Favorite


Evolution

A sunny springtime Sunday and I woke as Gregor Samsa, only this time as a giant slug. You may know the feeling if you’re large and old. Got me to thinking, in the olden times, at this stage I am dead meat. Something sleek and swift would be having me for brunch, just about guaranteed. I could run but I couldn’t hide, and, OK, I couldn’t run, either. Whatever would just have its way with the ol’ moi lard and gristle, the supersized residue of too many fried potatoes and too much rented beer. Wouldn’t be pretty but it wouldn’t last long.



Belaboring the obvious

As the Little Rock murder rate soared last week, Mayor Jim Dailey called a news conference to announce that residents of the city need to find a way to resolve their differences that doesn’t involve shooting one another.

Spoken with the confidence that comes from knowing that you could get an amen on that one from just about anybody, even insane people, or demented televangelists, or Scientologist actors, or others without a lick of sense, like Alice Stewart.

He did risk censure by the NRA, which would’ve wondered what he had against firearms: If Little Rockers are going to kill each other anyway, why not with guns? How else can you get the job done and affirm a constitutional right at the same time?



News beacon

“We don’t consider the Arkansas Times a news operation,” Alice Stewart, press aide to the governor, smarted off one day last week. Elsewhere this same Alice Stewart was said to have said that she and the governor don’t consider the Arkansas Times a “legitimate” news organization.

The governor himself chimed in eventually on this stupid theme, who the hell knows why. They didn’t damn the Arkansas Times to fiery perdition but that seemed to be the drift.

You might wonder what was going on, what they had on their feebles. Here at the Times we wondered too. I mean, all the legendary statehouse ’gogues used to diss critical newpapers but they always did it for a reason, usually a dastardly one, and with some style. It was never such pointless unentertaining crap as this.

Apparently they’d been stewing, and wanted to share the notion that this little handout horsefly newspaper is an illegitimate non-news operation for reasons multitudinous, one of them being that we commit such heinous crimes against conventional journalism as allowing reporters to insert their personal opinions into our quote unquote news stories. Or they wanted somebody to agree with that notion. Or they wanted somebody to give a rat’s ass.

We have committed that offense occasionally in 30 years of covering Arkansas news, true enough. But we never meant nothing by it. Never tried to fool anybody by simultaneous fair and balanced protestations and such. For another example, we never salaamed at objectivity while romancing the Boy Martyr on the high page or burying pretzel-headed defenses of Orval Faubus at Central High in the ed beat copy. We just sort of let the chips fall, no apologies, and if that’s bad, then aye, our bad, our bad. …

(Hold that thought for a moment. A washing machine pipe just broke and hot sudsy rinse water is sloshing across the kitchen and dining room floor like the ’27 Mississippi River flood. Jeez, I need to sandbag levees or do some damned thing. I’ll be back….)

OK, only took a couple hours, so where were we? I think I was about to wax platitudinous. To assure Loyal Reader that the Arkansas Times really and truly is a genuine, bona fide news operation, despite what these gubernator soreheads would have you believe. I know that’s the truth because I’ve given 20-odd years to reviewing the evidence.

News by the buttload has passed through these somber pages. News that was sometimes stale but nearly always presented in earnest. A formidable byline roster lacks hardly any of the deserving names. While I was bailing and mopping and oathing and slipping and falling and ranching my back there in the other room a while ago, I was trying to decide which names on that roster were my favorites. The kid from Texarkana who styled himself the Armey Archerd of the Arklatex. The crackerbarrel nonagenarian from an Ozarks hamlet that had passed from existence nearly a century before. The elusive and cosmic Omo Fevers Bartlett. Bauxite football games 25 years after they were played were news to us. We ran poems with metaphors that were so wretched that we thought they amounted to news. We ran so much news about the news — notably the newspaper war — that it got to be just pitiful. Our bird news — no brag, just fact — was as good as bird news gets.

Back in better times than these, even the future governor saw us in a kinder light. He was a good source in our coverage of such news stories as the struggle between the crazies and the not-quite-as-crazies for control of the Southern Baptist Convention. Sometimes, sometimes we wonder what happened to that nice preacher-feller, no such grasper then, Jekyll before Hyde crawled out.


Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday and another open line

    Got anything for the open line?
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

    Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • Football is king, Bentonville edition

    Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
    • Jul 23, 2017
  • More »

More by Bob Lancaster

  • Wretched rez

    I had some New Year's Rez(olutions) for 2016 but that ship sailed so I'm renaming them my Spring Rez or my All-Occasion Whatevers and sending them along.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Nod to Bob

    A look back at the weird and wonderful world of Bob Lancaster.
    • Mar 21, 2013
  • On black history

    If you're going to devote an entire month to appreciating the history of a color, it might as well be the color black.
    • Feb 14, 2013
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Bob Lancaster

  • Lancaster retires

    Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.

    • Feb 21, 2013
  • On black history

    If you're going to devote an entire month to appreciating the history of a color, it might as well be the color black.
    • Feb 14, 2013
  • Making it through

    Made it through another January, thank the Lord.
    • Feb 6, 2013
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • If God felt it necessary to replace the ten commandments, he could do it like…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Football for UA Little Rock

    • He's BSC. Students and tuition-paying parents should be VERY vocal that a football program won't…

    • on July 23, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • I have attended community meetings about the recent spike in violence in LR, and police…

    • on July 22, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation