Canaries seen dead in the mine: An obvious question came to mind: Who could Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg possibly be?
We wondered because their new piece at Salon starts as shown below. You might say the pair have engaged in a fiery bit of Salonsplaining:
BURSTEIN AND ISENBERG (4/7/14): In the recently released report he commissioned on the bridge closing scandal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lawyer depicts the client as the innocent who was ensnared in the web woven by an “emotional” woman. No longer is Bridget Anne Kelly his hard-working deputy chief of staff, doing the bidding of a canny, no-nonsense governor; instead, she is your run-of-the-mill hysterical female lashing out against the multitude of commuters to get revenge, somehow, for being dumped by a guy.That account has nothing to do with the contents of the Mastro report.
Does this scenario make any sense? Why is it so common to subject to psychoanalysis a public official who is a woman? Why must she be cast as the dangerously “emotional” one in a political drama that paints Christie as a properly sensitive, duly caring public servant with “heartfelt” concern for his staff? Kelly’s attorney reacted to the obvious gender bias: “The report’s venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report.”
The writing in the Mastro report is almost as dumb as that of Burstein and Isenberg themselves. But it doesn’t portray Bridget Kelly as “your run-of-the-mill hysterical female lashing out against the multitude of commuters to get revenge for being dumped by a guy.”
Nor does the Mastro report portray Kelly as “an ‘emotional’ woman.” That just isn’t what it says.
In the 340 pages of the Mastro report, the word “emotional” is applied to Kelly just one time. In that one instance, Christie staffer Melissa Orsen is quoted saying that Kelly “seemed emotional” at a rather difficult moment in December 2013.
The incident has nothing to do with Kelly getting dumped by a guy. Unless we assume they’re lying, Burstein and Isenberg simply haven’t read the Mastro report.
(Just for the record, the Mastro report applies the term “emotional” to Christie in six different passages.)
After reading that remarkable passage, we wondered who Burstein and Isenberg were. We were surprised by what we found. Here’s why:
When one checks the background of Salon writers, one normally learns that they are extremely young.
In this case, the news was worse. Burstein and Isenberg are professors at LSU. And they’re not on the youngish side.
Isenberg got her B.A. from Rutgers in 1980. Even more grotesquely, Burstein got his B.A. from Columbia in 1974.
Isenberg seems to be working on a book called A History of Poor White Trash. It’s “under contrast with Viking.”
Burstein lists his “current research interest” as “a cultural history of dreams.” On the bright side, that may explain where he got his knowledge of the Mastro report.
Let’s say it again—the account we’ve posted has nothing to do with what it says in the Mastro report. Unless they’re lying, Burstein and Isenberg simply haven’t read it.
They aren’t the usual kids working for burgers at the new Salon. In the latest dead canary sighting, they’re university professors.
Salon is trying to dumb down the world. This pair has performed an impossible feat—they’ve managed to dumb down Salon!
That isn’t what the Mastro report says. Click here, then search on “emotional.”
Go ahead—check the actual text. As the canaries continue to die, you’ll be one step ahead of the scholars!