Only through use of the oxymoron is it possible to capture the impression made by reading certain sections of the Naples (Florida) Daily News. Horrified hilarity? Dithering directness? Random rationality?
The Daily News is essentially a solid, worthy product of the E.W.Scripps Company, but as with all media, tabloid influences figure. These are predictably evident on the Police Report page, made up mostly of DUIs. By naming names, the brief descriptions are intended to shame those whose approach to Happy Hour runs deep into dinner time, and beyond. Sometimes, the drivers hurt others, and sometimes they are found fast asleep in cars parked at odd angles on the median.
The Police Report page also offers up nasty stories of domestic abuse, with both male and female victims, as well as stories about “grow houses.” These include architectural descriptions of mini-mansions whose interiors, devoid of furniture, have been given over to cannabis agri-business. And of course there are also stark true-crime horror stories involving shotguns and chain saws, gasoline, tongs, duct tape, impalement, etc. These stories you read between the fingers of the hand held over your eyes.
But oxymora are most often needed to capture the essence of the letters to the editor. Naples is a community with lots of retirees, people with ample time to write if not to proofread. Unlike us, many Neapolitans are wealthy, and—again, unlike us—they are almost all Republicans.
Barbara and I sometimes speculate on what causes such people to be so angry. They are well off, have great health care and beautiful golf courses, not to mention ideal weather, along with some of the best deals on wine to be found in the country. Modern medicine aside, we will all die soon enough, so why all the ranting?
True, like salmon battling their way upstream to spawn, a few thoughtfully reasoned or upbeat letters slip through the torrent of anger to make it into print. But by and large, those writing to the editor are venting frustration:
At Democrats in general, and the President in particular (pure, concentrated NazicommieMuslim evil), at intersections where photos are taken of people not stopping for red lights (Big Brother Is Watching You), at dog and cat owners (spreading filth and disease), at people who water their lawns too often or not often enough (risking mold, or causing unsightly brown patches that reflect poorly on the neighborhood), at the color puce (a disgusting choice for use in public lavatories), at the annual infestation of snowbirds who make it hard to secure dinner reservations (seasonal vermin), at snowbirds again, for causing traffic congestion (making me late for my hair appointment), at Global Warming (corrupt science used by liberals for the sole purpose of hurting business), at the woman who spoke rudely to my husband last Tuesday when he was talking in line at the post office on his cell phone to his mother about his sick father who is on dialysis (we know our rights)—and so much more.
From time to time, DBD will do what it can to shed light on this black hole. We will do it because we know our rights, we're tired of being pushed around, we know our rights and we... we... should not have to settle for over-cooked end pieces of prime rib, just because some really awful person left a golf cart in the last parking space on karaoke night!
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