Conflict or what?

The Journal takes out an ad; siding with Keith; mad about Phoebe
By RUDY CHEEKS  |  April 13, 2011

With Passover just around the corner, I detected a decidedly non-kosher element in the Other Paper on Monday. Although this is not the first time the questionable item appeared, I was fascinated by an ad that began: "THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO TAX YOU TO READ THIS."

At the bottom of the notice, in small print, just below the Providence Journal/projo .com logo, it read, "This advertisement is endorsed by The Providence Journal."

"Endorsed by?" Did the Journal pay for it? It would appear so. Why use the vague phrase "endorsed by?" And that's not my only concern.

Look, there is nothing wrong with putting a display ad of your own design into your own newspaper supporting your own financial interests. It's done all the time. No treif here.

But one of the primary missions of the daily newspaper is to cover and scrutinize the state government in its news pages in a reasonably objective manner (commentary and editorials being quite a different matter).

Doesn't it seem a bit odd to directly criticize the governor's proposed policy in the form of an "endorsed" display ad rather than an editorial or op-ed item? Does Ed Achorn really need the ad department to have his back?

And then there's the subterranean soap opera elements of this saga: the daily paper did not endorse Linc Chafee, despite the fact that, prior to the Texans purchasing the whole kit and kaboodle, the Chafee family and the Danforth family (first lady Stephanie's clan) were among the major shareholders. I would imagine that Rhode Island's first family still has plenty of stock in the paper (albeit, in the governor's case, in some sort of blind trust).

This is not exactly earthshaking information, nothing more than a minor Vo Dilun tale, but I certainly find it more interesting than who will be the next bonehead to get the ax from Donald Trump.


A couple of months back, I was chatting with Bob Kerr, the great Other Paper columnist, when he mentioned that he had just finished Keith Richards's memoir Life and how much he had enjoyed it. I had been planning on reading it but this pushed me over the edge and I went out the next day and bought a copy.

Kerr's right: this is one of the best books about rock 'n' roll — the music and the whole life — that I have ever read (and I've read plenty — and also have a little personal knowledge of the subject).

Of course, Keith is responsible for many of the greatest riffs and licks in rock 'n' roll: "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up," that stinging solo in "Sympathy for the Devil."

For those who are Rolling Stones fans — and if you like rock 'n' roll at all, you're a Rolling Stones fan — the whole Mick/Keith dynamic is one of the long-est-running and most entertaining soap operas in rock history. Near the end of Life comes this passage by the guitarist that not only succinctly summarizes and explains the differences between Sir Mick and Keef but also explains why this writer has always been securely in the Richards camp on all matters.

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