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OPINION | EDITORIAL: Out of Utah

An editorial board says something January 18, 2022 at 3:01 a.m.


Maybe opinion is alive and well in American opinion sections after all. And in newspapers, yet. Maybe not all opinion has migrated over to the cable channels. And some of this opinion is even found in newspapers with editorial boards.

Case in point: Utah.

Ooowee! What are they putting in the coffee at The Salt Lake Tribune? Whatever it is, sneak it into the rest of the newsrooms across America. We don't know the caffeine standards of awful newsroom coffee made with sink water, but the stuff in Salt Lake City must be 90 proof. If Utah state law allows it.

Apparently our colleagues out west are just about fed up with covid--as are the rest of us. But the Trib seems more fed up than others. It's called on the governor to call out the state's National Guard to . . . . Well, why should we paraphrase/interpret/water down the paper's fine prose? Let them tell it, with the bark off:

"Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor's next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.

"But it may be too late for that, politically and medically."

That's not out of context. Gentle Reader can find the editorial at this link:

arkansasonline.com/utahleaders

What a joy it is to read that editorial. It takes a line, as Mr. Mencken told us, his unworthy heirs. Too often American editorials just take up space. They're the cold beet soup of the newspaper's 5-course meal: good for you, sure, but you're not about to touch it. And hope it doesn't leak on the rest of the stuff. But every now and then, inspiration! Or at least irritation. And the writer comes out in the editorialist. And the rest of us in the business clap from afar.

Of course ... .

Of course, any governor who'd use troops to keep people inside would be as crazy as a bessie bug.

But what's wrong with crazy in opinion now and then? Too many characters have disappeared from newsrooms already. Used to be, the papers were full of crazy. We knew a paste-up man who had a reputation for stabbing people in the hand with any tool within reach if they'd dare to touch his page. It may have been more reputation than true, but he seemed to relish the rumors. And if that's not crazy ... .

The librarian at a newspaper in another state who'd karate-chop a byline file folder if it wasn't put up properly. The editor who (mis)used the language so often the air stayed blue over the newspaper's block. Not long ago, newsrooms didn't just have characters, they had character. And crazy just somehow, almost naturally, found its way into journalism.

Now we might get letters to the editor for even using the word "crazy," because it might offend.

Kudos to The Salt Lake Tribune for getting everybody all worked up. We get the feeling that most editorial boards would be dead set against that. In fact, one reason for editorial boards might be to dilute any opinion so's as to not get readers worked up. And American editorial sections are worse for it.

We get the feeling that no politician in America is going to agree with the Utah paper's suggestion here. We certainly don't. But it is wholly a pleasure to see that opinion still exists. Even crazy opinion.

Crazy as a bessie bug.


Print Headline: Out of Utah

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