Your RDA of Irony

Monday Musings


It is now is official: I would be ashamed to seen in public with the Chicago Tribune. In its policy of cutting corners, the Tribune has debuted a new format. Imagine if the National Enquirer were combined with My Weekly Reader. Well, it is now available at Chicago newstands.

The NEW Tribune has big pictures with little stories. So a picture is not only worth a thousand words, it is also much cheaper. Even the truncated stories are in a more elementary prose. What a compliment to my reading comprehension and attention span.

The old Tribune was a repellent reactionary but–like Henry James–it was properly dressed and grammatical. This new Tribune has lost none of its bias but it now is a garish lout. There is a difference between being cheap and sleazy. As a further affront to my intelligence, the Tribune is bellowing how fashionable and up-to-date this format is. Really….imbecile chic. The Tribune’s new format has all the charm and style of truckstop gonorrhrea.


Speaking of venereal diseases, the drama class of a local high school will be performing “Rent.” Yes, the pampered teenagers of Highland Park, Illinois will be portraying a multi-libidinal assortment of AIDs-afflicted drug addicts living in slums. I don’t think that the production is supposed to be a parody–although in this version I expect Mimi and Musetta to be discussing whether “Crate & Barrel” or “Williams-Sonoma” makes the better heroin cooker.

Now, I don’t consider myself a prude. I have been known to use gonorrhea as a punchline. BUT is “Rent” a suitable choice for a high school play? I certainly don’t think that the high school repertoire should be limited to “Our Town“. Believe me, I have endured the opposite extreme. At my Chicago high school, the faculty advisor of the National Honor Society presented us with a choice of two topics for our induction: a tribute to either Walt Disney or Bob Hope. (So a musical tribute to venereal disease and drugs would have been out of the question.)

However, I think that other musicals might be more suitable for sophisticated teenagers and their naive parents. With Cole Porter, you have wonderful music, dazzling wit and–if the teenagers demand prurience–barely disguised alcoholism and homosexuality. The high school production can even augment Rodgers and Hammerstein with a little post-modern perspective: insinuate Captain von Trapp is molesting his children.

But “Rent” is just too sordid; however, I could offer this compromise. This would be the same basic story except the setting is now 1840s Paris, the derelicts are now artists, and we change AIDs to the far more appealing tuberculosis. I could even recommend a musical score to go with it.

  1. Bob Kincaid says:

    Gee, Eugene! Don’t forget the absinthe and laudanum! Nothing makes for a tragic tales of forlorn artistes like those two!

  2. Bob: Absinthe of forethought! Indulging only in ice cream and soda, no wonder I am a failure as a forlorn artist.

  3. Mary Ann Jung says:

    What next? Will the Tribune put “LOL” or “OMG” underneath so readers also know how to react properly to each story? Only a matter of time before drug companies create a drug for thinking-it’s obviously painful for many…

  4. Brent Hoffmann says:

    The new Tribune’s liter than lite, a quicker read than USA Today, and as meatless as the anorexic Chicago Sun-Times. But ‘ah sure do like them big ‘ol pikchurs.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Hi Eugene, It looks to me like the Trib has taken the emphasis off breaking news and put its money on News You Can Use. Love those helpful tips and hyperlinks. Meanwhile, the NYT is doing an interesting interactive map following the WPA era state guides. This time around: depression era FL.

  6. Rothgar says:

    How about chomping down some opium. Heard that is how Bizet constructed Symphony Fantastique.

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