An old-fashioned hatchet job

If you want to write something negative about Stockton these days, exaggeration is hardly necessary. But the editor of Pasadena’s newspaper has gone over the top anyway.

This hatchet job ran in the Pasadena Star-News. Of Stockton, Frank Girardot wrote, “It’s a (fill in the blank) hole. I liken it to the North Las Vegas of Hunter S. Thompson’s classic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Stockton is a slum and a graveyard and the last stop before permanent exile to Modesto or Vallejo.

“In the “shoddy limbo” of a place like Stockton, lies what Thompson called the last resort for “the gunsels, the drug cripples and all the other losers.”

A gunsel isn’t a gunman, by the way. It’s Yiddish for a kept boy. So we’re perverts, too.

There is a strain of philosophy that holds that a region suffering acute poverty deserves support. Or at least sympathy, however abstract. Evidently there’s another strain that holds that a region suffering poverty deserves superiority and contempt. Even as the condescending writer relies on Delta water and Valley food.

Forgive me for speculating, but Girardot strikes me as a guy so addicted to the power and ego boost of writing for the public that the basic decency of the piece is secondary. Which is funny, because he didn’t write about Stockton powerfully. Hunter S. Thompson wrote about North Las Vegas powerfully. Girardot just picked Thompson’s literary carcass.

What a (fill in the blank) hole.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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