The columnists in the San Francisco Chronicle have come and gone in the (my God!) forty-plus years I've been reading it, some better, some worse. I enjoyed Stan Delaplane in his day, but when they reprint his columns now I can't read them. I can still read Herb Caen, but I never could read the society column. I wonder why they never reprint any Charles McCabe, my first example of a literate curmudgeon.
The one columnist I genuinely miss - the way I genuinely miss Molly Ivins, and for the same reason - was the immortal Art Hoppe. Mr. Hoppe saw the world through the clearest possible lens, and was an absolute genius at laying it out so nobody could be confused about it. I still love his suggestion that we would improve tax collection if we simply turned the IRS over to the Mafia to manage, and his complaint after the AbScam scandal in the '70s that at $25,000 apiece, lobbyists were making Congressmen too expensive for ordinary citizens to buy. How does that sound now??
Recently the Sunday Datebook reproduced one of Mr. Hoppe's columns from the 1960s. As I read this, I thought of all the corporate mergers I've seen go down through the years, and how the businesses get fewer and bigger. And so I give you:
Mickey Mouse saves the world, 1965
Read it and weep.