John DeGroot's Pulpa Culpa

John DeGroot is looking for redemption. And I confess to having felt the same Sentinel-ments at times. When I first started the Pulp 17 months ago, it was all kicks and giggles making fun of the Sun-Sentinel. But things have changed. Dramatically. The newspaper has been sold, 20 or so newsroom folks have been put out to pasture, the product has been downsized, people have been reassigned to lesser positions ... the list goes on and on. I've talked to people in the newsroom who resemble DeGroot's "Sam" -- good newspaper folks who are stressed out and wondering if they are next.

It's like everybody not only gets the joke, but they are being crushed under the weight of the reality of it.

Now I present to you, DeGroot's latest wherein he claims his Sentinel-hashing days are over (I give him two weeks, if anybody wants the action):

The time has come for those of good will to stop slamming Florida’s Incredible Shrinking Newspaper.

Butt-kicking the Sun-Sentinel ain’t any fun no more.

Especially for me.

It’s like cracking wise over a suffering soul in the advanced stages of Lou Gehrig’s Disease – or stage four lung cancer.

So enough already.

True, the newspaper has been prostituted by a band of corporate pimps and editor whores who – journalistically speaking – aren’t worth spit.

Morally speaking, they are the journalistic equivalent of well-paid Judas Goats.

However, there still remains a dwindling collection of decent writers and reporters who daily struggle to remain true to their craft – sans hope or help. And they, as keepers of the dying light of decent journalism, deserve our compassion and respect. Like the band that played “Nearer My God to Thee” on the deck of the sinking Titanic.

I ran into one of those brave souls at the Floridian restaurant a few days ago and he broke my heart.

He had the eyes of a trapped rabbit.

Out of respect for his dignity, we’ll call him “Sam” – an older, loyal worker in the trenches who has been part of the Sun-Sentinel’s warp and woof for more than four decades. Once more, having known “Sam” for nearly 30 years, I’ve never heard him say a discouraging word about the newspaper, or his fellow workers. (Unlike I, he is one of those rare folk driven to seek and speak only good.)

Yeh, “Sam” had been offered a “buy out” by the pimps. But he passed, not knowing what else he might do if put out to pasture – the news game having been all he is and does.

“So how goes it?” I asked “Sam.”

“I dunno anymore,” he said, with a sigh. “I used to love hanging out in the newsroom. But now it’s like a hospice ward, you know? People used to be pissed off, or

depressed. But now most of them go to work scared. It’s awful.”

Which ruined my bagel, cream cheese and lox.

Because, I’d been slammed by a tsunami of guilt.

Like, Where do I get off Pulp-kicking cripples for laughs?

No matter how pathetic their failing struggle to walk.

Hell, I escaped today’s dumb-downed and sinking Sun-Sentinel way back in 1998 – when the getting was good.

Fact is, thanks to my Tribune pension (which ain’t no more for those I left behind) and my TRB stock (which I sold when the selling was good), I’m doing very okay, thank you; Unlike most of the poor bastards trapped in forced whoredom in the Wehrmacht blue-gray newsroom on the 9th floor of 200 East Las Olas.

Yeh. I’ve had my fun blog-flogging the Sun-Sentinel’s pathetic attempts at meaningful journalism. (Like, Whoopee, you won’t believe what those dumb assholes did today, hah-hah!)

But morally speaking again, this makes me a member of the same twisted gangs who get their kicks bashing helpless bums with ball bats.

So shame on me!

Thus, to the dwindling number of decent and caring newsfolk hopelessly trapped aboard Captain Maucker’s Ship of Fools, all I can say is that I am grievously ashamed and sorry for my self-righteous sins. Because none of you is even remotely deserving of my snide scorn and self-righteous Pulp laughter.

Mea been maxima culpa.

Please forgive me.

Because I am heartily sorry.

And hence, I will no longer Pulp sin at your expense anymore.

But as for the corporate pimps now busily re-doing their whorehouse in Transformative Change Bullshit Baroque ….

They can kiss my hairy old man’s bare ass at high noon in the middle of East Las Olas and Third Avenue!

Because they’re a bunch of greedy, stock-driven, bonus-sucking bastards who are gonna do just fine – no matter the fate of their doomed ship and trapped crew.


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