Wednesday, May 7, 2008



Below is a letter I sent to our local paper, the Naperville Sun:


Page 3 of today’s Sun listed “Five Things You Need to Know Today.” Three items dealt with celebrity gossip, one with the death of the co-founder of Basking-Robbins, and the last one with the withdrawal of 3,500 American troops from Iraq. Not listed on the need to know list were the assumption of the Russian presidency by Dmitry Medvedev, the aftermath of the cyclone in Myanmar, food riots in Somalia, the disruption of Nigerian oil supplies by fighting between the Lagos government and rebels, or even the results of yesterday’s primary elections.

Assuming that the “Five Things You Need to Know Today” column is not a joke, this startled reader is left with two questions and an observation:

· Precisely why do I need to know about the engagement of Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, the conviction of Uma Thurman’s stalker, or Vanessa Williams’s finally getting a college degree?

· While I have some vague idea who Uma Thurman and Vanessa Williams are (one of the stars of “Pulp Fiction,” a passable movie by modern standards, and a former Miss America whose role in some racy pictures led to her immediate demise and ultimate success, right?), who in the world are Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, and why should I, or anyone outside their immediate circles of friends and families, give a rat’s hindquarters?

· The next time you hear some head in the sand chest thumper tell us that the American people are the most enlightened and best educated in the world, fully prepared for self-government, and that our best days are ahead of us, remember what is considered vital, need to know, news.

Mark Quinn

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