Complaint department gets stranger

Various places I’ve lived as an adult have come complete with a “community” newsrag that offers the sludgy underside to contemplate.  I’m not taking British tabloid quality, but local wags who like to have others peruse their complaints and can somehow afford to publish widely enough that any inveterate reader at one time or another falls over the print.  Many years ago, the Newton Tab started and was headed in that direction but righted its course to become a kind of shopper publication with occasional articles. The Berkeley Daily Planet started off the other way–relatively real news and delivered daily–but underwent a change of leadership that took it to twice a week with a cudgel.

Here, it’s Frank, a biweekly that lives up to its name by putting out such scoops as who stole what from the bridal wear store. Or, more recently, investigates the case of rats on public property, not because there are simply rats on public property–hey, it’s an old urban area and there are gonna be rats–but because the rats appear to be sluggish.  Who looks at a rat long enough to determine sluggishness as opposed to vector-reportability?

I’m never sure what folks think will happen when such complaints are levied: that the rats, whether sluggish or no, will be properly deported from the property? that the rats will be allowed to share in the benefits of multivitamins and overcome their sluggishness? And why would folks want to read about someone else’s complaint? Too sluggish to go find one’s own nemesis? Hard to believe that there aren’t greater issues in the world–nay, in the community–warranting careful attention.


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