The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, January 07, 2004  

Toward What End I Have No Idea

I received the following message from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky yesterday, January 6, this her second missive in response to my piece, “Go Wild!”:

me, again

I can indeed be thin-skinned about some things (I’m only human...), but I’m sure not being thin-skinned about your references to my column. Instead, I’m [expletive deleted] that you put words in my mouth. Don’t do that, please. You can certainly take issue with whatever I actually WRITE, which is not only fine to do but in keeping with the lively spirit that characterizes your fun site, which I usually think is terrific. But to pretend to paraphrase something I never even wrote is misleading and just plain wrong.

Thanks for hearing me out on this.

Ronnie P.

I would have thought an experienced journalist like Polaneczky would have known that having raised the issue of libel, as she did in her January 5 e-mail to me, published at The Rittenhouse Review and TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse on the same date, that any direct contact between us should and would be immediately suspended, hereinafter to be conducted between her attorney(s) and mine.

Such is standard procedure in this business. (Just ask Los Angeles Times “editor” Mary Arno.)

Again, as I wrote on January 5:

I’ll leave it to readers to decide for themselves whether I accurately captured the spirit of Polaneczky’s article, “Revive the Vibe of Mayhem at Parade,” which may be read in its entirety online.

As for me, I suggest she is the one who needs to “re-read the column.”

For edification, I would advise readers to review Polaneczy’s article, particularly the last 14 paragraphs, in which the columnist approvingly quotes nearly 250 words from an e-mail or letter from PDN reader Mike Purkis.

Purkis lamented the “crack down” by Philadelphia police on Mummers Parade attendees who, in flagrant violation of the city’s open container laws, apparently thought little of consuming “beer” from “kegs of beer.”

Those are his words, not mine, and they are words happily, almost enthusiastically, by my reading, quoted by Polaneczky, who subsequently included this, from Mike, in reference to the parade: “It’s stupid. It’s no fun,” and to which she added, of her own accord, “Tell it, Mike!”

Polaneczky continued:

I think Mike’s onto something. Maybe, just as Las Vegas is embracing its original[] Sin City vibe in a racy ad campaign whose [sic] saucy slogan -[-] “What happens here, stays here” -[-] is aimed at re-energizing tourism, we ought to figure out how to revive the vibe of mayhem that used to flow like beer along the Mummers parade route. I know -[-] it was usually the beer that caused the mayhem. Still, the possibility of mayhem breaking out at any moment can do wonders for a parade. Like make people want to attend it. [Empasis added.]

All of this within the PDN’s six-day P.R. campaign to get more Philadelphians to attend the parade.

I stand by what I wrote. Other than that, I still -- and can -- have nothing to say to her.

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