Reading the Edmonton Sun always seems to evoke strong images of yesteryear, when conservatism was the norm, people lived in idyllic neighbourhoods with streets named after trees, long hair was only the domain of women, orchestras dominated top 40 music, marijuana was relegated to obscure jazz players and closets were for more than just storing clothing.
But political columnist Lorne Gunter seems to have literally taken the time warp plunge. Gunter, infamous for his anti-Alberta NDP rants, has apparently morphed into a one-man retro-justice warrior, when phone records revealed that he tried to contact a junior senator in Washington D.C. for advice on how to get rid of NDP leader and provincial premier Rachel Notley.
There were only two things wrong. First, the person he was trying to contact was former Sen. Joe McCarthy, the anti-communist politician who almost tore the U.S. apart in the 1950s, has been dead since 1957. Second, Gunter apparently managed to call long distance using an old rotary phone on his desk that’s incompatible with today’s telecommunications systems.
He’s also trashed the computer in his office, replacing it with an old Smith Corona typewriter, which he now uses to peck out his inflammatory copy. And Gunter makes derogatory remarks about his young male newsroom colleagues, calling them “Opie.” As for female employees at the Sun? He doesn’t even acknowledge them, believing they should stay at home making meatloaf and babies.
“Say what you will about the Sun going up against progressive values,” said one reporter. “But Gunter’s taking it too far. It’s not just in the office. When you hear him rattle into the parking lot driving his De Soto with talk radio blaring out the window, we shudder.”
Gunter also seems to take his curmudgeon ways home with him. Neighbours apparently get distressed at hearing the columnist yell at his RCA Victrola when he twists the channel knobs looking for Ed Sullivan or Father Knows Best. All he gets is white static on the screen.
“Lucky for Lorne, vinyl’s back in a big way,” said one colleague. “And Sinatra is eternal.”