Editorial: Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

By Becky O'Malley
Friday December 21, 2007

The current issue is one that readers will either love or hate. Much of it has been written by readers themselves, and not everyone thinks that’s a good idea. 

A local wag who shall be nameless here suggested that the role of professional journalism is to keep the news out of the papers, and while that’s a bit too cynical, it’s true that a lot of people who write to us and for us know a lot more about what’s going on than you’ll ever see reported in the pages of rigidly conventional corporate publications. And it’s also the case that many traditional and valid writing forms—short stories, poetry, personal essays—used to be aired in newsprint publications, and now they’re seldom seen anywhere. These annual extra-large holiday issues are our attempt to balance the scale a bit.  

This issue and the next one, the Year in Review issue, will each be on the stands for a full week so that we can take a break ourselves for Christmas and New Year’s eves. There will NOT be new papers in the boxes or on the Internet on the next two Tuesdays. 

Some of those who have contributed to our year-end issues are famous, widely published authors, and others might never have had their work published anywhere else. We value all their voices. One of today’s contributions is a paean celebrating the Berkeley Community Chorus, and that’s a good metaphor for what we’re hoping to accomplish here. The BCC doesn’t have auditions: anyone is welcome to come and try to sing, yet the result is almost always awe-inspiring. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve here. 

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without a few Scrooges and Grinches, and they’re here too. We’re always amused by the people who write in and complain bitterly about the public access the Planet provides even as they’re enjoying it themselves. And the sweet voices usually drown out the sour notes. We hope that most of our readers find the result pleasing.