Monday, July 9, 2007

A5: "Sunny Arizona to increase use of solar power "

Here's the story that should have been on A1 in place of the divorce feature. Of course, it has to be from AP because the Courier editors are not exercised to devote budget to the local angles of this important change in state energy policy.

This is the sort of thing that really affects all of us, now and more so in the future, and our local paper should be helping our community understand its implications and opportunities.

A1: "Divorce 101 leads people through dissolution process"

Paula Rhoden turns in what seems to be an installment in the Courier's continuing irregular series on county services that contrasts with the previous press releases and love letters in that she stays off the personalities and provides some substantial information. In fact it seems she experienced the divorce class, took notes and delivers most of the info the actual students get.

It's more like a magazine feature than a news story, probably rating layout on B1, and the Tammy Wynette reference makes me wince, but Paula gets a cookie all the same for assiduous public service on a tough subject.

A1: "Movie night: Arizona Mobile Cinema recreates old-time drive-in feeling"

Today's front-page photo box is an unabashed promotion of a commercial venture. It's particularly irritating given that the Courier largely ignored Terry Stone when he was showing free movies on the square with no commercial interest. But these out-of-towners looking for money from 'sponsors' get the red-carpet treatment. Typical.

Think business section, guys.

Amster: "Lesson for the day: Life cannot exist without water"

OK, Coleridge is a little cooler than Shane, but I still don't need a cultural cliche to start an opinion piece. I hope this is just a lapse and Randall's not being infected by the Courier's editorial stylebook.

Randall runs down a series of unhappy experiences related to water and ruminates on how it will feel to run out of it as we grow our communities into unsustainability. This is all good, though as usual I'd like to see less lamenting and more leadership to action.

Overall the structure isn't bad for delivering some good ideas. But let's not neglect the core craft here, and that's writing. That final mixed metaphor closes the column with the resounding thud of a falling elephant load.

Editorial: "Gun designers provide tools to protect freedom"

Well, well, I come back to the blog from a little break and the unnamed Courier editor comes up with a piece so stereotypically hackneyed it might be taken for satire if not for its top-left spot in the layout.

Right at the top we have the standard gratuitous reference to a cowboy movie, in a lame attempt to illuminate a hack idea that the editor apparently mistakes for sage insight. This is of course in defense of the expanding production and willy-nilly distribution of deadly weapons for all, on the occasion of the birthday of the AK-47. For me this model designation instantly evokes pictures of African child soldiers, and of course in unmodified form it is completely illegal within the US borders, but that doesn't phase the editor. The local angle here utterly evades me. The editor sees these weapons as tools of freedom, missing entirely that they are far more often tools of oppression and hate. Is this really appropriate use of a small-town editorial column?

The kicker is that all the while the editor is intoning stentoriously about the virtues of this death device, he lets slip just how much he knows about the subject by consistently misspelling "Kalashnikov." Way to go, man.