So, as you might have guessed from looking at our front cover, the Flyer's been around 20 years. That's a long time — a quarter of a lifespan, if we're lucky and/or blessed with good genes.
For most of those 20 years, I've been in Memphis, working in one capacity or another for the Flyer and its parent company, Contemporary Media, Inc. I wasn't born here, which is a distinction worth noting. I chose to move here in 1993.
I'd met publisher Ken Neill at a magazine convention in Miami the previous year. We hit it off, and he invited me to come visit him in Memphis. He lived on Oliver Street in Cooper-Young, in a Queen Anne-style house with a wraparound front porch. As we sat on his veranda and sipped a glass of white wine, I marveled at the massive oaks blocking the evening sky.
It was April, and in Pittsburgh, where I'd been the day before, snow was still on the ground. Winter seemed as though it would never leave. In Memphis, flowers were in bloom. A mockingbird sang from a nearby lamppost. People walked by in shorts, and everyone said hello. And what kind of tree was that? A magnolia!
I was charmed. My Pittsburgh job was changing for the worse. I wanted a fresh start. Why not Memphis?
That was pre-Internet, so I ordered a mail subscription to the Sunday Commercial Appeal, and I'd sit around the kitchen table at home in Pittsburgh, looking for a good job in the Memphis want ads.
As is obvious, I finally found one. My Memphis friend and host eventually became my Memphis boss — and remains my friend, I should add.
Nine years ago, I took over as editor of the Flyer on a temporary basis, after my predecessor, Dennis Freeland, passed away. But once I got a taste of the job, I couldn't let it go. It's been the best nine years of my working life.
A newspaper is a composite creature. I believe in hiring bright and talented people, then giving them the leeway to do their jobs in bright and talented ways. It seems to have worked.
Thanks, Memphis. From all us.
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.