The big story in Sunday's edition of The Plain Dealer was what could charitably be called a journalistic reach-around on Michael White, though to be more accurate, Robert Smith's schmaltzy words got all the way to at least third base with the former mayor of Cleveland.
White, if you missed the deep, delving, inquisitive piece, now runs a winery and alpaca farm, and he does so "ankle deep in alpaca feed and horse manure," looking "fit and agile in blue jeans and a ball cap, though his grizzled beard is more white than black," carrying out a "clandestine love affair with the good earth," still able to "make the drive [to Cleveland] in 90 minutes," and hoping that his children can "find in the land what he does."
All 2005 words go on that way —
A blessed rain had just drenched Yellow Butterfly Winery and its hay fields parched by drought. White, his work shoes caked with mud, walked among his rows of traminette and vidal vines and tried to explain why he so likes his new life.
— sackless, gutless, and probably written as White softly blew into Smith's ear. Barely a mention of White's corruption ties, nary a harsh word, zero hard questions besides something vaguely resembling, "Hey, why are people so harsh on you, man?"
Smith, being the obedient lap dog and noted wordsmith that he is, would have made White breakfast and written some fresh poetry for him in the morning, but White was gone, already nestled up to someone on the Plain Dealer Editorial Board.
Because one full-service splash wasn't enough for the PD. No, they went back for more, and with fervor.
This morning, for some inexplicable reason — really, there's no reason at all — the paper penned a glowing editorial about White entitled: "In praise of Mike White's voluntary power outage." Yes, praise.
Via the streaming hardcore backroom session, now fully buffered and ready for your delight:
Say what you will about Mike White's time as mayor. Criticize his performance or his personality if you're so moved. Goodness knows that by the time he pulled the plug on his political career, he had his share of detractors. Speculate to your heart's content on the "real reasons" for his abrupt and complete exit.
Yes, say what you will.
Speculate, if you must.
But you're a real dick if you do. A real dick. Can't you just focus on his wine and alpacas. Can't you instead talk about his magnanimous and praise-worthy endeavors in his second life after not at all weirdly ducking out of what would have been a fourth term? If he doesn't want to talk about it, neither should you.
Grow up, Cleveland.
Coming soon to the pages of The Plain Dealer (if there are any writers left): Nate Gray's a really good chef these days! Kudos to him for learning how to make a decent red sauce in his new phase of life!