Column has new face, new name, new plan

Daniel Pike

It’s long been my dream to write a regular newspaper column. A column can be a sort of reward, often earned after an anonymous, sleep-deprived and crusty-eyed journalist toils for years in the hellish abyss of beat reporting.

But I have little interest in the career-affirming experience of those who ascend from observer to opinionist. Instead, my ego pushes me to foist my views upon a largely indifferent readership, and to do so right now.

I realize that most of this newspaper’s audience would sooner wrestle dinosaurs than elect me vox populi. Yet I am undaunted. In what will likely prove to be a vulgar misuse of my considerable power as the Herald’s features editor, I have named myself Western’s newest windbag.

I’m proud to follow so many distinguished Herald columnists, the names of whom I don’t remember. It is out of respect for those scribes’ achievements that I have waited until the fourth paragraph to announce that I’m condemning the “weekend column” tradition they so carefully built.

I have no idea what a weekend column was, is or should be. I also don’t care. At the same time, I’m not really sure what this column will become.

But I do know there are dangers in publicly voicing my opinion. The foremost of these is inevitable – people will hate me.

Take, for example, responses to commentaries I wrote this summer for the Glasgow Daily Times, the newspaper where I had previously spent the better part of four years as sports editor:

• “I would like to recommend that you take a long trip to Malawi to help the elephants you’re so concerned about, because the next time I see your name in the newspaper, I will associate it with stupidity.”

• “The nerve of Daniel Pike to question Rush Limbaugh’s qualifications to do comments on Sunday night football. What a hypocrite, what qualifications did he have to ever have been a local sports reporter? This guy was too lazy to even try to play little league. So I guess his qualifications were a high school graduate with absolutely no playing experience but in his arrogant world that was enough because it was him.”

Obviously, I take issue with the latter position. First, I never said Limbaugh would appear on Sunday night football. Second, not only did I play little league, but I was an all-star in basketball.

Granted, I often struggled mightily to cram my Doritos-fattened mass into the jersey, and I don’t recall ever really being cognizant of what was occurring on the court, and I made the team only because several of the other big guys were too old – including a guy named Tony Driver, now a safety for the Buffalo Bills, who would later dunk in a seventh grade game while I used my obese, weak body to prevent the bench from floating away.

But I was an all-star nonetheless, and I’ve got the tiny plastic trophy to prove it.

I digress. In all seriousness, I will make every effort to make this column worth your two minutes, beginning next week. Much of it will be written in the first person – bollocks to those militant journalism folks who frown on that sort of thing; this ain’t the Op-Ed page – but with luck and a few rare exceptions, it will not be about me.

If I do my job, I’ll make some of you mad. If I do my job well, I’ll make some of you mad enough to send me love letters even sweeter than those above.

But as far as the weekend goes, you’ll have to fend for yourselves.

Daniel Pike is the Herald features editor and a senior print journalism major from Glasgow. His column appears on Thursdays. Reach him at [email protected]