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
CP: City Paper hasn’t got the material for this week’s issue online yet, so I’ll just say this: The two main articles, “Taking Flight” and “The Dark Half,” do a good job of addressing niche marketing and outreach. The first asks a question question with implications for a variety of artforms: Is it better to have a big tent that’s half-full or a small one that’s standing room only? The second asks this: how do an LGBT-centric film series and an action-and-horror series coexist? With titles like “Big Tits Zombie 3-D” and — brace yourself — “the long lost ‘70s grindhouse actioner ‘Gone With The Pope’,” the only answer I can come up with is “awesomely.”
PW: A friend of mine used to say he couldn’t go anywhere in the city without running into someone who went to Temple with him. I didn’t quite understand at first, but Aaron Kase’s cover helps hit it home: Temple is huge and getting huger, and this growth into some of North Philly’s less savory nabes is made possible by the increased presence of private security.
Here in Philadelphia, budget concerns have put the PPD under the knife of Mayor Nutter, who has proposed eliminating two incoming police classes to vacate 230 positions. The move would reduce the force from about 6,600 officers to nearly 6,400, making the private police forces more important than ever. With a security budget of $18 million, Temple is striving to create a safer environment, deploying a 121-officer police force, plus 73 in-house security guards and 225 others contracted from AlliedBarton.
“Part of my street isn’t that bad, the other part is really bad,” says Leon Bruce, an accounting major at Temple, who lives half a block away on North Colorado. Despite pervasive crime, Bruce says he generally feels safe.
Authorities keep their eyes on the block. Bruce, who lives on the fringe of Temple’s area of influence, says, “there’s always a Temple cop in the neighborhood.”
As its influence continues to expand outward into the neighborhoods, Temple is treading down a path the University of Pennsylvania has already blazed. In the last decade, University City has undergone a complete makeover, unrecognizable in commercial complexion and neighborhood safety. The changes were brought about largely through security supplied directly or indirectly by Penn (116 private cops) and, to a lesser extent, Drexel, which just unveiled its own police force last year. Combined with the PPD, that makes three police forces and four major security-guard forces in University City including teams of AlliedBarton guards employed by the University of the Sciences and the University City District (UCD) development corporation.
Kase gets the numbers and the facts, as well as comments from the surrounding neighborhoods that are seeing rents pushed up and their peaceful night’s sleep disrupted due to Temple’s encroachment. Having gone to college in Pennsyltucky, I have to say I prefer Philly to living out in the sticks. The tension between town and gown, though, seems to know no geographic bounds.
INSIDE THE BOOK
CP: Again, no links, but read A Million Stories — you’ll think of the children, but you’ll also laugh out loud a couple times — as well as Holly Otterbein’s article on disorganization on the Democratic Central Committee. Critically speaking, Trey Popp’s review and A.D. Amorosi’s feature on Dave Posmontier are also worth your time.
PW: Lyme disease in PA: Once bitten, twice pissed off. Jersey Shore: the dinner, not the show (thank God). Bisco-dekaphobia. PF Chang’s, Vietnam-edition.
WINNER: PW gets the nod this week, but I’m troubled by the dearth of coverage, in both papers, of both LeBron James’ free agency announcement and the World Cup-predicting octopus. Where are your priorities, people?