Monday, May 19, 2008

This is almost too perfect

Imagine you are assigned to write a fake editorial in the voice of the Town Crier. And it has to reference the earthquake in China AND the cyclone in Burma. I bet it would look something like this.


Every once in a while, the paper caricatures itself so well that the only possible explanation is that someone at the printer slipped in a mock article for their own amusement or that the writers took it upon themselves to satirize the publisher's world view. They could have done a better job with the headline -- something along the lines of "Don't let poverty, death of others get you down" -- but perhaps they were just trying to be subtle.

Recent news beyond Los Altos has been less than sunny, let’s face it: The national economy remains shaky, gas is officially more than $4 a gallon, the death toll from last week’s cyclone disaster in Myanmar could exceed 100,000 and another disaster close behind it – the 7.8 earthquake that hit China on Monday, killing nearly 9,000 people.

I'll give you some time to guess why the paper is bringing up the earthquake in China. (And ignore the disastrous punctuation and the tragicomically low alleged death toll -- I'm posting this at least a week after the editorial went to press).

Did you guess yet? Here's a hint.

All the more reason to count our blessings on the local scene.

This is some great character-writing here by the forger -- bringing up terrible calamities simply so that we can dismiss their importance by discussing our money. Can you think of the last time even tens of thousands of Los Altans died in a cyclone? I can't. We're rich. Leave us alone, world.

Certainly, the high quality of life in Los Altos is well documented, but here’s another thing to consider: Numerous plans and projects under way bid to make this community even better.

In the interests of time, let's use a mathematical equation to express the relative importance the forger places on these numerous plans and projects:

(Burmese cyclone + Chinese earthquake + foreclosures + high gas prices) < (New flowers and plum trees on San Antonio Road + two new downtown buildings + plans to sell lot at State and Main + Safeway expansion + post office replacement + new Loyola Corners landscaping + possible civic center renovation)

I just saved you six paragraphs.

It’s also encouraging that Los Altos residents don’t act like they live in a bubble, but are compassionate and continue to help others. Witness, for instance, the bake sale in front of Starbucks in downtown Los Altos last weekend in support of the Myanmar survivors.

Los Altos residents don't act like they live in a bubble? Sure, the city incorporated mainly to keep out low-income residents, and it has pass laws banning Mexicans and Gypsies from the town, and its local paper repeatedly writes about how great it is that bad things happen other places but not here (even when they actually do happen here). But we had a bake sale.

I like "It's a Wonderful Life" as much as any Jew I know, but this is a little too much.

While the structural improvements are nice and we look forward to them, ultimately we’re proud of the quality of people that make Los Altos the great community it is.

This conclusion is another reason I think this editorial might be a fraud. I suspect the real Town Crier cares more about the structural improvements.


BigDra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BigDra said...

This editorial is absolutely disgusting. I hope that its not real because its so offensive. But based on what a complete piece of shit the LATC is, I think this editorial is for real.

Our town should be ashamed of itself for having a fucking bake sale in front of Starbucks to help the cyclone victims. What a fucking joke in a town that's so filthy rich. I hope those miserable fuckers at LATC read this.

Anonymous said...

Well said Bigdra. The Town Crier is a garbage paper, if it can even pass at being called that. It's just a Republican-bent, purple prose wielding, out of touch piece of crap. They shouldn't even be commenting about world events, which the apparent "editors" know nothing about. Seriously, this is embarrassing this shit is in print. Oh well, it's not like any intelligent person cares about the Town Crier.

Anonymous said...

the sichuan quake was 7.9 and 8.0 by some estimates, that's 30 times greater than the 1989 loma prieta quake. oh and the death toll is at 50,000 and climbing. get it straight man. this editorial just goes to reinforce the fact that rich los altos does live in a bubble and cares more about its shallow civic projects than raising awareness about immense human suffering. gross.

Stewart said...

Letter sent to the LATC:

In the face of massive world tragedies are there times to sit back, and smile at the forthcoming plum trees?
Perhaps on Thanksgiving.
Los Altos is an affluent town and should not only be happy for what they have, but should be encouraged to HELP THE WORLD. Something the LATC seems to have no part of.
I'm not certain of what the LATC take the residents of Los Altos for... A community of vegetables who can't handle anything other than feel-good denial of the greater world? Does the LATC realize that the locals will get our relevant news elsewhere, so it only needs to provide sunshiny drivel? This "newspaper" has been heading down this road becoming more and more trivial in recent memory. (making senility seem not so bad)

This article actually poses the minor victories of our public works as Los Altos' answer to the the hurricane in Myanmar or the Earthquake in China. Actually beginning with the acknowledgment of the major disasters, this article effectively dismisses them with insignificant, barely newsworthy local "projects". As a resident, I don't need to hear about every crack in Magdalena Avenue that gets filled!

On top of this offensively negligent and poorly written piece it is also downright uninteresting!
Fifty cents is not a huge burden, but its not something one needs to throw away. As a Los Altos resident who is happy for everything I have, I can't help but feel that I have literally thrown away my money and time on this paper.
Even worse, my patronage might actually imply that I support the sentiment and actions of this article.
Of course this is just an editorial, but it really feels as though no effort was put into it.
Negligent, dismissive and unenlightening.

I praise the bake sale and any efforts by our community that reaches out to those who may need our help and makes sure we are not simply living in a bubble.
I do not applaud or condone the local voice, our "crier" which does little to keep us awake with what feels like attempts to placate our fears and encouraging us to bury our heads in the sand.

If we can quantify positive change as having plans to beautify the currently less than attractive business conditions while such problems in the world exist, perhaps Los Altos is a greater tragedy than this mind-numbing article leads us to believe.

Anonymous said...

Oh... yes... this is the NOE that I love and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

why do you want to live there then?

Anonymous said...

no seriously... that place sounds horrendous.

Stewart said...

Its not that Los Altos is so bad (as far as any suburb goes) but its paper is wretched.
And everyone who lives there should be ashamed to allow themselves to be represented by it.
Maybe the community doesn't care?
Maybe they're all a bunch of ignorantly blissful, over-entitled, easily programed, indifferent Americans?
Maybe they're typical Americans?
If so then its an even sadder problem. (hopefully its just the paper)

Anonymous said...

Just recovered from being ill all week, read this and now I feel sick again.

Anonymous said...

This shit is pretty awful. No taste and no tact.
For what it's worth, has anybody heard of Frempchat or Ken Tremendous. Check out to learn where NOE finds his style.

Anonymous said...

oh how i love the NOE, rabble dabble rah rah!

Anonymous said...

You guys are hilarious.
You look for INTERNATIONAL NEWS in a very very local paper.
Generally people don't read it to find doom and gloom stories of the world.

While the paper is for LOS ALTOS residents, the paper tries to reflect the local community.

Obviously, you aren't concerned with the daily goings on of the LOS ALTOS community, but rather the goings on of the world as a whole.

Stick to Newsweek buddy.

Anonymous said...

sorry Anon, dismissing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in that lame editorial is even too shameful for the TC. Your argument about its focus on local stuff is moot. If you talk about world tragedy at least have the sense and dignity to approach them with sincerity. Stick to your pet parades and Republican propaganda. No one respects that rag paper.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon's response to Anon. The TC brought up international news in the first place, saying basically, "Gee a lot of people are dying out there. That's too bad. Thank goodness we live in our perfect town."
There's certainly an aspect of this editorial that trivializes a tremendous amount of human suffering.

It really is, on many levels, disturbing.