And what about Johnny Manziel: A substantial percentage of we the people are now in love with our R-bombs.
We don’t know what the percentage is. But we now have two clear proofs of our incomparable view.
First, consider the flap about what Mayor Bloomberg said. And by the way, what did Mayor Bloomberg say? At present, this is the way his remark is recorded in the transcript of a trio of interviews, starting last month, with New York magazine’s Chris Smith.
The asterisk is right there in the transcript:
SMITH (9/7/13): Then there’s Bill de Blasio, who’s become the Democratic front-runner. He has in some ways been running a class-warfare campaign—That asterisk appears in the transcript provided by New York magazine. Absurdly, you have to click ahead through five pages of transcript to learn what the asterisk means.
BLOOMBERG: Class-warfare and racist.
BLOOMBERG: Well, no, no, I mean* he’s making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing. I do not think he himself is racist. It’s comparable to me pointing out I’m Jewish in attracting the Jewish vote. You tailor messages to your audiences and address issues you think your audience cares about.
This is what the asterisk means. Truth to tell, we still aren’t entirely sure what the asterisk means:
NEW YORK MAGAZINE: *The mayor's office asked us to amend the remarks to add an interjection that was inaudible in our audiotape of the interview, which was conducted over speakerphone. In our view the added words do not alter the meaning of the exchange as reflected in the published interview.We aren’t real sure what that means. For the record, did New York magazine possibly borrow Maureen Dowd's tape recorder, the one on which she couldn't hear what de Blasio’s troubling wife said? Is there a functional recording device in Mayor Bloomberg’s whole city?
That explanation is pretty murky, once you find where it is. But here’s the most ridiculous part—on line, New York magazine provides videotape excerpts from the trio of interviews with Bloomberg, at least one of which was videotaped. They just don’t provide any tape of this excerpt, the one which is being discussed!
Nor do they explain why audiotape of this excerpt isn’t provided. Nor does anyone seem to care—the flap is too delicious as it is!
What did Bloomberg actually say? Given the widespread discussion, we’d like to hear what he said for ourselves. To judge from the transcript, Bloomberg seems to have dropped an R-bomb, then retracted it one second later.
But what exactly did he say? The mag hasn’t posted the tape!
Our second example takes us to Joe Nocera’s hard-hitting column in Saturday’s New York Times. Again, we ask you to ponder the foppish values of this newspaper’s upper-class op-ed brigade.
Finally! Finally, the New York Times was talking about the interests and needs of American public school students! Except Nocera's students attend state universities, where they serve as linebackers and quarterbacks!
That’s right—Nocera was immersed again in the problems of college athletics. He was discussing a pressing concern—should college football players be allowed to receive pay for signing autographs? Never mind the interests of the nation’s millions of public school students! Nocera is concerned about the interests of Johnny Manziel, winner of last year's Heisman trophy!
(Manziel got in trouble for signing a very large number of autographs for a third party. The NCAA couldn't prove that he had been paid, so he drew just a short suspension.)
Nocera’s newspaper has a very good sports section; it’s peopled by some very capable opinion writers. But there was Nocera, wasting everyone’s time by bringing this topic to the big-boy op-ed page. And here you see the very first comment his column elicited:
COMMENTER FROM POUGHKEEPSIE (9/7/13): If [Manziel] were an inner-city African-American, wouldn't he have been suspended for the season?We rest our case! To a certain percentage of us the people, the R-bomb is the only framework we have for discussing any issue.
By the way, would Manziel have been suspended for the year if he were “an inner-city African-American?” There’s no way to know, which makes the question that much more effective! Eventually, one reader cited the NCAA’s failure to punish Heisman winner Cam Newton when he got into somewhat similar semi-trouble in 2010.
Sorry, Thurston Howell III! As far as we know, Newton wasn’t from the “inner city.” At any rate, let’s review, recalling our previous post:
Nocera worries about the interests of college football stars. Gail Collins promises we’ll hear about kittens if we just keep reading her column. Delia Ephron is then brought in to tell us about the (expensive) pastries she loves, which takes a great deal of time.
The New York Times is indelibly foppish. Its writers and editors don’t give a fig about the educational interests of “inner city” kids, or of kids who are recent immigrants, or of kids who come from low-literacy backgrounds.
They don’t seem to care if you know that. If they’ve given the question any thought, they may feel that you don't care.