BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Well, excuse us just a minute while we yell.
That would be a howl for Cincinnati, which takes a hit in Esquire's annual (and brutally sarcastic) Dubious Achievements feature (January 1999).
To wit: Here's ex-mayor and former news anchor Jerry Springer on the cover. Blood-stained and front tooth missing, he's smiling broadly and giving a thumbs up. Because, Esquire says, he's probably "the only public figure in America who came out of 1998 better (not to mention richer) than he was going into it."
In the three-page interview with the guy Esquire calls "the godfather of the decline of Western civilization," he makes several references to his old hometown:
The Check Incident (when he paid a hooker with a personal check).
His years on city council (especially mayoral years when he got to give celebrities keys to the city).
His run for Congress.
His years at Channel 5.
The story doesn't blame Cincinnati for unleashing him on the world, but it makes it clear this is where it began.
Even with all that, he's not 1998's Dubious Man of the Year. That honor goes to Linda Tripp.
Oh, yes, turns out the Cincinnati Enquirer made it, too. In a little feature on "Fun Couples" (Jay Leno and Viagra, Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson), we find the Enquirer's masthead next to the Chiquita banana logo.
Esquire runs it without comment. So do we.