Posts from August 13, 2004

Throw the blog at him!

Throw the blog at him!

: Loic points us to LexBlog, a company that will create blogs for lawyers to use as marketing tools. Smart.

RIP, Julia

RIP, Julia

: Julia Child, who taught America how to cook, has died.

Here, at Epicurious, was one of the service’s first cool icons — in the days when cool icons were cool: An actual-size Xerox of Julia’s hand. No nicks, no cuts, all fingers in place.

: Ken Layne’s farewell:

Julia Child died in her sleep just a few days before her 92nd birthday, proving once again that eating well & drinking buckets of wine will give you a long, happy life.

Yada yada blog yada

Yada yada blog yada

: The blog panel at the West Side Y on which I blathered the other night will be on C-SPAN tonight, Friday, at 8:40pm ET, 11:40pm ET & 5:30am ET. I know you’ll want to watch all three times.

Hyperlocal humor

Hyperlocal humor

: Will Richardson reports on the fantastic hyperlocal blogging MeetUp he and I and the Hunterdon Democrat newspaper had at Flemington, NJ’s Mediatech last night. More than 25 people came, eager to join in this new media maelstrom. Great things will follow. But first, the amusing pictures:

: Will is amazed at my McGreevey traffic. I ungraciously gloat.

: You caption this one.

Foiled

Foiled

: Jason Calacanis has a report of two “Middle-Eastern men” who tried to hijack a helicopter. Turns out they were employees of NBC news out for a story. And the good news: They were led away in handcuffs. That could just mean that journalists are dumber than hijackers, but I prefer to see it as an indication that the system is working.

Desexing politics

Desexing politics

: I long for the day — in this universe or the next — when sex is not an issue in politics, when your sex life is your personal life and your personal life is personal and we judge you in office the way we should: on the quality of your work.

If sex were not an issue, then Jim McGreevey could not be blackmailed over being gay. He could not be blackmailed over having an affair. He could be blackmailed for using state money to give a job to a lover but that’s quite another matter.

If sex were not an issue, then Jim McGreevey could not hide his real sin against the people behind the gay-rights banner. As David Weinberger said this morning:

You know what sucks about James McGreevey resigning as governor? Him blaming it on being a gay adulterer. Since when do adulterers have to resign? Since when do gay men who come out of the closet have to resign? No, obviously he’s resigning because there’s some real dirt that’s going to come to light, rumored to be about sexual harrassment. Resigning because he’s gay would be like Madeline Albright resigning because she discovered that she’s a Jew. Sheesh! (Note: I am aware that the analogy is not perfect.)

Sex should not be an issue in politics but it is on the straight side because we as a nation are still a bit puritanical and we’re certainly gossips, and it is on the gay side because we have not reached the water level we need to on civil rights. And it’s not as if one can editorialize or legislate such opinions away: If you don’t want to like or vote for someone because they have affairs or are gay or get BJs from interns or take their wives to sex clubs, that’s your privilege.

But let’s get this straight and stop acting shocked: Politicians are the most human of humans. They are full of foibles. No news there. They have libidos and they use them. So what? They have affairs. I don’t care. Lots of them are gay and we don’t know it. That’s their business.

McGreevey, it’s being alleged, did something terribly wrong and violated the public trust. That I care about. McGreevey was also a bad governor and messed up on taxation and the police and security and development and more. That’s what matters.

Great moments in advertising: the McGreevey edition

Great moments in advertising: the McGreevey edition

: Half paying attention during Letterman, I jerked up my head when I realized that a Jim McGreevey tourism commercial had just appeared. I swear — really, I do — that this is what he said in the tagline:

“Come out and see what’s new — in New Jersey!”

Indeed.

: UPDATE: And this morning, I am listening to NJ101.5 (which I do only for traffic and gubernatorial scandals) and heard another McGreevey ad, this one a public-service announcement with a woman saying she got AIDS from her husband and with McGreevey urging everyone to get HIV tests. You couldnt’ cut this irony with a chainsaw. (Though I suspect that it wasn’t merely ironic; NJ101.5 doesn’t know how to spell eyerunee; I’m sure a wag scheduled the spot quite on purpose.)

McGreevey’s reality TV

McGreevey’s reality TV

: As I mentioned earlier, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daniel Rubin, called me earlier tonight to talk about McGreevey’s announcement as television. What remarkable television it was.

On the one hand, this was reality TV with more raw, real human drama than any reality TV ever aired and more bluntness than any political speech ever given. Knowing what was going to happen for a few hours before he came on camera, I expected a duck and feint job from a politician. Instead, we saw an emotional, forceful, courageous announcement of a man’s secret.

But on the other hand, this was utterly unreal. Roiling just below the surface were a dozen other stories that were not told: There are the reports that the man who forced McGreevey’s secret out was his gay lover whom McGreevey hired for a $110,000 state job for which the man was utterly unqualified. There was his wife, standing there as if stoned. There was the hard-slap realization that McGreevey had used this wife and one before and children by both marriages as his beard for his political career. There was the contention that McGreevey was now using his gayness to obscure other sins and crimes. There was the story of an apparently devout Catholic who did the sin thing. There was the anguish of a gay man in the smoke-filled closet. There was the political intrique of maneuvering to avoid an election in November and keep the governor’s office in Democratic hands. There was the media’s role in helping to keep McGreevey’s secret. There were the other secrets waiting to come out: the story of the broken leg and God know’s what else. All this down the road in the home named Drumthwacket. Unreal.

McGreevey’s speech looked like a blast of steam but that hid the witches’ cauldron of bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble.

Usually, what we see in media — and in politics — is the unreal masking the real. Here, the real masked the unreal.

: Perhaps McGreevey will set a new bar for political confessions. What if Bill Clinton had come out and defiantly declared himself an American sex addict? What if Bush had come out and openly admitted he was a drunken slacker who pulled every string he could find to avoid putting on a uniform? What if Kerry came out and said he never could get Southeast Asian geography straight: I am a cartographic dyslexic! What if Dean screamed, I suffer from hyperactive ADD? What if Nixon said, I was a crook? Ya gotta problem wid dat?

This speech was as dramatically amazing as it was tactically perfect.

Even the queen of snark-cynicism, Wonkette, is softened: “Excuse the expression, but screw Obama. This was the speech of the year. The most high profile outing, well, ever, and McGreevey handled it with grace and dignity. He sort of makes me want to go gay, too.”

Put this speech next to the Nixon Checkers speech, the Clinton sex speech, the Johnson abdication speech, the Gov. Rowland beat-impeachment speech, even the horny Duke of Windsor speech — you name it — and it stands out as the best public confession in modern media memory.