The Return of Private Eye | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

News » Private Eye

The Return of Private Eye

A crowd-sourced column by John Saltas


1 comment

I’ve got some good news to share—I’ve discovered I’m not a dinosaur. In my last column (April 20), I wrote about a rather stupid experience I had while speaking at the annual fundraiser for The Daily Utah Chronicle, the student newspaper at the University of Utah. During that speech, I pointed to some journalists far more talented and distinguished than myself who work for The Salt Lake Tribune and called them dinosaurs. I did the same to other journalists in the room, including those employed here at City Weekly. I called myself a dinosaur. I was trying to relay to the journalism aspirants in the room that if they become aggressive, think big, and act on new ideas, they can eat us dinosaurs for lunch and prosper in journalism’s brave new world, where traditional media meets social media and no one really knows what’s going on.

I later found out the hard way I’m not a dinosaur and probably never was. Not long after the fundraiser, my left arm swelled to nearly the size of Mitt Romney’s bank account and was red and hot to the touch. It began on a Tuesday, I saw a doctor on Wednesday, was in the ER on Thursday and had surgery on Friday to relieve a fast-spreading infection due to something with a long name. Tribunitis Stuffasockis or something like that. I have an open wound on my elbow that resembles Steven Tyler’s lips. It requires dressing changes daily and is sore as all get out.

Since the infection probably invaded externally, that means I don’t have the thick, scaly skin of a Salt Lake Tribune employee nor of a dinosaur. So, I can’t be a dinosaur. I’m happy about that and not in a selfish way. I’m equally happy that those journalists I called dinosaurs will not have to suffer this. I’ve always prided myself on my warm compassion, even for idiots, and this is no exception: I wish lots of ill on damnable institutions like The Salt Lake Tribune (beholden as it is to the stacked deck of operators at MediaOne and owned by a non-Salt Laker, Dean Singleton), but I’d not want any journalists there to lose the ability to earn a living for a day, let alone a few weeks. I get paid whether I write, fart or tap dance, but others may not. I’m grateful and lucky in that regard.

But that doesn’t make me anxious to write. I’d give this space up to one of those college kids in a heartbeat, but I doubt our editor, Jerre Wroble, would like me doing that. Nor my other reader, my mom. Each forgives me for this: I’m at a point in this column where I have to make a point and I have no point to make. I knew this would happen, so I posted on Facebook yesterday and asked for column ideas. I got what I asked for and may do this more often.

Given today’s constraints, I’ll pose a few of them as questions and try to answer them briefly.

Here goes:

From Ryan: Rick Welts, the Phoenix Suns CEO, just came out of the closet. Imagine if Greg Miller, or a Jazz player, came out. How would “our people” respond in closed-minded, conservative, shit-ton-of-closeted-gays Utah?

Well, Ryan, that’s an easy one—they’d sell their Jazz tickets and send their pants to the dry cleaners. Not everyone. Some would still go to the games and say, “Man, he can really play. Are you sure he’s gay?” And we at City Weekly would say, “What’s the big deal? We’re all human. It’s not gayness or ethnicity or religion that defines us; it’s whether or not we are assholes.”

From Carol: Huntsman or Romney? Why do Mormons care so much?

Actually, I can relate, Carol. When Michael Dukakis ran for president in 1988, Greeks of every stripe wanted to see a Greek president. It was disaster in the end, and this run may not be good for Mormons, either. When Dukakis put on that silly tank helmet, it told the world all Greeks are not Spartans. Same for Romney—he looks equally stupid next to a truth meter. Will Mormons appreciate being defined by a political weather vane like Romney? Huntsman isn’t a good enough Mormon for some Mormons. That’s not a surprise—those types of Mormons measure everything against their own self worth and would support a Republican Ted Bundy over a Democrat Mother Theresa. Other Mormons take the broad approach that Mormons reside in a world comprised of all kinds of people and the world doesn’t revolve around just them. Huntsman all the way.

These two are similar:

From Mr. T: Cities can save millions of dollars in taxpayer money by merging their police with UPD. Other cities could do the same but will not even look at it because they don’t want to give up their little army. Why?

And from Raymond: I’d like to hear your take on the CW cover story of a few weeks ago, re the alleged harassment of bar patrons by Cottonwood Heights Police.

Hmm. Little army. Cottonwood Heights Police. Don’t they know my next-door neighbor is Cottonwood Police Chief Robbie Russo? If I say something he doesn’t like, will he retaliate %uFFFD la the alleged harassment at Canyon Inn? I don’t know, but I do see Robbie more frequently now that three giant trees that once separated our yards are no longer standing. I need to ask him about sharing the cost of a new fence. Hmm, again. Tell you what guys—I’ll fill you in later on that one.

And later it will be. Time to change my bandages. Nurse! Nurse!