Most of the time, Fall River is as lonely as a quahog buried deep in the sand. Oh, we’re down there, but people can’t find us and, unlike the tasty quahog, no one is looking for Fall River.
And we can deal with that just fine. There are a lot of places everyone ignores. Sheboygan, WI. Steubenville, OH. Sedalia, MO. Those are places that don’t get outside press coverage unless there’s an outbreak of cannibalism at the high school, or an outbreak of pregnancy at the junior high school. Either one of those things, as well as murders and political scandal, will bring regional reporters and columnists running into town, eager to provide salacious, yet “socially responsible” reporting and opinion.
Fall River, currently blessed with a mayor under federal indictment, is now quivering as the quahogger’s tongs rip into our refuge in the sand.
For the last few months, and for the next several months, Fall River will be inundated with television trucks and slightly confused reporters, all of them learning everything they can about the two blocks around Government Center. Just about the time these guys find the Dunkin Donuts on South Main Street, it’ll be time to move on to the next story in the next town. Some of them may never learn that there’s a South Main Street, a North Main Street, and an East Main Street.
Hell, I expect the coverage. You got news. You get reporters. It’s a rule. It’s like leaving cat food out in your front yard. It attracts cats.
The opinion pieces are annoying, though.
The Providence Journal. The Boston Globe. They’re all “weighing in” based on two or three hours of a reporter being in the city.
They want Jasiel Correia to go. They want Jasiel Correia to stay. They couldn’t pick the guy out of a police lineup, but they have an opinion. Some of them may be typing the name “Correia” for the first time, and half of them can’t pronounce it properly.
How many of the people who write editorials for the Journal or The Globe spend ANY time in Fall River? The Providence Journal had a bureau in Fall River several decades ago, but today, you could walk down Pleasant Street and you’d see Bigfoot before you saw a Providence Journal reporter.
But the effort to dig poor little Fall River out of the sand won’t stop with drive-by editorials. Once the city becomes a story, it becomes a focus for editorial writers who have never spent a night in Fall River. How often do you see a Boston Globe reporter at a Fall River City Council meeting?
“Hey, what’s to know?” these guys say before they start to write. “They used to have mills. Now they don’t. They used to have sewing shops. Now they don’t. They shoot heroin. They’re poor. The mayor is under indictment. I’ll write an editorial telling him to step down, and I’ll leave work a little early. Beat the traffic.”
And thus it is that little, largely ignored Fall River becomes deluged with the opinions of the ignorant, told what to do by many people who have a minimal connection to the city. When the sun goes down, those people won’t be in Fall River. Not like you. Not like me.
I’m waiting for one of the papers in Saudi Arabia to do an editorial about Fall River called, “Correia Should Step Down.” I’m surprised one of the papers in Portugal hasn’t done an editorial yet, frankly, I’d be okay with the paper on Sao Miguel writing an editorial about Fall River because at least the editor of that paper could call his cousin on Middle Street and ask him what’s happening.
Here’s the test. If you meet a guy who is writing an opinion about Fall River, give him a chow mein sandwich. If he picks it up in his hands like he’s eating a ham sandwich, don’t listen to him.