Well, I see that Notre Dame (the University, not the Cathedral) has hired Paul Ryan, former Speaker of the House. Evidently, Ryan will teach economics–despite the fact that he consistently elevated ideology over evidence and was routinely criticized by actual economists for clinging to long-debunked theories.
Some people resemble that bad penny that inexplicably keeps coming back.
Closer to home, the Indianapolis Business Journal has announced it has added Gary Varvel to its roster.
Over the past years, the IBJ has eclipsed the Indianapolis Star in the amount of actual news published. The Star, which is (theoretically) our city’s general interest newspaper, has reported less and less information about local government, and less news in general; the IBJ has increasingly filled the gap. The IBJ has also “picked up” reporters, columnists and others who have been downsized or otherwise left the Star. (Disclosure: I’m one of them–I moved to the IBJ a few years ago.)
Most of these additions have added to the depth of Business Journal coverage. And virtually all of them–Left or Right–have displayed civility and respect for those who hold contrary opinions. The paper’s Forefront feature, especially, adds to readers’ understanding of contentious issues by including opposing perspectives by political figures and others with knowledge of the matters being considered.
Then there’s Varvel, long a cartoonist for the Star, and more recently given an occasional column that was not well-received, according to one editor with whom I spoke.
I don’t know Varvel personally, but I’ve seen his work and heard the stories.
I still recall a conversation I had years ago with a friend, a Star reporter who worked alongside Varvel. The reporter’s sister had given birth to a highly anticipated baby who died shortly thereafter, and the family was grief-stricken. Varvel took it upon himself to explain to my friend–evidently at some length– that the death was God’s will.
To say that this tone-deaf intrusion did not endear him to his coworker would be an understatement.
That said–whether it was Latinos coming through the window to invade the home of nice white folks, or the portrayal of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford demanding M&Ms and roses (for which the Star issued an apology), or the columns defending Trump, attributing gun violence to moral decay and not the wide availability of guns, or objecting to a school’s policy requiring respect for transgender students–you certainly always knew where Varvel was coming from.
As a column in NUVO, Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper, put it after the Latino cartoon:
It’s no surprise that an editorial cartoon by The Indianapolis Star’s Gary Varvel was removed from the newspaper’s website over the weekend. The cartoon portrays an Hispanic family climbing in through the window of the home of a white family celebrating Thanksgiving. The white father, with a plate full of turkey in his hands, wears a glum expression as he says, “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”
Considering Varvel’s often bigoted opinions on politics and race, I’m surprised this kind of thing hasn’t happened before.
Since the IBJ has championed the importance of inclusiveness and diversity, the decision to add Varvel ranks right up there with Notre Dame’s decision to treat Ryan as an economist.