DURHAM, N.C. -- Higher management of the Durham Herald-Sun announced today that, effective with today's column, Gary D. Gaddy has been replaced as the Chapel Hill Herald's Leading Regular Thursday Columnist.
Herald insiders say that current Chapel Hill Herald editor Dan Way and former CH Herald editor Neil Offen both opposed the move. One source who asked not to be named said Way and Offen fought against the outsourcing on the grounds that Gaddy "was so easy to work with, such good company and often picked up lunch tabs."
This source said the Herald-Sun management made the move because, from their perspective, Gaddy is very difficult to work with, sometimes publishing odd columns that no one on the Durham editorial staff understood. "At times we weren't even certain whether his columns were fact or fiction," said an editorial staffer who asked to remain anonymous for "professional reasons."
"The columns are supposed to sappy, local puff pieces, and he's running hundred-year-old song lyrics, fictitious restaurant reviews and transcripts of Larry King interviewing God. It's very disorienting," the unnamed staff editor added.
Taking Gaddy's place is a contract ghostwriter working under the pseudonym of Gary D. Gaddy. Herald-Sun management expects that readers will not notice the difference.
"Once we inadvertently re-published a column run six months before -- and nary a complaint crossed the transom, don't see how anyone will notice a replacement writer who is slightly less witty and insightful," said Offen, currently the Durham Herald's Metro editor, in a frank admission that his opposition to the move was primarily personal.
One expert believes the H-S management team is correct on reader obliviousness. "What management did, before they made a permanent change, was to study the impact of this possible switch over the last several months by alternating actual Gaddy brilliance with ghostwritten boiler plate. No one even noticed -- based on the absence of reader feedback," said University of North Carolina journalism professor and one-time gubernatorial candidate Philip Brown.
Even Gaddy's wife and sometime editorial assistant, who also asked not to be named, said she thought the "other stuff" was just about as good as Gaddy's. "Maybe not as funny, but the spelling was better and the syntax easier to follow," she said.
Gaddy, who was reported to be very disturbed at first about the change, came to see it in a different light upon reflection. “When I was first informed, I was very insulted,” said Gaddy, “then I realized it was nothing to be miffed about. Just the opposite, it's quite an honor. Nobodies don’t have ghostwriters. Major industry figures, U.S. presidents and top Hollywood celebrities, they have ghostwriters.
"Think about this: even the least ghostwriter-supported author, Barbara Bush's dog Millie, made the top-ten best-seller list -- and probably had a higher approval rating than George H. W. when he left office," said Gaddy.
Biden treated for foot-in-mouth disease
WASINGTON, D.C. -- The C1B1 virus has claimed its first prominent victim as Vice President Joseph Biden was admitted today to Bethesda Naval Hospital for treatment of a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. Because it took so long for Biden to receive initial treatment, doctors say it is not clear when, or if, he will recover.
Not everyone, however, is unhappy with Biden's poor prognosis. The National Association of Comics and Comedians said a slow recovery for Biden would be a good thing for them.
"Without Biden, we won't have a single notable white male to deride. Talk about the Great Recession, the auto industry has had a cakewalk compared to us. You ought to try writing nightly standup comedy without George Bush to kick around," said Sander Sandersson, chief monologue writer for the Tonight Show. "Biden has been a godsend," he added.
Genetically similar to swine flu, foot-in-mouth disease originated in an animal host, spreading from the jackass to humans.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You might be a redneck if . . . you have ever said, "You might be a redneck if."
Gary D. Gaddy may or may not be the author of this column. (Go to GaryGaddy.com to see past columns.)
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 7, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Gary D. Gaddy