Saturday, May 19, 2007

L'affaire McBride

I was out of town when it happened, but I didn't regard her "Left Side of the Moon" poke at Eugene Kane as disrespectful or exploitive of Jasmine Owens. I see now that Tim Cuprisin was looking for conservatives to attack her like they attacked McGee. He sees it as a somehow "similar" to the McGee/Imus/Opie & Anthony "gaffes."

I don't see the equivalence. The bit was unfair to Kane and it wasn't funny. Chicken squawks are pretty much fourth grade.

But it didn't strike me as being in the same category as the the others. She wasn't suggesting that Jasmine's death was a good or deserved thing (as McGee did with respect to Katherine Sykes) nor did she suggest that Kane was happy about it (as McGee claimed to be). She didn't suggest that violence against another person was funny (Opie & Anthony) or utter a racial slur (Imus).

She was making - however sophomorically - a point about the way in which some people in Milwaukee allow other concerns - whether they be political correctness or a legitimate concern about racism - affect their response to urban violence. These women made precisely that point in the Journal Sentinel on Friday.

What was unfair about it is that Kane didn't do that here and, contrary to what my colleagues on the local right say, he doesn't always do it. He is perfectly capable of getting his Bill Cosby on.

Maybe it was too soon to mention Jasmine in connection with a political point but I don't believe that. I did it the day after the awful thing happened. It is an outrage that requires a political response. I agree that the political point should not have been made with humor or in a way that attacked the good faith of a particular person, but was it really as bad as celebrating someone's death or laughing at an imagined assault of a woman?

But, since it is my job to suck thumb over things, I want to say that the whole thing demonstrates the limitations of politics as entertainment. If you want to draw people - whether you are left or right - there is a certain pressure on you to take cheap shots. Ann Coulter has been quite forthright in admitting that she is often more concerned that her stuff be funny than that it make all the points that she wants to make in just the right way. (I'd say that she often does both but I don't want to give Jim Rowen tachycardia.)

When I was doing a regular newspaper column, I felt that way. You wanted to make a point and be fair, but you also wanted to get a reaction. On this blog, I have decided, for a number of reasons, that my role isn't to go for a large readership. (Reddess: And you're going a great job with that!) I am more concerned with who reads than how many read. (Ed:Pretention alert!)

But if I wanted to have more traffic, wouldn't I have to talk more smack?


Billiam said...

So, that's why. I listened to a little of that from her web page. I agree with you. Except, I didn't think sophmoric. I thought, lame and dumb. The rest, I agree with mr. Rick. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Jessica McThird Bride wasn't fired because of the idiotic Kane stunt; she was fired for her entire body of "work".

Quite simply, her schtick stunk. Day after day, week after week.

I fell sorry for her husband. He is now stuck with listening to her alone.

Anonymous said...

Its really hard to build a career around the unending use of exclamation points and teen-age style sarcasm. good riddance.

Anonymous said...


Playing in traffic may produce road kill.
I appreciate your balanced and thoughtful posts.

Mike Plaisted said...

My guess is they were just looking for an excuse to dump her and were looking for a place for Miller. It was going to happen sooner or later and she just made it easier on them. You can see my post on this for more, if you like.

As for the outrage of her Kane skit in the first place, I would only say this (and you, Rick, will disagree, I'm sure): The right has never hesitated to try to make cheap and valuable political points out of tragedy, national or local.

On a grand scale, Bush continues to use 9/11 as an excuse for everything, from Iraq to warrantless survailance.

On a micro scale, as Folkbum points out today, McBride's own husband tried to use the tragic death of a Special Agent of the Justice Department in his luckily failed campaing for AG.

Likewise, everything from school scuffles to drive-by shootings in the inner city always leads Belling, Sykes, et. al. to go into their usual sanctimonious blame-the-victim tirades. "If only those black people would be as smart as we are..."

The fact is that none of them give a god damn about the health, welfare and education of inner city residents. They, like Bush, just know how Fear works for them. This is how the senseless murder of a 4 year-old is seen as a tragedy for some; an opportunity for others.

Dad29 said...

C'mon Rick.

You have at least 400x the readership that I do.

So I should have the Pretentious Crown.

Send it, please, postage-paid. The usual address.

Dad29 said...

Mike, I think your comment that "none of them city residents" is over the top.

ALL people of good will care, Mike.

But the old saying that "God helps those who help themselves" is not necessarily Calvinist absolutism.

As the ladies Rick linked to pointed out, little can be done by anyone until the black community starts taking names and kicking ass.

THEN we can help.

Mike Plaisted said...

What I'm saying, then, "Dad", is that wing-nuts (which I define as right-wing radio GOP surrogates and the echo-chamber bloggers) are not "people of good will". They are shrill, deceptive opportunists and propagandists, and I stand by my comment.

Anonymous said...

"...wing-nuts (which I define as right-wing radio GOP surrogates and the echo-chamber bloggers) are not "people of good will". They are shrill, deceptive opportunists and propagandists..."

A good example popped up just last week. In 2006, State Rep. Steve Wieckert (R-Appleton) sent out a press release announcing that he was riding his bike from his home in Appleton to Madison to mark "Bike to Work Week". Yes, it took him the better part of the day (he left at dawn and arrived in Madison around the time his office closed for the day).

Fast forward to last week, and Sen. Jim Sullivan pulls the same stunt, only he leaves 'Tosa early in the morning and supposedly arrived in Madison just after lunch.

You can guess the reaction of the right-wing blogosphere to two identical political publicity stunts: No one commented on Wieckert last year but you would have thought that Sullivan mugged an elderly woman -- judging by the way the wingnuts piled on last week.

The point is that Sykes, Belling, the late McBride, and the various Internet denizens don't have an ounce of consistency of fairness in them, and this example proves it for those who commented on it (and yes, I'm not sure if each of the radio wingnuts commented on Sullivan last week).

Dad29 said...

Anony--you are mistaken. ONE of the "conservative" hosts (either Sykes or Belling, I think the former) commented on the Weickert stunt, and made it clear that W. was half-loony.

Granted, (IIRC) the coverage was not as lengthy as that given Sullivan.

But hey--go get a radio program.

Anonymous said...

Wrongo, Daddy Zero. Your point is that someone made fun of Wieckert, so all the piling on Sullivan wasn't inconsistent. Not so fast.

When one of the wingnuts fired the initial salvo at Sullivan, the point was made that Wieckert had pulled the same stunt 52 weeks earlier, and that's when Wieckert got it as well.

Let's be honest about what really happened. One of the breathless young right-wingers at RPW saw the Sullivan press release and then the "talking points" memo went out to the sycophants. Instantly, everyone -- Sykes, Belling, and the blogopukers -- were on him like the shine on a cheap suit.

Neither Wieckert nor Sullivan did anything which merited the crap which came down on Sullivan virtually alone.

Dad29 said...

Both deserved a comeuppance for their stunt(s).

I need not remind you that Leggies are paid whether they show up or not, and an 8+ hour bike ride to the office is not in the cards for normal people--who actually have to show up--on time--and with no overpowering scent problems.

We need no lectures about economizing from these turkeys. Economizing should be a 'second-nature' thing.

If YOU need Leggie-lectures on how to live, that's up to you. But that sort of self-indictment is not something to be bragging about.

Christian Schneider said...

I am SOLELY concerned with how many people read my blog, and disinterested in the quality of reader. In fact, this week I will be making an appeal to boost my pedophile readership.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Dad. Good for you for balance.

But back to the larger blogosphere: If both deserved a "comeuppance," how come one got more "uppance" than the other?

I think that focuses this back from the fascinating digressions to the initial question.

Rick Esenberg said...

So that's the reason for the hand puppets!

Anonymous said...

"I am SOLELY concerned with how many people read my blog, and disinterested in the quality of reader. In fact, this week I will be making an appeal to boost my pedophile readership."

Sweater-vests are a sure way to attract and retain a healthy number of pedophile readers.

- Owen