The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Henry Grady Weeps

Posted on | December 5, 2011 | 10 Comments

Henry Grady monument, Marietta Street, Atlanta, Georgia

Among the many wonders of modern technology is its ability to transcend space, enabling communication between people who share some connection, but who might never cross paths in the real world.

My column today at The American Spectator somehow drew the attention of an academic at an institution of higher learning in California. He sent an e-mail praising my column, explaining that he’d followed the link to my blog, where he’d read the “about” page and learned that I am an alumnus of Jacksonville (Ala.) State University. The professor informed me that he is an alumnus of Troy (Ala.) State University, hated arch-rival of my alma mater, and he further explained that his brother is employed as a staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Of course, I was obliged to send him this cordial reply:

Dear Professor –:
My pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir, and my condolences on the misfortune of your education.
Like we always said at JSU: If you can’t go to hell, go to Troy.
Also, please extend my sympathies to your brother for his heroin addiction or whatever other source of financial desperation compels him to work for the decadent descendants of the Cox family. I’d go back to driving a forklift before I’d ever allow my byline to appear in one of their wretched papers.
As an Atlanta native, born down on Boulevard at what used to be Georgia Baptist Hospital, I grew up reading the Journal every afternoon. When I later stumbled into a journalism career, my ambition naturally was some day to work for my hometown paper. Like every aspiring newspaperman in those days, my dream was that when I grew up, I’d be Lewis Grizzard.
It took me years to work my way up from a $4.50-an-hour job as a staff writer at a 6,000-circulation weekly to become an assistant editor and columnist at the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune.
And then came that sad day when Grizzard died. My editor in Rome actually suggested I should apply for the vacancy left by this much-mourned passing, but I didn’t dare. Surely, I told my boss, that spot was coveted by every man on the AJC staff, and if I were to apply and somehow be lucky enough to be chosen, all those people would hate me for it.
Besides, I wasn’t half good enough to replace Saint Lewis.
Imagine my shock, then, when it was announced that Grizzard would be replaced by the execrable Rheta Grimsley Johnson, an unfunny feminist from out of town.
This was like a heavenly omen to me, a fiery comet blazoning a message across the sky: GET OUT OF GEORGIA!
Two years later, I won a national award for some columns I’d written and a year after that (1997) I got hired by The Washington Times. Shortly after I started my new job in D.C. as an assistant national editor, the Lewinsky scandal broke, and my first thought was, “What a shame that Lewis didn’t live long enough to write about this.”
By the time he died, Grizzard’s column was the only thing worth reading in that damned Atlanta paper, which has been run into the ground by the degenerate offspring of the Cox family. There are some folks down home who swear they’ve seen the statue of Henry Grady on Marietta Street weeping actual tears.
I understand there are many decent and well-meaning journalists who, due to circumstances beyond their control (including heroin addiction, bless your brother’s heart), have no other choice than to work for those vicious Cox people and such of their carpetbagging kin as that worthless Kennedy fellow.
But as for me, like I say, I’d rather go back to driving a forklift.
Sincerely yours,
Robert Stacy McCain

If you’ll look at the top of the page, you’ll see a motto about ruthlessly writing the truth. The decline of the Atlanta papers is a lamentable truth. Perhaps one day the Cox family will sell the paper whose once-proud reputation they’ve ruined. And if the buyer were to be somebody an honest man could respect, then maybe I could go back home.


10 Responses to “Henry Grady Weeps”

  1. Joe
    December 5th, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Paper cut?  You could do laser surgery with that letter.  It is like one of those samori swords that cuts a hair layed gently across the blade. 

    Thanks for ruining my keyboard (again) by forcing a mouthful of coffee out of my nose at a high velocity (I think I can salvage the screen).  I better click through your site to Amazon to order a new one. 

  2. jwstanley82
    December 5th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    As a proud son of Georgia, I learned about Henry Grady in school, and I am a huge Lewis Grizzard fan (even though I wasn’t old enough to enjoy him while he was alive). I’m actually currently re-reading one of his books. He is still missed. One thing I love about this blog is, just like Lewis, there’s no attempt to get on the feminists’ good side! Keep up the good work. I’m sure Lewis would be proud everytime you offend a feminist!

  3. Anonymous
    December 5th, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    Henry Grady was a visionary, and was inspired to his vision of the “New South” by a commencement speech given to the graduating class of the University of Georgia by  the great statesman, Benjamin Hill.

    I grew up in Lithia Springs, just off Ben Hill Road and didn’t learn until I was in my mid-30s who Ben Hill was.

  4. Mortimer Snerd
    December 5th, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    So, is the AJC worse than the Washington Post (AKA Pravda on the Potomac)?

  5. Anonymous
    December 5th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    AJC = Pravda on the Chattahoochee.

    It is rumored that there are still one or two Christians employed there, but they are so fearful of being detected and purged that they pretend to be Buddhists, against whom discrimination is illegal.

  6. Mortimer Snerd
    December 5th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    Chattahoochee?  Gesundheit!

  7. jwallin
    December 5th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    No one can ever go back home. Not even the ones who stay there.

    It’s a place in ones mind that is a golden era lost forever in the past but never forgotten. Where no matter the ups or downs at the time you always knew you were home.

    A place that one uses to gauge ones current location in time and space and judge whether one is closer or further from that ideal but no place will ever match our childhood home.

  8. richard mcenroe
    December 6th, 2011 @ 12:55 am

    I remember the AJC solely as the only reading material we were allowed, Sunday only, in basic training at Benning.  Of course, I remember it principally for the pneumatic young lady who delivered it from a van.  

    The stampede to that van beat any obstacle course on the post.  If you could get through that scrum the Russians would have been cake by comparison.

  9. Jmraytown
    December 6th, 2011 @ 3:15 am

    Beautiful prose and sentiment jwallin.

  10. Quartermaster
    December 6th, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    Or, as Rush puts it, The Atlanta Urinal and Constipation.