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Shrimp 'n Grits

The Palter and Chatter

Every so often it’s beneficial to digress and explain to more recent readers the origins of the descriptive, sometimes colorful, synonyms used to describe the people, places, and organizations that are the subject of frequent articles in Shrimp ‘n Grits. Such is the case with The Post and Courier, Charleston’s current successor to a long, illustrious, and notable printed press that informed and faithfully served citizens of the Lowcountry through almost two centuries of “Hell and High Water”. Sadly, what once were, in the living memories of many Charlestonians, two credible daily newspapers, The Evening Post and The News and Courier, has now dwindled to a single literal and figurative journalistic lightweight, emasculated by political influence and self-serving egos of its current owners. It’s no wonder that newspapers nationwide like The Post and Courier now find themselves living off the dwindling assets of their balance sheets as they slowly founder in rising seas of red ink.

The following poem was published in Shrimp ‘n Grits over three and a half years ago. Given the slow, albeit continuing, spiral into extinction witnessed daily by the remaining readers of the Palter and Chatter, its worth repeating.

Paper Politics

Of noble ancestry from rebellion and courage,
Our local newspaper can trace its own peerage.
The “Mercury” proclaiming a fiery progression,
Once shattered our Nation with news of secession.
Through earthquake and wars, a dependable source
Of commerce, debate and open discourse.

But in recent decades, a loss of perspective
By liberals and demagogues who’re much less objective.
Of cause and effect they seem not to ponder
And care even less if readers should wonder
Why polemic response is their only defense
To political patronage and its consequence.

As grand plans implode for lack of foundation
Its editors are compelled to defend aberration.
The causes they champion now rive with dissent
And suffer from politics and mismanagement -
Like choosing a path as political fodder
For a bottomless sinkhole of taxes called CARTA.

Its writings and features are only a ghost
Of that good evening paper we once called the “Post”.
Intimidated by those who would perpetuate power
And loss of respect from those who don’t cower,
Credibility and trust to the winds it did scatter
And now there is nothing but “Palter and Chatter”.

Lee Walton

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