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While Memory Holds a Seat in this Distracted Globe

City councilmembers want to save the glorious globe. Tom Robbins remembers it with an illegal smile.

By Eric Scigliano March 27, 2009

Twenty-eight years ago, the Hearst Corp. announced it might close its "failing" Post-Intelligencer if it couldn’t launch a joint operating arrangement with the Times. And the first question that arose from the pits was, "What about the globe?" Earlier this month, even with the JOA, Hearst pulled the plug on the P-I’s press run. And the same question reverberated. This afternoon, three Seattle City Council members offered an answer: They moved to designate the splendid bungalow-sized rotating globe a historic landmark—a buffer though not a guarantee against demolition. "The globe represents a part of Seattle’s journalistic history which needs to be kept alive for future generations,” Councilmember (and former P-I editorial writer) Jean Godden declared. Councilmember Sally Clark chimed in: “We can’t act too soon to ensure the P-I’s contributions to our community are not forgotten.” And their colleague Tim Burgess added his lofty praise: "I can’t imagine our skyline without the reassuring glow of the globe—a symbol of high journalistic standards.”

Novelist Tom Robbins, who worked at the P-I long before it was celebrated or doomed, might second all those sentiments. But he also offered a more personal paean to the globe, in the March Seattle Met. (See Tom Robbins Gets the Blues.) He recalled sneaking up on the roof to smoke a joint or two beside the slowly spinning globe with some his fellow copy editors, including the likewise-legendary Darrell Bob Houston. There’s one more reason to save the glorious globe: It’s a must-stop on a Seattle literary tour.

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