Tuesday, April 7, 2009

'Twas a wonderful life

The patient is not yet dead, but already the elegies have begun.

The Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper I used to work for, declared bankruptcy the other day. Its owners cheerily forecast revival after reorganization, but everybody knows the paper is moribund.

And so various staff members, present and past, have begun to post their memories of the place, some of them a little less egocentric than the others.

The best of these remembrances is by Roger Ebert, that fellow who long ago won a Pulitzer Prize and just kept getting better instead of coasting on his laurels as so many of the others have.

Roger has said it so well that there is no point in me, or anyone else, adding our voices to the chorus. His is not a dirge but a celebration of a life, the life of a once fine newspaper, and the wonderful, if sometimes self-absorbed, newsroom culture that surrounded it. True, we big-headed newsies tended to think of ourselves as the smartest and wittiest people in the world, but now and then we actually were.

Hats off to Roger. Hats off, too, to the funeral cortege as it passes by, but not just yet.

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