I stumbled upon “Our Town Jersey” a few issues ago and didn’t think much of it until I read the following from a commentary on items made in China by Bob Beierle:
My solution: kill the caribou, feed it to the hungry people, drill as much oil as we can in Alaska, drive the price of oil down to thirty cents a gallon, and tell all those camel jockeys in the Middle East..you know, the one’s who want to kill us…tell them all they better learn how to eat sand or die.
When you see a publication sitting at the exit of your local supermarket, sitting next to the automotive and real estate publications, called “Our Town” you might think it’s full of local community events, stories, and other family oriented items meant to connect a community. Unfortunately though, “Our Town Jersey”, one such publication, is nothing more than a diner place-mat with one man’s opinions of the world served up with racist and sexist jokes pulled from chain emails – and a few community and church-based events – one of which is beer pong. (Bring the family!)
So where does “Our Town” come from? It comes from Bob Beierle’s, of Creative Insight, cabin. That’s about as remote and un-“Our Town” as I can imagine. Bob implies that his “magazine” is about, and of, the towns it can be found in, but it really just contains Bob’s ramblings, bad jokes and stories that he receives via chain emails. Having wanted to be a writer all his life Bob has found a way to actually make money via advertisers while giving himself a personal public diary in which to write.
But wait a minute….Is this the same guy that wrote the following?
We spend so much of our lives consumed with acquiring money, status, and material objects that demonstrate our success to others. (A Time For Giving Thanks – Issue #19)
Here Bob adequately describes what the Our Town franchise does for him. Why not start your own “Our Town” franchise and help Bob Beierle out?
One thing Bob likes to do is assume that we all suffer the plight of consumerism and poverty and that he represents “everyman”.
This he feels is true even though his publication is now available in Mendham, New Jersey which is one of the wealthiest areas in the state. Homes in Mendham easily go over a million dollars each. I’m sure Bob is far from being in poverty himself as he writes in issue number nineteen of Our Town. Here Bob describes his cabin where he comes up with his stories that are supposed to be based on your community:
When I have to write a story it comes from my heart. In our little cabin nestled back in the woods I built this little tower…small windy stairs go up to it. It’s separate from the rest of the house. It has old metal windows around it that somebody gave me for free and from out of those windows I get to look at God’s landscape.” (I’m sure the “somebody” that gave him those windows for free is happy that he actually mentions who they are in thanks.)
So why does Bob write everything himself rather than giving the communities his publication is in a voice? Why does “Our Town” never mention where to send in your stories and jokes? In a story titled “A Time For Giving Thanks” Bob writes:
I’ve always loved to write, but cause of certain limitations that I had I was limited in my abilities to express myself. This left a void inside of me. But as I grew I was blessed with finding a loving wife who made me strive to become a better person in so many ways and worked with me to fulfill a dream.
The reason Bob doesn’t publish your stories is he doesn’t want to and that’s not the point of “Our Town.” It is merely meant to serve as a vehicle for his narcissistic stories. Why bother writing about actual events in your community? He’d have to leave his cabin, talk to people, and do research to provide that and that’s not what he wants to do. Bob wants to be an author he doesn’t want to give voice to communities. (This is my opinion based on all “real” personal stories being by Bob Beierle himself.)
In many of his writings Bob mentions God and compassion towards others. He writes that life is not about material possessions, but about how you treat others. So why, in the latest issue, does he write on the first page:
’Tis the season to be merry. Deck the tree. Sneak a kiss under the mistletoe…as long as your spouse doesn’t catch you.
How many families are broken up by infidelity every year? Well I guess to Bob, who likes to publish jokes about infidelity, this is the perfect time of year to celebrate it under the mistletoe. Strangely infidelity seems to be a big theme for the terrible jokes in every issue of Our Town.
Bob has a lot of advice to offer which doesn’t seem to be in practice in his publication. In between all the dirty jokes about sexuality, infidelity, how stupid people are, and how bad the world is he gives the following message:
Or when somebody wrongs you… or someone pulls out in front of you when you’re driving…or in a moment of weakness or absentmindedness a friend speaks badly of you…forgive them. Give them a free pass. Smile and remember that we’ve all screwed up now and then and that each of us need a second chance. These are the things that folks will remember you by. (From A Time For Giving Thanks Issue 19.)
On page 4 of Issue 18 the bottom of the page reads the following. (Does this sound like a joke a nice Christian man would enjoy?):
“In a poll taken recently in California people were asked if they thought illegal immigration was a serious problem. The results indicated that 29 percent said, “Yes, there is a serious problem.” The remaining 71 percent said, “No es una problema seriosa.”
In issue number 18 here are some of the wonderful stories and jokes submitted by “faithful Our Town readers”:
Idiots of 2007
Roll Your Own – This is about a man that sent his wife to get cigarettes and instead of buying his brand she bought the kind you have to roll yourself. So when she sent him to buy tampons he bought cotton balls and string.
A Blonde Makes A Bet
School – 1957 vs. 2007 – This one compares schools of the past with those of current day always making schools in 1957 seem as if they’re much better. Of course this story/joke fails to tell us that some schools had not been integrated yet and one of the biggest cases of forced integration happened in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas. So this was a better time for our education system?
Unplanned Pregnancy – Here a girl gets pregnant, but doesn’t know who the father is. The man she thinks it is happens to be wealthy and goes to her house to discuss the situation. Believing it is he he propositions to give the woman money and other tangibles which are less for a baby girl than a baby boy. (This is just more misogyny from the Our Town staff.) Of course this man is married which he why he is trying to shut the family up by giving them money and positions. (This just continues the infidelity them in Our Town.)
Who’s yo Daddy? – Here we get a bunch of racist and misogynistic comments about women that don’t know who the father of their child is. One standout is “I have never had sex with a man. I am still a Virginian. I am awaiting a letter from the Pope confirming that my son’s conception was ejaculate and that he is the Saver risen again.”
Dusty Underwear – Joke where I wife tries Miracle Grow in her husband’s underwear.
Am I wrong here? Do the jokes mentioned above belong in a community publication sold to advertisers as a means for non-profits and community organizations to let everyone know of their events? There really aren’t even very many sections dedicated to community events. More of the publication is dedicated to Bob’s writing and the stories and jokes he receives via chain emails. I would think a publication called “Our Town” would actually give the communities it serves a chance to send in their own stories personal to the area. There must be thousands of uplifting stories and comedic events that real people could send in to Bob which are not tasteless and demeaning to others, so why is there not one place in Our Town that tells you where to send your jokes or stories. Where do “faithful Our Town readers” send their stories to and are their really any “faithful Our Town readers” at all?
(Charles Schultz must read Our Town as Bob Beierle published Charles’ “Philosophy on Life” towards the end of Issue #20 and credited it to “a faithful Our Town reader.”)