Greater City Providence

The Sincerest Form of Flattery…

I absolutely love reading the Brown Daily Herald (BDH) newspaper. It offers the comprehensive (and often refreshingly critical) Brown community news and opinion you would expect while also delivering numerous and suprisingly deep Providence and metro area pieces (making the BDH an all-of-a-sudden critical community treasure as the ProJo and other local news sources fall on hard times).

What elevates the paper beyond mere information to a level of entertainment, however, is a writing style so self-consciously earnest and yearning for respect, yet playful, that its stories occasionally (and often unintentionally, I’m sure) can read a bit like a local version of “The Onion.

One recent example I had to share was an article on the quite nice and necessary renovations happening at the Brown University Bookstore (which I’ll post more on later). This effort, many may recall, grew out of mass (and some felt misguided) student and community protest aimed at Brown’s decision to outsource management of the store to a company like Barnes and Noble or Borders, who would oversee renovations. This decision even lead to the creation of a full-fledged advocacy group to block the move. Brown, who badly wanted out of the book business, nevertheless buckled and decided to do their own renovations and stay independent from the evil corporate Barnes and Noble or Borders.

So, given this history, what quote from an impressed Brown student does the BDH writer choose to end her piece, without any hint of irony?

“Riaz Gillani ’09 praised the renovation efforts, saying the bookstore looks “less depressing.” The store will now feel more like Barnes & Noble or Borders, he said.”

Just awesome…

Bret Ancowitz

1 comment

  • I just went to the Brown Bookstore, though still very much in-progress, it is nice.

    Some suggestions I’d make to the powers that be:

    Better internal wayfinding. This may well be on it’s way, there were lots of temporary signs amongst the more permanent ones. Example, I didn’t go to the second floor because there was no sign telling me what was up there or if I could even go there.

    A big honking sign on the front of the building that indicates it is indeed open to the public. The entrance is still not friendly to non-Brownies.

    A sign on the Angell Street door that goes into the cafe. There are cafe signs on the windows, but to enter the cafe you have to walk into the Bank of America ATM lobby, it is not clear that that is also an entrance to the store and the cafe.

    Finally, Brown schwag is B-O-R-I-N-G. I don’t think I’d ever wear or buy anything that said Brown on it, but gee whiz, they aren’t trying to temp me at all. Lots of brown (as in the color, just because it is called “Brown” doesn’t mean everything in the store has to be poo colored) and lots of cheap looking crap with bears on it. zzzzzzzz

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