Well, it was going to be a moment, but when I looked up an hour had gone by and I had 5 pages.
Maybe that’s why I decided to take a break and sit on this piece for a few days. After all, I’m not sure we’re really ready for hard-hitting opinion, analysis, or anything else. I think we want fluff. After all, that’s about all we get from our sleeping beauties, the state newspapers.
I have to say, I feel like taking a break from Montana politics.
Nothing seems to be happening right now, and our state newspapers can’t be relied upon to deliver any news worth writing about. I’m not the only one that feels this way.
I wandered over to Intelligent Discontent yesterday and saw that Don Pogreba is taking the first part of the school year off.
Damn, it must be nice to do that, huh, have one of those sabbatical things? I wonder if he’s getting paid for gallivanting around Europe. Who knows. I do know that he’s not going to be writing much about Montana, because that’s what he said, he’s taking a “hiatus.”
I’m not sure who these guest posters are, but I wouldn’t expect much in the way of them. Perhaps jhwygirl is one, though I’d doubt that – she hasn’t had a post on 4&20 since June 14. I took that site off my bookmark bar at the end of June, figuring this would be the case. Not sure why she’d want to eliminate any relevance she has, but that’s effectively what she’s done. I’m sorry, but the occasional Twitter comment doesn’t get the job done.
So what does that leave us with?
- Well, you’ve got ol’ yellow dog MT Cowgirl, always ready to throw some Party-approved BS your way.
- There’s Reptile Dysfunction, which has some good insight, though too infrequently for my taste.
- A Chicken is Not Pillage is a site with some good commentary on Montana, though with football season upon us, I figure they’re out until Super Tuesday.
- Last Best News is a site run out of Billings by Ed Kemmick, and since he’s been reporting in the state since 1980, you can get some good info there…though it’s sporadic at best.
- MSU political science professor David Parker has a blog called Big Sky Political Analysis. We’ll discuss him more below.
- Troy Carter of the Bozeman Chronicle has a relatively new blog called 406 Politics. He blocked me on Twitter a long time ago, so it’s clear that what I say has no value to him. How could I feel any differently toward him? With blasé fare and minuscule lengths, the posts on this site leave readers wanting, there’s no other way to say it.
Boy, am I the only one feeling let down by this guy?
Parker got his start in academia as a lowly history and political science major at Indiana University. He graduated in 1995 and headed over to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where in 1999 he got a master’s in political science. He stayed at the school and got his Ph.D. in 2005.
DePauw University in Indiana was the first place the New Hampshire native taught, serving as an assistant professor for the 2004-5 school year. Indiana University came next, where Parker again served as an assistant professor. In the summer of 2008 he decided to head further west and reached Bozeman in time for summer classes. He served as an assistant professor until 2012, when he became an associate professor (with tenure). He’s been teaching classes there ever since.
That’s quite the career. Are you telling me the hallowed halls of academia are so crowded with aged-professors unwilling to retire that it takes eight years to move up the ladder? And I dunno, is advancing from assistant to associate even a full rung? Sorry if I’m not capitalizing those titles, either…was I supposed to?
Parker has managed three books during that time, and you can even buy one of them for $119.99 or used for a mere $70.88. Wow, this guy must know his stuff!
Yeah, more than likely the book is out of print or should be.
What the hell are our professors doing? We know how I feel about UM’s historians, a gaggle of crooks and ne’er-do-wells if there ever were any! I said it in the intro to my latest book on Montana history, there has been nothing written about modern Montana history!
I think people like Parker are partly to blame for this. He could educate us about recent political dealings in the past, but he chooses not to. Instead we get his adventures across the pond. Hey, taking students to the UK over summer is great, but don’t expect anyone in Montana to give a hoot. We want substantive stories about the issues facing us. I know Parker knows the issues facing us, for he’s on the TV news all the time!
I feel sorry for our state university students. Not only do they have to foot 63% or more of the Montana University System’s operating budget, but they have to pay the salary of people life Dave Parker. They’re getting ripped off, and let me tell you three reasons why:
- First, I don’t think the quality of the education has increased as much as its cost;
- Next, even if you do manage to graduate, with a mountain of debt most times, it’s harder than heck to get a job because old folks won’t retire.
- Finally, I’m not sure people live David Parker even know enough about that state’s recent political history to write about it.
It’s that last point that’s the most disturbing. If I walked into David Parker’s 1:10 PM government class on the MSU campus and asked him about ten former Montana politicians, I’m not sure he could tell me much.
That’s the problem with college – it’s not impressing. I went to UM and wasted a lot of money. We had to write three short papers a semester in my history classes – what a fucking joke! I put up the equivalent of that each week on my website now.
But you need that piece of paper with your name on it. I’m not sure why, to tell you the truth – most people don’t ask for it. Well, the shit 9-to-5 rat race jobs do, but that’s just so the pecking order is real clear to everyone, the chain of command as well. It’s important that people know their place.
There’s no shame in making little money. It means you don’t have to put up with a lot of bullshit. How much do you need, how many cars, how many rooms in the house? Hell, most of you aren’t happy right now and you have that shit.
Still, Pogreba isn’t too happy, I suspect. You don’t take off a semester and leave the little ones in a lurch if you’re happy with things. I bet he’s going to find himself, or something like that. I doubt it’s so he can go to Amsterdam when the tourists aren’t there, the better to smoke the best pot. I’ve been to the “Venice of the North” in October, it’s mellow.
Pogreba is a weird one, after all. Honestly, most Americans don’t take the measly two weeks of vacation thrown to them each year as it is. He’s taking a couple months!
So what are those of us that like to read the news to do? I’m not that confident in our quality Montana reporters, for many of them are now gone. The ones that do remain are hamstrung by space limitations, word counts, and the whims of advertisers.
The Missoulian especially has been a sad case, with business “profiles” running for a week at a time. I’m not sure what the business is paying for that, but I’m confident readers aren’t subscribing for it. Don’t get me started on their new video pop-in ads, right there in the middle of the text, things that make it damn hard to read when they expand and retract.
I expect circulation to go down, despite kicking editor Sherry Devlin to the curb (sorry, assistant editor) and bringing in young buck Matthew Bunk. While some might think a guy like that should be washing dishes in the back, the truth is that he’s a damn good reporter…I guess. I’ve never read anything he’s written. That’s why I was rather surprised to see he’s the president of the Newspaper Hall of Fame. I wonder how some of the former presidents of that organization feel about that.
I think it’s time for a Montana Blogging Hall of Fame. We might as well start this now, as this medium is not going to be going away anytime soon. Even if the feds crack down on the internet, it’s too late – blogs and the internet in general, will take over for newspapers. Mobile phones will speed this transition, and the demotion of Devlin is an example of this.
So…where do we stand?
I’m going to be spending most of my time writing Montana history and Montana books. You can buy them, though most of you don’t. I’ve only sold 4 copies of my 532-page history of Montana from the 1930s to 1960: 2 to my dad, 1 to my mom, and 1 to someone else.
Guess people don’t really care what I have to say, huh?
Well, it’s just that I piss everyone off. Gosh, sorry, why don’t you do a better job so I’d have something to praise you over, huh? But that would require sacrificing that evening of TV time, or that round of golf with the boys. Can’t have that!
I’ll have a couple posts next month, mostly about my upcoming John Colter novel. There’s just not that much to talk about now.
I’m really ticked off with all the anti-Gianforte talk at the moment. Boy, Democrats are sure scared, huh? I’m just not going to get caught up in that silliness.
Nationally, the corporate-controlled media is lashing out at Donald Trump big time. That’s why I support him. Anyone that can make the corporations that nervous, whether for real or for show, has my support…for now.
I’m not at all excited about Election 2016 in Montana. Bullock doesn’t excite me and none of the people running for statewide office do. It’s probably best I just don’t say anything. I already plan to skip the governor’s race entirely, as I don’t feel that there’s anyone worth voting for. Maybe a third-party candidate will come along, perhaps a Libertarian. It’s a shame to just not vote in that race, but what other options are there? Voting for Bullock…why?
So that’s how it stands. Thanks for reading, and thanks for buying my books (hint, hint)!