Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks: Woody Paige

We hate to frontload this feature with such an apt subject — it's only our second one — and after Woody Paige there's really no place else to go, is there? After spending the last hour reading his old Denver Post columns, we're really kicking ourselves: We could have saved a lot of time and effort by just hiring a guy to scream at us for 15 minutes while chasing us around the yard with a rake.

That's the gist of a typical Paige column. For you journalism students, it goes like this: Beat on your subject until it loses consciousness, add a few troubling inaccuracies, promote your next visit on Around the Horn.

Of course, Paige's most infamous column occurred in 2002, when inhabitants of Utah foolishly allowed him within their borders during preparations for the Winter Olympics. The results were predictable:

"Colorado's new slogan to attract tourists should be: 'Visit beautiful Colorado. We won't force you to take a religious brochure at every street corner, make you eat lime Jell-O at every meal ... marry three of your mother's cousins, consider you inferior if you're not white, a man or heterosexual, order you to ride to a ski area in a school bus ..."


(More Woody After The Jump)

But even worse, after a furious backlash he sloppily apologized to the people of Utah. Getting all Jell-O-like, he wrote: "Happy Valentine's Day. I'm sorry I hurt you." He didn't, however, apologize after this one:

"Most people never get out of here alive. Miami, where the slogan is: 'Your CD player, your money and your life, por favor."

But even more terrifying than the Ranting Paige is the Contemplative Paige. The Paige who makes flailing attempts at (gulp!) poetry. Witness this, from the aftermath of the Columbine shootings:

"The columbine that was growing alongside the road in Littleton has wilted and died.
It bloomed and blossomed ever-so briefly.
The blue-and-white petals have drooped and turned brown.
From a frost, or maybe out of sadness."
Of course after reading this, Colorado's official state flower resigned in embarrassment, followed by the state bird (Lark Bunting) and state insect (Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly) who also walked out in a show of solidarity. We won't even get into his recurring roles on television ("Cold Pizza," most notably, along with "Dream Job," etc.) other than to say we wish they'd produce a season of Celebrity Mole in Baghdad. Oh, and don't forget to check out WoodyPaige.com, which alarms and terrifies us.