It is quite an honor to be voted Best Local Journalist. It’s right up there with Best Brother in the Snider Family and Best Guy Who Just Moved into Stonebrook Condominium No. 1236.
My job has many facets, all of which contribute to my becoming softer and doughier, physically speaking. I review plays and movies, both of which are passive activities, unless the show is really awful and I start throwing things. I also write a column called “Snide Remarks” twice a week. I generally do this from a sitting position.
So it is nice to receive some kind of recognition for all the arduous sitting around I do. My chiropractor will especially appreciate it.
Is it hard being the Best Local Journalist? Oh, my, yes. Aside from the constant sitting and reclining involved, there are mental strains, too. Reviewing movies sounds like fun, until you realize a lot of them have Freddie Prinze Jr. in them. Seeing theater productions for free sounds nice, until you find out they’re all called “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
I have a lot of freedom with “Snide Remarks,” which is a writer’s dream. But some of the pleasure in writing it is tempered with the knowledge that no matter what I write, there are some individuals who will complain about it. (Some of these people, I believe, do not even read the column anymore. They just send pre-written angry comments every Wednesday and Friday.)
I write a sarcastic column, and I get this: “Can’t you ever be nice? You’re a jerk! ” (Except they spell it “your.”)
I write a pleasant, gentle column, and I get this: “Snide, you’re losing your touch!” (See previous note.)
But I shouldn’t complain. (And yet, I still do.) These are minor quibbles over what is generally a very entertaining job. And it pays fabulously well!
Sorry for the bald-faced lie there, but I wanted to make sure I still had your attention. As Best Local Journalist, I feel it is my duty to keep you alert.
Those of you who are not the Worst Local Journalist have no idea how hard it is to maintain that low level of quality. Combing through the Deseret News for inspiration, watching Fox News all the time — it’s a lot of work, being the worst.
But it’s worth it. When I listen to an angry voice mail — delivered late at night or on a weekend, when the caller was sure to be in no danger of actually reaching me — it warms my heart. When the caller obviously missed the point of the column, or has no idea what theater reviews are for, or thinks that movies containing cute actors are automatically “good” movies, it reassures me that my labors have not been in vain.
Being the worst means being the one people disagree with the most violently. In fact, that’s all it means. It has little to do with one’s actual writing abilities, and everything to do with the content of one’s stories. Let’s be honest: There are popular writers who have far less writing skill than I do. Some of these people wrote “The Christmas Box.”
Nonetheless, I am content with the honor of being Worst Local Journalist. I am in good company: Don Meyers, who is actually one of the best local journalists, won the title last year. The bodies of his enemies wash up daily on the shores of Utah Lake.
I would like to weigh in on some of the other “Worsts” in the valley. As the Worst Local Journalist, I feel obligated to tell you what I think and berate you if you disagree with me.
Worst Roommate: This guy named Dax, who moved out in the dark of night without advance notice and forgot to leave the key behind.
Worst Child: The kid who kept kicking my seat last week at a local playhouse.
Worst Newspaper Delivery Trend: The way the Salt Lake Tribune paperboy has not actually landed a paper on my porch for as long as I’ve lived in the house. I am fairly sure he has stopped trying.
Worst Thing to Do to a Fuddrucker’s Employee: Get him drunk and then make him try to pronounce the name of the restaurant.
The Daily Herald conducted its second annual "Best of Utah Valley" poll, and the results were published in a special advertising section on Oct. 28, 2001. I got the most votes for Best Local Journalist, and also the most votes -- from different people, obviously -- for Worst Local Journalist. As per our custom (well, our year-old custom), the best and worst journalists get to write columns accepting the award, so I wrote these two. Neither of them is very long or very important, but they're here for historical value, anyway.
You may recall that I mocked the 2000 poll in a column. The 2001 version received far more participation from readers, and had far fewer stupid categories like "Best Cemetery." Plus, I won something, so I guess now I had to treat it like a real poll.