The big news of the last 24 hours from Newfoundland isn't what I thought it would be. I really thought it was going to be the big Hibernia South announcement. Now, when I hear this kinds of announcements I normally wait for the analysis, because as previous history has shown, the initial spin isn't normally quite as grand as the government has announced.
But the real news is that Premier Danny Williams apparently lost his shit with Randy Simms on VOCM's Open Line show this morning. I mean, way off the deep end. As in "Holy fuck, did the premier forget to take his meds yesterday morning?" kind of deep end. VOCM gets it's fair share of crazies calling; it's one of the reasons why I could never listen to their open line shows. But if someone called sounding like the premier did who wasn't actually the premier, they would have cut him off. Or passed his phone number along to the Waterford and suggested a drop by.
But this isn't even about whether or not the premier is a genius, a madman or dangerously close to both (for the record, I don't disagree with the premier's point that if pulp and paper is dying and the fishery has remained on life support for nearly 20 years, you better milk what's working for you for all it's worth. Just try not to sound like a lunatic while doing it). This is my observation. A few hours after he lost it on air, Geoff Meeker had a transcript of the call up on his blog so everyone could read, along with an analysis. Ed Hollett took a bit longer, but he had two pieces.
So my question is, are Meeker and Hollett the two most important writers in Newfoundland right now? They provide superb, well-researched analysis. They're not afraid to speak truth to power. Meeker the past couple of days has been very good, what with his piece on Williams and just his complete evisceration of Joan Burke earlier the week.
Voices like this are desperately needed in times when elected opposition is weak. And the thing that sets Meeker and Hollett apart from two other important critics - Russell Wangersky and Craig Westcott - is that they can react almost immediately. Wangersky and Westcott wait until the next edition of their papers; Hollett and Meeker can react within moments. And it's not just reaction time. I appreciate sober second thought in writing. However, neither of them irrationally fly off the handle when they write. I also think Ed's writing is under appreciated and mocked too quickly because of his obvious political affiliations. Doesn't mean he's not a good writer. Doesn't mean his research isn't spot on. Doesn't mean he's wrong.
I'm not saying Hollett and Meeker are the gold standard for this kind of thing. That was still Ray Guy in his prime back in the 60s and 70s. But they're the best we have right now. Agree or disagree?
1. With a little help from my friends - The Beatles
2. Closing time - Tom Waits*
3. I'm looking through you - The Beatles
4. Vintage clothes - Paul McCartney
5. Don't worry baby - The Novaks