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BEHIND THE PRISON WALLS Pg. 20, Pg 22 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES JANUARY’ 29, 1988 $1.50 The .R.Oturn of Joe Bob Briggs BY MICHAEL KING THIS IS A STORY about the sorry state of American jour nalism, and the historic place of Joe Bob Briggs, as one small sordid chapter in its continuing decline. Briggs was and is the alter ego of John Bloom, an unassuming but solid movie writer and city columnist for the Dallas Times Herald. Joe Bob, the “Drive-In Movie Critic from Rockwall, Texas,” was Bloom’s comic mask for writing satirical reviews of the horror/ kung fu/ teens’n’tits movies that are otherwise primly ignored by the journalistic guardians of “good taste” \(or the “high sheriffs,” as Joe Bob calls them, in one of his offhand Joe Bob’s manic and unflinching capsule reviews, including body and breast counts, and the hilarious exploits of his imaginary bowling alley and drive-in cronies, found a large audience. \(The Herald sold T-shirts reading “Joe Bob As his audience grew, so did his notoriety . each Friday’s column seemed to push the bounds of irresponsible journalism just a little bit further. Joe Bob went into syndication, winning acclaim and outrage from North Carolina to San Francisco \(“the wimp capital of the Bob managed to insult some contemporary sacred cow virtually every week \(“Babfists,” “Mad Mothers against Drunks,” and most impudently of all, “The National Organization for tolerated him because, first and obviously, he sold a lot of newspapers, and secondly, one hopes \(without realized that adult readers should be considered intelligent enough to recognize irony when they see it. PATRICK STARK As things fell out, the latter proved to be a dubious assumption, the general state of selfrighteousness in these United States being what it is. In the spring of 1985, after three years of anarchic and risktaking satire, Joe Bob finally gored the Continued on Page 14 In Which Joe Bob Returns With His Collected Works And Our Reviewer Steps Forth to Perform Delicate Chopsocky On the High Sheriffs of the Newspaper World