BY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVER
PW: Liz Spikol launches an in-depth exploration of the Jewish vote. Are they still a reliable Democratic bloc? Does anything outrank Israel on their list of issues? Will foul-mouthed comedienne Sarah Silverman turn the tide of this election?
In a promotional video, Silverman tries to persuade, cajole and offend kids into talking to their relatives: “Explain to them that we’re all the same inside. You know, you could compare an elderly Jewish woman like Nana to a young black man. They may seem totally different, but on paper, they’re the same. I mean, think about it. Track suits. Let’s start there. They both love track suits. They can’t get enough of them. What else? Car of choice: the Cadillac. They’re both crazy about their grandkids. What else? They like things and bling and money and jewelry and stuff. They both say ‘yo’ all the time, or Jews go right to left—‘oy.’”
Apart from Silverman’s schtick, there are great discoveries (the Republican Jewish Committee’s strong presence in the city) and bold moves (Hebrew on the cover, exploring Black-Jewish dynamics) aplenty here. Philly remains a guaranteed blue spot, but what about Pennsylvania as a whole? Or Florida, home to so many grandmas in need of convincing? You should be so lucky. To Sarah and Liz: Amen to your oy.
CP: In his Fumo-nalysis, Tom Namako steers clear of scandal and focuses on the numbers. Yes, it’s math, and no, it’s not as boring as it sounds. Namako digs deep into Fumo’s record in Harrisburg, discusses what the Sultan of South Philly has done for his city and his district, and identifies the challenges that Fumo’s anointed successor, Larry Farnese, will face.
Still, having Fumo’s backing does not turn Farnese into Fumo. We got to wondering how things would change for the taxpayers in Fumo’s First Senatorial District once the Vince leaves office. Will they lose? Will they gain? What did Fumo’s all-star status mean for his constituents? In short, what’s his Value Over (or Under) his Replacement Politician?
Now, there’s no way to say for sure what Farnese will do as a senator. His platform is health care for all, better schools and crime reduction, which is every other politician’s platform, too. But he does have the following characteristics: a Philadelphia district, ties to Fumo and not much seniority. In other words, he’s extremely similar to an existing state senator, the great Northeast’s Mike Stack.
Some of the details on various projects and controversies go over my head (I’m a newcomer, but I grew up in Maryland, though, and believe me – we know from crooked). But Namako’s approach, grounded in, of all things, fantasy baseball, holds true throughout, and gives a sense of how much weight Fumo carries in the capitol.
INSIDE THE BOOK
PW: Don’t worry, Dave Sitek, I still love you. Definitely not skirting important issues. Paxia: These constant taco recommendations will be the death of me. A naked plea for new radio listeners? Oh, wait, maybe not.
CP: Dick Clark, long before the building of his android replacement. Fan-funded singer Jill Sobule: sure beats a government bailout. Anthony Braxton: first three rows may have minds blown. Only Nixon could go to China, huh? How ’bout Nutter in Chinatown?
WINNER: We already know how most of this week’s news will shake out: Obama’s got the city in the bag (thank God), and Fumo’s successor will have his work cut out for him. Sports coverage decides it this week, and CP’s Frontrunner’s Guide edges out PW’s “Let’s go Phils” cover sticker. Hear this: There’ll be no Dodging tonight’s ass-whupping.