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THE TRIBUNE'S *REAL* VIEW: "Terms of diminishment"

From blogger to activist
 

COLUMBIA, 4/22/16 (Oop Ed) -- Pardon my little humblebrag, but this should be exciting -- for you.   

Jimmy didn't want me to, but I'm inviting my loyal readers to a first-ever, exclusive, insider look at how our editorial board makes decisions about how we cover the news -- and how I opine about it. 

It's 9 a.m. and the board -- me, Jimmy, Andy, and others who've asked to remain un-named -- file into our Big Meeting Room.   You can't see us because -- as you've no doubt noticed driving by our offices -- we have these mirrored windows where we can look out -- but you can't look in. 

That's one reason what I'm about to tell you is so darned exclusive.  

Every editorial meeting usually has a theme, and this morning's theme is "Terms of Diminishment". 

What's that mean?   Simple.  We use terms of diminishment to describe people who challenge the status quo or criticize establishment types -- like us!   Terms like  "Naysayers""Flamethrowers", "Dissidents", and "Negative Nellies."  

Today's meeting started with "blogger," but as soon as I spoke up, the you-know-what hit the fan

"You can't even utter -- let alone write -- his name here.  You know that, Dad!   How many times do we have to remind you?"

That's my boy Andy, pretending like this is his paper.   Breaking news:  it ain't.  "Blogger Mike Martin.  I'm writin' it, and that's all there is to it."    

"Dad!  OMG!   Why even have these meetings?   Why even pretend like you care what we think?"
 
"Jimmy?"   I turned to my loyal managing editor. 

"As I've said so many times before:   You're the guy buyin' ink by the barrel," he said.   "And what's that old expression?"

"Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel!"    The whole room -- except Andy -- said it together.    It was magnificent!   

I got my term of diminishment in, and in my Mayoral endorsement column to boot.    

Next term of diminishment:  "activist"

"Dad -- I know you like calling Mayor Treece an 'activist' because you think it reminds people of John Clark.   But -- that other newspaper has been using 'activist' -- on other people.   This could lead to serious confusion.   Pretty soon, everyone's an activist!"

That *other* newspaper.  Hmm.  Sounds like Georgie trying to steal my thunder again.    

"I've got an idea."   This from one of the young folks in the meeting.   "We copyright our terms of diminishment.   If we use a word, we OWN it!"

Everybody looked at everybody else.   You could have heard a pin drop.  Even Jimmy rubbed his chin, which usually means it's a good idea.  

"That's effin' brilliant," one of the other young folks said.   "We copyright words like 'activist'.   And 'blogger'." 

"And 'smallish,'" I said. 

"Don't forget 'malcontents'."   

"If that other paper uses any of our copyrighted diminishers, we sue."

"How about we copyright 'Mike Martin'"?   One of the young folks again.   You could have heard a pin drop. 
 
"That's effin' brilliant."    I don't think that was Jimmy, but he had that sly-dog look on his face where I just know it's a great idea.
 

-- H. Jay Dubya, III 

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