Whenever I read the name "Marc Ballon" next to an article in the Jewish Journal, I know that the combination of the particular writer and paper is going to result in the opposite of the qualities he ascribes to socialist comic Lewis Black in the 1/28/05 issue: "...[R]azor-sharp tongue and ever sharper social and political observations."
I read through his entire Q&A with Black because I am a masochist. A few months ago, I read Ballon's cover story on Black with the vague hope that Ballon would relay one funny joke or anecdote, or, at the least, a well-turned paragraph. I hoped in vain.
In Black's latest interview with Ballon, he displays his "even sharper social and political observations" with pithy insights such as this one on the last presidential election: "You had a guy who went to war running against a guy who voted for war. You had no choice."
I assume Black meant Kerry as the guy who went to war and Bush as the guy who allegedly voted for war, but who knows? It could just as easily be the other way round.
Only the lame-brains at the Journal regard these as sharp political observations.
The paper has never encountered a celebrity or leftist activist it hasn't salivated over (though, to be fair, it has never encountered a rabbo who didn't sexually molest people that it didn't salivate over either).
Out of the Journal's many boring cover stories, I believe that this one by Ballon wins first prize: "Federation Faces Underfunded Pension."
A few months ago, Journal editor Rob Eshman told me: "I think Marc Ballon, our senior writer, who was 10 years at Forbes and The LA Times, is terrific."
One reason I thanked God that the Los Angeles Dodgers traded first baseman Shawn Green to the Arizona Razorbacks a few weeks is my anticipation that I would no longer have to read any more adulatory articles about Green in the Journal. Unfortunately, since the trade, I've suffered through one long Journal article on Shawn and a repetitive letter to the editor.
Saying goodbye can be hard, which is why I am compelled to pick up the Journal every Friday after 12 years of steady, though frequently unhappy, reading.