EDITORíS DESK: A family newspaper
This is a family newspaper. A lot of you already know that. The mom and the pop publish it as professionally as possible, and the kids help out.
But we're also a family newspaper in another sense of the term. This is the meaning that has to do with that word "decency." Now, what we are often told these days is that decency is a more or less relative concept, open to interpretation based on changing times. And a lot of people seem to go along with that. This may be why we hear words in public these days that were once considered off-color; or why, even in a baseball game on TV, we might see a commercial with subject matter that would have been beyond the pale 20 years ago (especially considering that kids might be watching); or why we see publications, ones that might once have been trusted, proudly letting us know in words and graphics that almost nothing is off limits anymore.
The point here, though, is not to sit in judgment. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are cornerstones of our nation. If, for example, a publication wants to name itself after a bathroom implement - as one did here in the last couple of years - that's certainly its owners' prerogative. And, I suppose, if I got into a debate with those who cheer such ways, they would probably also raise points about "pushing the artistic envelope" and not being bound by stodgy old ways. Certainly, when it comes to blue language, I am hardly ignorant. I've embarrassed myself with what's come out sometimes when I've been working on a car.
So here we are. Decency. What does it mean? Well, I'd suggest that a good starting point is to read the interview with Norm Clark on Page 1 this issue. In it, you'll learn about a man who worked hard all his life, helping out his dad and his family and following quiet examples of high quality and ethical behavior. In Clark's prime, newspapers were counted on to represent the same kinds of standards, supplementing their readers' experiences at home, at school and at work. Is it old-fashioned for that to be an undercurrent of what we're doing here at the Westside Pioneer, in stories as well as ads? Personally, I'd like to think we're pushing the envelope back the other way. Which seems pretty decent.