After all, the Weekly gave Whitmire the platform on which he conducted his weekly War on Dumb, and the feature was one of the paper's most popular columns.
Whitmire was on the cover of B Metro Magazine just this month for his efforts, and while it's hardly like winning Time's Man of the Year, you would figure it to be a nice boost for a writer's ego or a free weekly paper's visibility. (Side note, I'm open to any magazine that wants to profile me. Seriously)
So what happened? Having no inside information myself, and having only bumped into Whitmire a few times around town, I'll get to what I do best: wild speculation.
My first theory: The war on dumb has been won. Perhaps with the election of William Bell, and his subsequent absence from the Jefferson County Commission, the Birmingham metro area simply won't have enough stupidity, corruption, deceit or greed to feed a weekly Dumb column.
Likelihood (from 1 to 10): 1. I didn't say it was a very good theory. In fact, it simply proves that the first instinct is not necessarily the correct one.
Second theory: Kyle is leaving our fair city for Dumber pastures. Like a wandering folk hero or Mary Poppins, he has seen us through the Dumbest of times and now he is needed more elsewhere.
Likelihood: 2. Kyle has certainly seen his share of Dumb, with Larry Langford's trial, the Katopodis Laptop Affair, the Sewer Boondoggle, and the impending bankruptcy of Jefferson County (and that was just 2009). But with the county and city teetering on the edge of financial Armageddon, and many of the same people running the show, it seems like 2010 will be a banner year for Dumb in Birmingham.
In fact, it appears that the only time people in Jefferson County will stop electing you is if you're actually convicted of a felony. How dumb is that?
Third theory: The "retirement" is a ruse, a tribute to Whitmire's favorite pill-popping quarterback Brett Favre (or Urban Meyer), and Whitmire will be back in a month or two.
Likelihood: 2. It's a lot easier to jerk your employer around when you make $10 million a year. I'm guessing Kyle makes much less than that. If I'm wrong, I'll add "living like a king in Patagonia" to my list of theories.
Fourth theory: Whitmire said/wrote something that pissed off the wrong people and the Weekly didn't have the stones or cash to back him.
Likelihood: 7. It turns out a lot of people don't like being called "dumb," and that money beats principle almost as often as rock beats scissors.
Whatever the case may be, Kyle's column was the highlight of many of my lunch breaks in recent years, and I hope he lands on his feet and keeps fighting Dumb wherever he goes.