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Damned Near Perfect


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I've long appreciated Ben Joravsky's neighborhood news reports, but this last piece, on State Attorney Jack O'Malley's railroading of the nonviolent anti-Newt demonstrators at the June Booksellers' convention, propelled me finally to write in. Can't you clone this guy or something? He's a Chicago treasure, our only regular progressive investigative reporter, and he knows how to write. In a city awash with sensationalist gangs/drugs/AFDC underclass reporting, Joravsky has the intelligence to ignore the hype and follow the important threads--money and power, braided with racism. Through his stories we can see the political-economic realities of the city and the state: how public funds don't flow to the poor and working-class, and how individuals and progressive groups fight to redirect them and to organize with what little they've got. Joravsky finds the important stories, he gets the details,and he doesn't fall into silly sentimentality or its opposite, the fake-cosmopolitan cynicism so popular nowadays. If he followed his political-economic threads to Washington, DC, and focused a bit more on gender issues, he'd be damned near perfect.

Micaela di Leonardo


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