Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jerk of the Week!

Blogging has been and may continue to be slow. I am finishing two lengthy scholarly pieces, trying to finalize one that is emerging in print and I owe about 4500 words to two other publications. And, of course, it's time to start teaching again.

But I found out on Friday that I had been conferred a great honor by the Shepherd Express, the local journal for the 1-900 community. I have been named "Jerk of the Week." (Reddess: "Only the week?")

Unfortunately, the paper badly misrepresented a column that I wrote in last Sunday's Journal Sentinel taking a quote out of context to make it sound like I had advocated arresting people on the basis of their race. What I actually did was note that Chief Ed Flynn's neighborhood policing initiative faced challenges from the left and the right. The challenge from the left stemmed from what I called the the "painful" and "unfortunate" fact that the strategy of "seize and hold" may result, for a time, in disproportionate arrest of young black males. I argued that this ought not to be a basis to reject the strategy because it is African Americans who are disproportionately the victims of urban crime and who stand to benefit from increased public safety in the inner city.

My son, doing a very good Imus impression, wonders if I am going on an "apology tour." I think not, but I do wish that the Shepherd Express would offer a commemorative plaque or other memento.

A good friend has said the he picks up two free newspapers in Milwaukee. The Onion because it might make him laugh. The Shepherd Express so that he could drop it in the next trash can and save someone else the trouble.


Anonymous said...

It's very clear that your point was completely lost by the ignorant staff at the Shepard express. Clearly they are more interested in trying to carve out their place as the hip, liberal paper that they are not, than in reporting any real news.

Anonymous said...

Ticking off the Shepard Express should be seen as a badge of honor. Congratulations, and keep on ticking them off.

thoughtfulconservative said...

That's the kind of thing I would put on my ego wall. But that's me. I'm perverse that way.

I often pick up the Shepherd for a good laugh in addition to the Onion.


Terrence Berres said...

The first item in that Shepherd Express column claims to debunk a Tax Foundation report (No. 163 August 2008) on Wisconsin's tax burden. The Foundation says that "For each state, we calculate the total amount paid by the residents in taxes, and we divide those taxes by the total income in each state to compute a 'tax burden' measure." By that measure, Wisconsin's tax burden ranks 9th. The column doesn't actually contradict that, and instead cites Wisconsin's ranking in taxes and fees and in revenue collected without any reference to ability to pay.

James Wigderson said...

this is coming from the newspaper that employed Dave Berkman.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to your column ...

"It might involve — at least for a time — continued higher arrest and incarceration numbers for certain demographic groups. But if it is successful, the reduction in victimization also will be racially disproportionate."

Herein lies your vulgar sloppiness. Your courageous willingness to suffer the compromise of others' rights is based impliedly on the notion of a monolithic black/latino community where a net plus viewed from Mequon means good policy.

I don't suggest conscious bigotry but your willingness to declare what intrusion is appropriate into the collective lives of "the black community" or the central city because you see a net benefit to this same collective -- is both awful analysis and accidently shows why upper middle class, white suburban lawyers should be especially careful in declaring solutions to problems and people that are merely abstractions from the writer's point of view.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:05

Herein lies your vulgar arrogance and crap. I am so sick of the attitude of people like you. You assume that people like Rick (and other "upper middle class" whites) don't care. No, we don't know what it is like to be black OK? Noone claims that we do. The crap part comes in when people such as yourself assume that white, conservative suburbanites can't have genuine concern about the violence in the inner city and surely have no right to suggest possible solutions. What about white liberals living inside the city? They tend to believe that more jobs and after school activities will solve the problem and that actually incarcerating the criminals is racist by God(for all I know you might be a white liberal). Do they understand because you might agree with them?
How about a black conservative born and raised in the suburbs? Does he/she understand simply by being black?

You anon 1:05, are a snob. Get over yourself. How about looking for a solution? Nah...that would interfere with the time you spend reveling in your sense of superiority.

Dad29 said...

Accolades come in different forms.

Some are perverse...

GUS said...

The original name of the paper was accurate.


joe stalin said...

Anon 1:05. Why don't you come back when you've stopped breast feeding junior.
You are not morally superior. To be morally superior you need to have "morals". You don't. You are like Obama. You run your pie-hole and have nothing to back your b.s. but more b.s.
Why don't you practice your "right" to remain silent you liberal blow hard.

James said...

"Jerk of the Week", oh where to start.....
1. You would think an operation with as many sophisticates could come up with something a little more intellectually stimulating and clever than "Jerk"
2. Do they use "Jerk" because they feel their so more intellectual that the lowly peasants, (who in their view, should have their lives controlled by fellow elitists in government), that they need to talk down to them?
3. Don't they know that calling someone a "jerk" is awfully judgmental and we're not supposed to be so judgmental?
4. Are they concerned that by calling someone a "jerk" that it could hurt the person's self-esteem or feeling, which is the greatest crime you can commit if your a liberal?

Rick Esenberg said...

Herein lies your vulgar sloppiness. Your courageous willingness to suffer the compromise of others' rights is based impliedly on the notion of a monolithic black/latino community where a net plus viewed from Mequon means good policy.

The only sloppiness - vulgar or otherwise - is your suggestion that I have suggested compromising the rights of others. Nothing in the column even hinted at. Nowhere did I suggest,as the Shepherd Express suggested, the people be arrested because of their race.

In fact, I also discussed the threat to Chief Flynn from the right. Taking back neighborhoods cannot be done in a way in which the police are seen as an occupying force.

But acknowledging what I really said would deny you and the Shepherd Express the chance for an ideological smear and a bit of dime store sociology about bias and white suburbanites.

My point was that racial disparities should not be the basis for abandonment of public safety - in part because it cuts both ways.

Anonymous said...

Be sure to check out Louis Fortis and Dave Luhrssen's next biggest joke after the Shepherd Express: the Milwaukee International Film Festival.

They've completely driven it into the ground. Check out this three part story by Mark Metcalf (The Maestro):