AJR  Features
From AJR,   October 1993

Those Sleazy Reporters   

By Unknown

Related reading:
   » Carl of the Wild

For someone who isn't still in journalism because he needs the money, Carl Hiaasen paints an unflattering picture of those who practice the craft. His novels are littered with arrogant, ridiculous or downright crazy reporters or with ex-reporters – deadbeats, has-beens, burnouts and sellouts. A few end up dead or wounded but most get to redeem themselves – and get the girl, at least if they work in print.

Television reporters fare worse. One gets amorous attention from Dickie the Dolphin when trying to report from his tank in a melon-colored thong bikini. Another, the host of "In Your Face," is liposuctioned to death after forgetting to take the anesthesia into account when plotting an ambush interview of his murderously inept plastic surgeon.

Hiaasen on the "Hurricane Museum"
From the Truth is Sicker than Fiction Department: Plans to build a Hurricane Museum as a tourist trap in South Dade!

A member of We Will Rebuild's Innovation Committee (yes, that's what it calls itself) recently suggested with a perfectly straight face that a museum dedicated to the wreckage of Hurricane Andrew would help "rebuild our tourism base."

Among the exhibits contemplated are a wind tunnel and an actual house destroyed by the storm, but "preserved so that people could walk through it."...
If good taste isn't an issue (and apparently it's not), why stop with a dull old museum? Make it a theme park!

"Arvida's House of Flying Gables." Tourists huddle in a realistic suburban bathtub while a wind tunnel re-creates the force of Andrew, ripping off the roof in three seconds flat...

"Wild West Dade Showdown." Rival unlicensed roofers meet at high noon, firing staple guns...

"Mr. Andy's Wild Ride." Just like Disney's twirling teacups, only with mobile homes.

Hiaasen on naming the Miami Heat
The Heat?

Did Seattle name its team The Drizzle? Is the Minneapolis franchise going to call itself The Slush?..

Not that coming up with a decent name is easy these days, especially for an expansion basketball franchise. The trouble is, all the best and most fearsome-sounding names have been taken by football and baseball teams – Bears, Tigers, Lions, Raiders, Rams, etc.

As a result, the National Basketball Association gets stuck with a bunch of vaguely genteel names that exude country-club aloofness instead of ferocity: the Pacers, the Nets, the Spurs, the Suns. My personal favorite is the Utah Jazz, which calls to mind all those legendary Mormon scat singers.

Hiaasen on animal sacrifice
It's safe to say that at this moment, late in the 20th century, South Florida is one of the only civilized places in the world where the subject of animal sacrifice is up for debate...

Until now, most people didn't worry excessively about animal sacrifices being performed by their neighbors. Oh sure, every block has the usual problems – the occasional loud party at the big house on the corner, the wild teenager with the souped-up Camaro, or that rude family with the dogs that bark all night.
But pigeon beheadings? It hardly ever came up.

Hiaasen on Abe Hirschfeld
"I never had a problem with the press in New York."
– Abe Hirschfeld, October 1990, complaining about his rocky relations with the Miami Herald.

That was then. This is now....

Poor Abe. To know him is to loathe him. He lies. He curses. He babbles. He tells crude ethnic jokes. And of course he spits.
New York doesn't deserve this, not even the ailing Post....

Abe was ours once. He owned the Clarion Castle Hotel and Resort on Collins Avenue, and somehow got elected to the Miami Beach City Commission.
Disgraceful is a kind way to describe Abe's stay. When he wasn't dozing at city meetings, he was rambling incoherently or insulting minorities. He went to war with Beach officials over fire hazards at his hotel....

At a commission meeting, he told a joke that made fun of blacks. Mortified fellow commissioners called a special meeting to rebuke Hirschfeld for the slur. Abe demonstrated his contriteness by telling a joke about Arabs.