By John Kass
We’re all rushing in these hectic days from Christmas to the New Year and beyond. The frantic song remains the same: Too many things to do for all of us.
Many of you are still hunting for that great last-minute (and absolutely killer) gift, a present so fine, with such a “Wow-factor,” that your loved ones will be impressed, and you’ll certainly want one for yourself. I’ve got the perfect gift idea:
A yearly subscription to johnkassnews.com for only $50 a year, with a huge discount–two months free if you sign up now.
Why? Because I just can’t do this without your help. I’m asking you, please help me continue my work.
And who knows? Eventually, I just might even learn how to write a column someday.
With your help, I know we can make johnkassnews even better.
For the past six months, I’ve been sharing my columns with you. I hope you find them informative and important, perhaps even entertaining. I love writing for you as I’ve been doing all these years. And now I believe that we’re building a community, together, where diversity of thought is welcome, as an alternative to the broken corporate, legacy media.
But I need your help. And I do know this: what we do here at johnkassnews, you won’t find anywhere else.
For a yearly subscription of $50, you’ll get two months free. That works out to less than five bucks a month. Or you may want to sign up on a monthly basis, but that’s without the two-month discount, and then there’s the hassle of having to sign up again and miss things.
Either way, it’s cheaper than what you’d spend on fancy coffee concoctions with the floating pumpkin chunks or whatever they put in those cups. Call me a conservative, but I refuse to slurp on pumpkin.
But, hey, I’m well caffeinated. If you subscribe and take the two-month free discount, here’s what you’ll get:
About three columns a week, sometimes more, and guest columns from other fine writers. You’ll also receive The Chicago Way podcast that I co-host with Jeff Carlin delivered to your inbox free.
I can only promise you this. I’ll give you everything I’ve got.
Subscribers will have the opportunity to comment under the column online. You may have noticed that I comment underneath the column every day and respond to you as best I can.
For years at “the paper,” I loved the comments section online. I’d take a beating some days, but editors didn’t mind. Later other writers didn’t like it, so editors dropped the comments. I don’t mind readers having their say, as long as they’re not rude. That’s how I was raised in this business, with the understanding that you readers are the reason we do this work. I thought that’s what news organizations wanted:
But now it seems like a one-way street. As my dad taught me as I was a boy at our family store on the South Side, the customers are everything. You treat them with respect. They feed your family. But that was a small business.
Giant, corporate legacy media is not a small business. And corporate types have forgotten that customers (readers) are everything. These days corporate legacy media has a definite attitude, looking down their noses, mocking and lecturing readers. What do readers do? They walk away. Many tell me that they’ve been walking away for the past six months.
But all are welcome here at johnkassnews.com
I admit this is a big step, to put my future in the hands of others . But you’ve all been so incredibly supportive and kind since I’ve left “the paper.” You’ve always had my back. You had my back when those tough guys with political connections threatened my children at the steakhouse. Some of you volunteered to stand in my driveway. You had my back when mayors, governors, and other politicians and their minions schemed and screamed to get me fired. It didn’t work. And through all that, you’ve always had my back. And I’ve had your back.
Old school guys like me don’t have a place in corporate media now. I’m too old to learn their new tricks of inserting opinion in news stories, and that’s fine with me. When somebody doesn’t want you at their table, do you start whimpering, or do you find another table with your friends and order a round of martinis?
I prefer mine on the rocks, four blue cheese olives, thank you.
I can admit now that when I left the newspaper to which I’d given much of my life, that I was deeply, terribly depressed. I felt betrayed and angry at being falsely defamed for writing the truth, for speaking my mind about prosecutors around the country who refuse to do their jobs, and the rising sense of lawlessness in the cities and across the nation.
You see it now in the news, everywhere, every day.
When I left, I told you I wouldn’t just putter in my garden like old Laertes. I said I had a few spears left to throw. Friends convinced me to keep writing and start my own little business, here at johnkassnews.
In those first few weeks last summer I departed a newspaper I once loved, and invited you to join me here on this great adventure, so many of you signed up for email notifications of the column that the IT guys who work on the site were stunned.
Was I pleased? Of course. Vindicated? I suppose you might call it that. All of you signing up made what happened to me at “the paper” hurt not so much. And I began to wonder, ‘This is crazy, but it might just work.’
I believe it now. But now comes the time when I can’t write for free any longer. We’ll see how many of you join. I’m not interested in a vanity project. I know what I do has worth, and I don’t want to devalue the work. Writing for free has its charms.
But I don’t ask you to work for free and give me free stuff. And you can’t ask people to edit copy for free, or write guest columns for free, or research for free. They have worth too. It is the way of the world, and we’re in it together.
“Think of what you’re doing on this adventure like you’re starting a restaurant,” said my friend Jim Banakis, owner of Juicy-O in Downers Grove where I get the killer spicy shrimp and grits.
“You’ll find out what your customers like, what you like, and if you can just pay your bills, you can keep doing what you love,” Jimmy said. “You do want to keep doing it, yes?”
Yes. This is an important time for writers, particularly those of us who refuse to be herded. There’s so much that’s happening now, so much that will happen. And I want us–you and me–to be a part of it together.
The nation is demanding to be free of the rule of experts. Parents are insisting that their children belong to them, not to unelected bureaucrats. The November 2022 mid-term elections are coming; a great city by the lake is dying in the hands of nincompoops, a once vibrant county and region are going down the drain, with bright young people leaving in droves.
I’m a small businessman now. Starting a restaurant, going on a great adventure, they’re all about one thing: Taking a step into the unknown. Life is a risk. Americans were the people who once embraced risk-taking. So, let’s take a risk.
I’m ready. Are you?
I’ve been going on for several paragraphs now without mentioning Don Barzini, though I have dropped his name here and there recently, so that all this wouldn’t come as a complete surprise to you.
“You’ve got to invoke Don Barzini,” explained Peter V. Bella, the retired cop, foodie and writer who has contributed his fine work here. “Big news is happening to you today. It’s important. You can ask Don Barzini to explain it.”
In “The Godfather,” Don Emilio Barzini was portrayed by the late film-noir actor Richard Conte. He had a worldly smirk on his face, like a wise-guy alderman.
He didn’t think anyone should work for free, not even Vito.
“Certainly, he can present a bill for such services,” Don Barzini said. “After all, we are not communists.”
I have been called many things, but communist isn’t one of them.
Let’s see what happens. I hope this works out.
Please join me as we take next step into the unknown, on this excellent adventure, together.