The uniform pants of the ambulance workers on the sitcom Doc Martin, in Port Isaac, Cornwell, UK, are Kelly green. Right now, cherry wood is out and white kitchens are the rage. Blue flashing lights are on the top of police cars in Chicago, and pink is sometimes painted on prison walls for its calming effects.
Yellow Journalism, or sensationalism, was named from a cartoon in the 1890s, “Hogan’s Alley,” which featured a “Yellow Kid.” Today “Pink Slime Journalism,” or poor-quality journalism, pushing a political agenda, derives its name from the product that is used as filler in processed meats. Pink slime fills in the cracks when community journalism is absent.
While I understand the name, I happen to like the color pink — bubblegum and softness — a gentle color with a little youthful casualness. Bummer to see it used in such an unpleasant style.
Recently, a newspaper owned by Brian Timpone, who now lives in Western Springs, and Dan Proft, who lives in Chicago, has been gaining steam around the area. The West Cook News, a local example of Pink Slime Journalism, uses false bylines, fabricated quotes, mug shots of people and misleading information. With a veil of “local” and even a “donate” button on the website, it lacks a phone number that reaches their offices, an address or even an email that will get a response.
So as the circulation manager here, I have been fielding all sorts of calls from locals in all the communities we serve who are trying to reach the West Cook headquarters. Their hope is that I might know a real contact there. Phone call after phone call, I am encouraged that so many people are upset by the uninvited, addressed paper arriving in their mailboxes.
It reminds me of the election day where great effort was put into getting hoax referenda on the ballot which would fill up the referendum space, thereby blocking any possibility for voters to exercise their say on video gaming here. Forest Parkers are more accustomed to slimy political campaigns — Rauner’s face with false quotes on local school board elections, suggestions that Forest Park would annex Maywood, crying children with false political quotes, all sorts of immature themes and bizarre logic. I collect mine in a fishbowl.
The goal of these fliers and pink-slime journalism is to encourage mistrust, create falsehoods encourage hate and fear.
With my newfound friends who call up with vitriol about that newspaper, we all agree that fighting back with anger only keeps fueling hate. One person thought it might be appropriate to mail the papers back to Brian and Dan at their home address, or send them a note, unsigned. Another suggested sending a copy of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Don’t Change on My Account.”
I’ve always wanted to build a public sculpture out of the political hate fliers that come in around election time, so let’s think about that as productive reaction to those political candidates who strive to destroy and dishearten a community.
In the meantime, I’ll just focus on the pumpkin growing in my yard. It is just a wonderful gift, changing every day and enthusiastically turning orange. In just a couple of weeks, she’ll join the Invasion of the Scarecrows in front of my house, sincerely, so be sure to wave when you pass by.