It is, as anybody with a calendar — or a sense of humor — can tell, the first week of April. We should explain on the front end that we went to press on April 1st, and, though the great majority of entries in this issue of the Flyer are
straight as the gate and, in any case, reliable as news and information, we are not above a jest or two in the spirit of April Fool's Day.
The problem we have discovered, however, is the same one that the illustrious novelist Philip Roth hit upon way back in the 1960s when he realized that his trade — that of writing fiction, and glorious fiction at that — was in danger of becoming obsolete because the nature of "reality" itself had turned so surreal. So it was that Roth noted the expedient of writing satire and essays for a spell. We are, however, grateful that he finally turned back to writing novels, composing in the process several masterpieces or near-masterpieces to go with the rest of his quite considerable canon.
Still, we too, have noticed that the line between truth and fiction has begun to dissolve, as, indeed, so has the boundary between farce and reality. Several instances of the phenomenon have reminded us of those facts this week, and — surprise! — they come from the world of politics.
Nevermind the email that Steve Mulroy, a candidate for county mayor, sent out to the media on Tuesday, claiming to be quitting his campaign for the opportunity to become "regional director of corporate public relations for the Kellogg's corporation." Mulroy, for the record, has been actively involved in supporting the locked-out workers of that very corporation, as anybody who has paid attention knows. That did not stop several local media from taking the "release" seriously and checking it out (in one case, actually posting it online) as legitimate news.
It is easy, in a way, to understand their confusion. After all, only last Thursday night, a county Commission candidate, Taylor Berger, presided over a packed and, to the impartial observer, fully successful fund-raiser, climaxing the event with a rousing and positive address. On Monday of this week, however, came a press release from Berger. He was out; personal reasons.
Then there was veteran Democratic operative Del Gill making bold statements recently to publicly advise the NAACP as to how they should construct forums involving political candidates this year: by "separating" candidates from the two parties, he explained, into two discrete groups. Failing that, Gill advised, Democratic candidates might reconsider their participation in the forum. That the venerable NAACP is entitled to present candidate forums however it pleases and candidates, likewise, can make up their own minds about appearing at such events seemed beside the point.
And, finally, there was Judge Joe Brown, the erstwhile Criminal Court judge and TV star, staging a confrontation in Juvenile Court that ended with his temporary arrest and a cameo jail appearance. That was quickly followed by an impromptu "press conference" at which a Brown campaign staffer posed as a reporter and asked several softball questions of the candidate.
Mr. Roth — who has indeed finally retired from writing novels — didn't know the half of it.