Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, February 21, 2015, Image 4

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    OPINION
A4 HERMISTONHERALD.COM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2015
EDITORIAL • COMMENTARY
HermistonHerald
VOLUME 109 ɿ NUMBER 15
JESSICA KELLER
EDITOR
jkeller@hermistonherald.com
541-564-4533
MAEGAN MURRAY
SEAN HART
SAM BARBEE
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KIM LA PLANT
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541-564-4532
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newsprint
Good for everybody
Are you dying U
to write your
own obituary?
A
re you an unsung
hero? Do those
you encounter not
appreciate the “real” you?
Must you always have the
last word?
Then you might be
interested in the new
trend spotted by USA
Today: self-penned
obituaries, also known
DV³VHO¿HRELWV´RU
“autobituaries.”
As someone who has
been chronicling some
semblance of his ups
and downs and opinions
over the past 16 years,
I probably shouldn’t
begrudge anyone else the
opportunity to write their
RZQ¿QDOWHVWDPHQWEXW,
feel obligated to point out
the pitfalls.
For one thing, the
earlier in life you start the
obituary, the more it’s just
one more nagging thing to
keep updated. Otherwise
an octogenarian will
pass away with the
remembrance “Just you
wait until the SECOND
half of kindergarten,
Maggie O’Day — you’ll
be my girlfriend sure.”
Perhaps someone will
start a public service
campaign to remind
people to update their
obituaries on New Year’s
Eve, when they replace
their smoke alarm
batteries. Of course
priorities might get
messed up. (“My greatest
accomplishment so far?
Photocopying my bottom
just now — without
throwing up more than
once.”)
Standard newspaper
obituaries can be boring,
but at least they’re
professional. Unless
someone does some
judicious editing of the
VHO¿HRELWVZHZLOO
be subjected to things
such as “Those stoopid
teacherz awl thawt eye
needed there lessins, butt
I kan xpress the S-ints of
KXH\HDPMXVV¿QH´
:KLOHVHO¿HRELWV
remain a novelty, you
can get away with an
“eat your heart out” or
“don’t you wish you
had paid more attention
to me while I was
alive?” attitude. When
EVERYBODY is trying
to be creative and brutally
frank, readers faced with
a sea of purple prose may
just think, “Hey, I wonder
ZKDW*DU¿HOGLVXSWR
today?”
There is the danger
of coming across as too
whiney or needy. As
DANNY TYREE
TYRADES!
Cagle columnist
Winston Churchill stated,
“History is written by
the victors.” People may
get the impression that
it should be “History is
written by the losers who
have too much time on
their hands.”
Get ready for hoary
obituary cliches to get a
“too much information”
rework, as in “He always
saw the best in people
— especially the internal
organs. Mmmmm.”
With no one to ensure
the accuracy of the obits,
fantasies, outright lies and
self-serving appraisals
(grassy knoll revelations,
never-revealed
ascendancy to the papacy,
etc.) will abound. Legions
of lawyers will be called
in to determine whether
DVHO¿HRELWLVUHDOO\WKH
¿QDOZRUGRUZKHWKHU
others mentioned in
it have a right to add
comments.
For instance, the
long-suffering deceased
PLJKW¿QDOO\RSHQXS
with, “Roscoe Noodleman
busted his hump for that
company for 30 years
without even a gold
watch.” And the former
employers might want to
add, “Our posthumous
thanks to Mr. Noodleman
for bringing a safety
hazard to our attention.
Our monthly safety
courses now include the
warning that leaning on
a broom for 30 years
while discussing Lakers
games can lead to busted
humps.”
7KRVHZKR¿OO
their obituaries with
raw emotion and
confessions may suffer
the consequences. (“I
guess my biggest regret is
having that secret affair
with my son’s wife. That,
or telling my daughter I
needed that $10,000 for
an operation instead of
to pay off my gambling
debts. I’ll bet you’re
going to give me the
CHEAP funeral now. Oh,
man!”)
— ©2015 Danny
Tyree. Danny welcomes
email responses at
tyreetyrades@aol.com
and visits to his Face-
book fan page “Tyree’s
Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly
column is distributed
exclusively by Cagle
Cartoons Inc. newspaper
syndicate
matilla and Port
of Umatilla
RI¿FLDOVGHVHUYH
a great deal of credit
for hammering out an
agreement to resolve the
zoning dispute over a
piece of land currently
owned by the port.
The Port of Umatilla
board approved the
agreement last week,
and the City Council
gave the OK Tuesday,
putting an end to the
disagreement, which at
times had become fairly
acrimonious.
The dispute stemmed
from denial of the port’s
plans to develop the
property on Bud Draper
Road because city
RI¿FLDOVPDLQWDLQHGWKH
land was never zoned
industrial despite a
map designation to the
FRQWUDU\3RUWRI¿FLDOV
on the other hand,
argued, regardless of
whether a consultant
made the designation
in error, the city had to
abide by its own maps.
For a time, the dispute
JESSICA KELLER
HERMISTON HERALD
Editor
seemed destined to be
decided by the Land
Use Board of Appeals.
That was never an
ideal outcome because
any ruling would have
resulted in dissapointment
for at least one of
the parties involved,
which would have done
nothing to improve the
relationship between the
city and the port.
Right or wrong, the
whole issue had devolved
into one of principle and
ego, and a lot was at
risk. A good relationship
between the city of
Umatilla and the Port of
Umatilla is necessary for
the health of Umatilla
and the region. Industrial
development helps
sustain the tax base, but
Umatilla has a vested
interest in making the
city a place in which
people want to live.
A breakdown in the
relationship between
the two parties could
have jeopordized future
projects or, at the very
least, made future
development more of a
challenge.
Good things happen
when level heads
prevail, however. City
DQGSRUWRI¿FLDOVPHW
in a series of meetings
with a mediator to see if
some resolution that was
agreeable to both sides
could be reached.
This was a very
reasonable approach, and
everyone involved should
be congratulated for
setting aside differences
and working together
for the good of everyone
involved.
Both governing boards
have now signed off on
the agreement. The city
will buy approximately
16 acres of land,
including the disputed
property that belongs
to the port, and decide
what to do with it at a
later time. The port will
be able to wash its hands
of the property and the
headache and dispute
surrounding it and
receive compensation
to the tune of $176,000.
According to General
Manager Kim Puzey, the
port has other land that
would suit the project
initially planned, a
distribution warehouse,
and will hopefully retain
the $1.5 million grant it
received from the state
for its construction. No
doubt, $176,000 will also
come in handy for other
projects.
Mostly, however, the
agreement is a big step
in getting the city and
port’s relationship back
on track, especially since
they now know, if they
ever run into problems
again, it is possible for
them to work together
WR¿QGDUHVROXWLRQ7KDW
is something that should
reassure everyone, and
area residents, as well.
— Jessica Keller is
the editor of the Herm-
iston Herald. She can
be reached at jkeller@
Misinterpreting Brian Williams’ misremembering
S
o, NBC’s Brian Williams is
off his anchor desk for six
months — wanna bet it’ll be
a LOT longer than that? — and
has gone from being a respected
anchor to a godsend to comedy
writers, internet ridicule, and
Jerry Seinfeld punch lines.
Up until this month, Williams
seemed to be a 21st century
anchorman descendent of David
Brinkley and Walter Cronkite.
His anchor stint and credibility
were cut short when he admitted
he “misremembered” being shot
down in a helicopter in Iraq in
2003. NBC put him on unpaid
leave, amid reports that there
may be more instances of (ahem)
memory flaw.
Williams wasn’t merely the
brand name for NBC News. His
narrative was what the network
was aggressively selling.
He was someone who had
“been there.” A recent NBC ad in
The Week showed a front shot of
Williams smiling with his hand
on the shoulders of a serviceman
and declared: “Some battle scars
are worn on the inside. And for
anyone who’s been there, there’s
a secret. It doesn’t harden you,
it makes you more human. He’s
been there. He’ll be there. NBC
Nightly News: 10-Years with
Brian Williams.”
The Internet is now exploding
fake photos of Williams “there.”
Williams in the death car with
JFK in Dallas ... on the moon
... at Yalta with World War II
allied leaders ... with Lincoln
and his generals. Soon we’ll
likely see Williams “there” with
Clark Gable on the set of Gone
with the Wind after the shoot
— or with John Wilkes Booth
after the shoot. You Tube has a
Hitler “Downfall” parody with
the murderous Nazi raging upon
learning that Williams is gone.
Many analysts blame Williams’
JOE GANDELMAN
INDEPENDENT’S EYE
Cagle columnist
progressively transforming
himself from the NBC Peacock
into Pinocchio on his slipping
into the entertainer mode,
appearing on talk shows and even
lobbying to replace Jay Leno. But
that doesn’t explain it.
New York Times columnist
Maureen Dowd said NBC knew
Williams was a “ticking” time
bomb with his “pathological
... Hemingwayesque”
embellishments but no one pulled
him in.
On his blog, NYU Journalism
Professor Jay Rosen notes that
signs suggest NBC was complicit
as far back as 2003 in knowing
Williams’ account wasn’t entirely
accurate.
The r-e-a-l reason Williams
became what he has become is
that he’s the latest example of
someone whose career advanced
because of solid journalistic or
pundit qualities, which were
changed by his weakness and our
21st century media culture.
To advance and market
his brand (his personality) he
jettisoned the same qualities that
allowed him to advance to that
level. He won fame and fortune
but left other virtues behind.
We’ve seen this before.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly
was a solid, award-winning
local journalist who advanced
to ABC News. When he left
ABC for the syndicated Inside
Edition show biz news show,
he slowly began shedding his
former persona, which you can
see it in his infamous “WE’LL
DO IT LIVE!!” off-the-air-rant
on You Tube. Today, he’s Fox
News’ biggest bombastic money
maker, and the solid journalist of
old only shines through in some
serious interviews.
Chris Matthews was once a
superb print political columnist.
Once he got on MSNBC, he
turned into the interrupting,
cartoonish caricature who
shamelessly nags and hypes
viewers to buy his latest book.
Also on MSNBC: one-time
listenable liberal talker Rachel
Maddow is often unwatchable,
opening her show with a
looooong lead (you scream, “Get
to the point!!!”) and repeating
concepts several times, while
formerly serious liberal writer
Chris Hayes now smugly states
beliefs rather than attempts to
seriously make a case.
Once Williams and others
break into the top ranks, our
media culture becomes like a
massive Cuisinart. And many
don’t have strong enough
ingredients called “principles”
and “professional standards”
not to lose their original, more
serious qualities.
You might be tempted to
paraphrase Shakespeare and say,
“The fault, dear Brian, is not in
our stars but in ourselves.” But
I’d amend that to add: “... and
in being absorbed, re-shaped,
changed and homogenized by our
media/entertainment culture.”
The real lesson here is in
another quote from The Bard: “To
thine own self be true.”
— Copyright 2015 Joe Gandel-
man, distributed exclusively by
Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndi-
cate. Joe Gandelman is a veteran
journalist who wrote for newspa-
pers overseas and in the United
States. He is Editor-in-Chief of
The Moderate Voice, an Internet
hub for independents, centrists
and moderates. He also writes for
The Week’s online edition. Follow
him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/
joegandelman