Book Review: Like I Was Saying (1984)

Select columns from the immortal independent newspaper columnist, Mike Royko
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

Let’s take a journey thru yesteryear, which of course was only yesterday, to pay some homage with even a jab or two to Mike Royko, the newspaper man who made Chicago famous. These are selections from his columns for The Daily News, The Sun-Times, and The Tribune spanning 1966-1984. The sad fact is, while I was up and reading leading columnists for a good portion of that period—I came to Detroit in 1969, which is a mere 282 miles from the Windy City, and in those days still almost as happenin’—I never made a habit of enjoying Mr. Royko’s salt-of-the-earth daily columns.

A remarkable man who definitely earned his stripes as an afflictor of the powerful. The first thing that jumps out at those of us who are into the ‘English thing’ is that the proper usage of like and as has been violated. [The grammatically correct phrase is ‘As I was saying.’] Revealing Mr. Mike’s blue collar spokesman image, in pointed fashion. Indeed, one might well characterize Royko as the prototype of politically incorrectness. From a biography:

“Royko was ostensibly a liberal journalist, but a liberal journalist with a sense of the outrage of the common citizen. Therefore, he was at the forefront of those who questioned Gary Hart’s judgment rather than his morals, had a nationally celebrated fight with AT & T, and wrote a column castigating those social workers who were attempting to get men in pool rooms to find regular jobs. Additionally, he was generally unsupportive of political correctness, of those who are young and fail to function within the political system, of police departments that fail to protect the average person, and of those politicians who see people as part of —the problem. Royko was credited with first calling former California Governor Jerry Brown “Governor Moonbeam,” and he rarely saw virtue in those who voiced the idea of the criminal as the victim.”

That’ll bring up my two jabs: Continue reading