Ms. Beak has a gun in her mouth, and she's about to pull the trigger. It's over, boys and girls. The merry ride is about to end. So long. Sayonara. This poodle is taking the last great leap into the deep end.
It's been a good ride, as they say. If nothing else, Ms. Beak has proudly used the terms "bitch slap" and "rat bastard" in complete sentences more than any columnist in recorded history. It may not be the stuff of legend, but it might actually mean something if those piss ants at the Guinness book ever wise up to real life.
Ms. Beak, as many astute readers have guessed, is a "pseudonym" or a "pen name" or, for the more heavily bonged, a "fake name." Despite a long tradition of famous columns written under these so-called "fake names," this has led to confusion and anger among at least a tiny segment of readers, who seem baffled by the concept.
Over and over again, Ms. Beak has received e-mails from disgruntled politicos and perky PR bunnies eager meet at a local bistro to chat about her latest column, oblivious to the basic premise of a fake name. Other readers have attacked Ms. Beak as a coward-not to mention a slut-hiding behind the shield of a fake name. This is known as attacking the messenger, a favorite tactic of the Anti-Intellectuals these days.
At its heart, the fundamental idea behind using a fake name is that no one should give a crap who writes the column. Most columnists are obsessed with "I" and "me," convinced that readers are all atwitter over these columnists' fascinating lives. Their columns are packed with self-love, odes to their wit and triumph in beating out that hack from the business section for a regular columnist slot. Who cares?
But since this is the first and last column Ms. Beak will ever write about herself, it's worth noting this: Many people seem to think they know Ms. Beak's identity, and they are wrong.
More importantly, it could be argued that Ms. Beak is nothing more than a character, a creation, a distinction that seems lost on all those people who have attempted to insult Ms. Beak's motives. The character concept sailed past readers who were eager to engage Ms. Beak in dialogue without once considering they were arguing with a made-up person, sort of like debating a sock puppet.
The most common question for Ms. Beak was something akin to, "Oh, pooh, Ms. Beak, why are you so mean?" (Second most common: "What are you wearing?")
The negativity is an easy one. San Diego media is awash in happy horseshit. Talent-less hacks and professional media marketers trip over their focus-group research to kiss the asses of readers, terrified at the slightest thought of printing anything that might offend anyone. With the nonstop rain of "solutions" and "local heroes," the biggest and most powerful media in town are like scolded dogs trying to suck up for a scratch on the rump.
So-called mainstream reporters all sound the same, expressing everything in "inverted pyramids" and "sound bites." To say the local news hawks are uptight is akin to saying the Union-Tribune is a tad boring. From Michael Tuck solemnly reading the nightly rundown of petty crimes to the Union-Tribune's relentless arrogance, the local media comes across like a junior-high principal with a really bad wedgy.
The self-appointed word-Nazis were always shocked and dismayed by Ms. Beak's potty mouth, as if the mere mention of "cornholing" will lead to moral decay. This is, in a word, bullshit. Words are magic, each with a distinctive meaning and impact. The idea that a committee of mid-level pinheads and "religious leaders" can dictate appropriate language-deciding that "crap" is a good word and "shit" is a bad word-is a scary thing, and it bodes evil for the future of the community.
Ms. Beak may be prone to outlandish statements, exaggerations and far too much gin swilling. But her opinion is no more or less valid than any of the other peons who don't have an outlet to mock the elite-the marginalized and hardworking cynics who are really tired of a power structure run by junior bureaucrats incapable of handling the fry station at a Burger King.
That's why CityBeat is important and essential, a true alternative in a sea of sameness. Columnist Ed Decker should be honored at swanky Rotary Club dinners because he represents a real voice in the community, a voice that wouldn't be heard in this town if not for CityBeat (and its predecessor, SLAMM). Maybe you're not thrilled with his views on relationships with Alaskan sheep or his habit of drooling at family reunions, but that doesn't make his perspective any less important. We all lose if the only media out there is the Union-Tribune and the gang of hunky TV newsreaders.
But that's not Ms. Beak's problem anymore. She could go off to hunt wildebeest in Africa, or start work as a highly paid consultant helping the city of San Diego pick a new nickname (regrettably, no one seems to be leaping on "The Des Moines of the West").
Instead she will make the ultimate sacrifice, using a gun in a last grand gesture of defiance. Her slim hope is that readers will pause for just a brief moment before ordering their latté and contemplate the image of Ms. Beak's brains splattered across the artfully decorated chalkboard introducing that day's special.
Editor's note: I'd talk about Ms. Beak's importance in San Diego's media market, but I couldn't say it any better than she just said it herself. So, I'll simply say that her columns will be missed-not only by us here at CityBeat, but also by her many loyal readers. Thank you, Ms. Beak. Pay your respects at MsBeak1@aol.com.