A tribute in kind…
Mr. Wakeham saves the day
Where in the name of the
Newfoundland tabloid gods would
we be without Bob Wakeham?
And no, I’m not like some of the clueless readers who might describe Wakeham as a bombastic has-been or one of those herpes like sores that you think has receded from your lip, only to erupt once more each week on that same lip.
Because those crude and intellectually challenged readers, ladies and gentlemen, simply have failed to realize that the day little Bob picked up his first crayon was the day journalism in our fair province took that final step to legendary. Indeed, our people should hail the wisdom of Wakeham’s words not just with a provincial holiday each year, but a cast lead statue with his ferocious eyebrows gracing every school in the land as a reminder to the very young of the land that the crayon is mightier than the sword – a Newfoundland Messiah.
And don’t pay a bit of attention to the nasty naysayers that question Bob’s Newfoundlandness. After all, he managed to heroically fight his way back to our shores from a youth corrupted by the darkness of American culture and the hallowed halls of the University of North Dakota’s journalism college.
And never was the inescapable evidence of Mr. Wakeham’s profound influence on our tabloid newsprint more than when, as a young fella, he refused to resign as a scribe when the Telegram killed his story on the Mount Cashel scandal. No, young Bob was as determined as his stoic jaw line to carry on the good fight.
After a decade covering fires, kittens in the trees and other exciting happenings across the province, middle-aged Bob entered the hallowed halls of the CBC. Now most of us can only look in awe at the profound influence on our national debate that fellow Newfoundlanders have had. Whether it be Marg Delahunty or the equally ferocious Mark Critch, our impact cannot be discounted in those places of power. But, no surprise to anyone that has tasted his quill, Wakeham transformed the journalistic profession by bringing court room TV to our very living rooms. Think on it. Without Bob’s unwavering influence we wouldn’t have seen OJ trying on that glove that didn’t quite fit, or the perp walk we’ve all come to embrace as the gold standard of journalism in our province.
I put it to you: We owe a debt to Mr. Wakeham that can never be met. He managed, in just one life time (that we’re aware of) to transform the boring reporting of news stories to the joyousness that graces our TVs and newsprint every day. He set the standard for online radio shows that shake our senses three times a day. I’ll grant you Mr. Wakeham has not managed to go where other great minds have gone before him – historical performers like Jerry Boyle, or Mrs. Enid. It seems downright unspeakable that his insight at the CBC has been passed over for the likes of Johnny- come- lately Rex Murphy. How is it the mother corporation can’t see the striking similarities between the two – the singular raised eyebrow of Horus and the piercing eyes to match.
Now it seems more than unfair, indeed even unjust, that poor old Bob has been relegated to a miserly Saturday column at his old haunt. So, before you think of jumping on the band wagon that says Bob is just a crusty old fella etching out his final days in sarcasm and the rage of being passed over, remember, without that dash of Wakeham we would all be a little less Newfoundlander (Labrador is just attached b’y)