhood.

(We screen out the bad stuff, like the downplaying of the riots along Indiana Avenue and the hyping of Dan Quayle and....)

2009-10-05 11:29:11

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"Religion" is a very sensitive subject to talk about these days, moreso than any other time that I remember in my nearly six decades of living.

But here is my own personal perspective. Your mileage may vary.

Spirituality is what a person EXPERIENCES when they connect with God.

Religion is what someone DOES in an effort to try to connect with God. (I'm talking "doing" rituals and traditions and customs here; not "doing" in the form of kindness, compassion and charitable actions).

I personally tend to gravitate to the experiencing side of all things spiritual and to avoid "religion" as much as possible.

2009-10-05 11:47:24

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Thanks for the last paragraph, Geezer, or I was gonna go all ugly on ya...

ECP may have advocated the truth, but like all of us, he was selective. The only trouble is, he owned a powerful vehicle for that selective advocacy.

What he and his buddies did to Birch Bayh in the 1980 Senate campaign was damned near criminal. It was all petty retribution of Bayh's opposition to the Geist-Morse Water Co. projects. Which ECP and his buds, the Moseses et al, favored. And which enriched--guess who--the same folks. At the expense of IWC ratepayers.

And it was a final knife-in-the-back for Birch, who beat ECP's good buddy Homer Capehart in 1962 with a clever jungle and tireless campaigning.

I miss the good 'ole days, too. But pelase don't glamorize ECP's role. He was human, and subejct to standard human frailties.

2009-10-05 11:48:29

Star Geezer [unverified] said:

ECP was human? As Gomer Pyle would say, golleee!

2009-10-05 13:30:43

news junkie [Member] said:

TTT -- in the same spirit as you suggest people not glamorize, try not to constantly vilify.

2009-10-06 00:35:02

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

ok, junkie
whatever you say

2009-10-06 04:16:07

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