Civilization Is CollapsingCommentary • ISSUE 33•14 • Apr 15, 1998 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) Many times I have mentioned that I believe to-day's news-paper trade to be an abomination. Back when I was editor-in-chief of The Onion, we printed nothing but cold, hard facts and had the other dailies scooped before the ink on their front pages even dried. Our coverage of the latest wife-beatings and the opium dens bested even that of the vaunted Police Gazette! But if you peruse a news-paper to-day, you'd think that the notion of good, solid news has been pitched out the window! Try as I may, I cannot get a single up-date on the war against the fiendish Spaniards in Cuba, or whether Nellie Bly completed her around-the-world trip on time! Instead, I see news-print wasted on such ludicrous subjects as whether or not to spank your child, how short the skirt hems will be this spring, and the perils of smoking. Bah! Lately, I have been perceiving an even worse phenomenon. Evidently, news-paper editors have foolishly consented to allow members of the public to author their own essay-columns! This is asking for trouble in my book. Only eminent publishers such as myself should be permitted to voice their opinions in a printed public forum. Give a common drudge his own column, and he'll use it to foment trouble. In no time, the publisher will find himself out on the side-walk, and the up-start will have the rule of the roost! Yesterday, with considerable trepidation, I asked my man-servant Standish if any such miserable and covetous personages were being given free expression within the pages of The Onion. Standish replied that, indeed, there were, and he told me that The Onion's current roster of columnists consisted of a vulgar-mouthed automobilist, an obese female who likes pussy-cats, a man who prattles on about performers of the moving-daguerreotypes, and, most outrageous of all, a libidinous gentle-man of sport whose skin is as black as a Moor's.So shocked I was at Standish's words, I swooned and had to be brought to with smelling-salts. Civilization is surely collapsing, and it is my deep misfortune that I am alive to witness it!