Jeff Pearlman

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Striking out on a softball

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This morning, I Tweeted out a softball.

By “softball,” I mean the above image, which has been making its way around right-wing e-mail chains. It doesn’t take a bleeding-heart liberal to realize the disturbing and disgusting nature of the message. It’s lily whiteness vs. savage blackness. And if you don’t see that … if you think it’s merely a comparison between two individual women, well, you’re blind. Absolutely blind.

I digress.

As soon as I was forwarded the image, I turned it around. I believe in not only knowing what others are saying, but exposing ignorance. Left or right, Democrat or Republican, it’s important. At least it seems to be. So I tossed it up on Twitter.

Again, I digress.

Of those who responded, 95 percent seemed to have the same reaction I did—awful, awful, awful. But then there was John Dennis, a WEEI sports radio personality in Boston and a man with a history of jarring insensitivity.

Here, in response to my Tweet, was Dennis …

carter-shot

Then, Dennis again …

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.18.23 PM

Now, to be clear. The poll Dennis is referring to came out last week, via Quinnipiac University, and Obama was, indeed, voted the worst president since 1945. However, one thing must be made clear: The poll is really, really dumb. I’m not saying that because of the results. Hell, I thought George W. Bush was awful, and so did voters. The flaw, however, is that a shitload of the participants were surely not alive for many—if not most—of the presidents. How else to explain Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower, three significant executives with riveting backgrounds, barely registering on either the Best or Worst scale? Hell, Richard Nixon—shamed forever—ranked a distant third on the Worst list. Here, see for yourself …

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.22.19 PM

I’m babbling. Dennis’ Tweets were, in my opinion, numb, but not exactly offensive. I guess the main thing I found strange was his reaction: Your response to the racial degradation of the First Lady—a seemingly decent woman with little-to-no policy say—is to talk about a survey that ranked her husband America’s worst president? Um, weird. Confusing. Odd.

But then …

rear-shotaAnd …

rear-shotbFinally, this …

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.37.22 PM

Dennis proudly stands by the Tweets about her weight. Which is not especially surprising, considering: A. They rightly make him seem like the typical “Nice tits!” sports idiot who fills far too many American airwaves; B. His background playing, “the race card.” (his words) Eleven years ago, Dennis was on air, discussing the true saga of a gorilla that had somehow managed to escape from the Franklin Park Zoo. The animal was captured near a bus stop, and Dennis referred to him as “a METCO gorilla”—METCO being a Massachusetts program that bused inner-city (mostly minority) children to suburban schools. Get it—blacks, gorillas. Funny, right?

Dennis was suspended, and forced to apologize, which he did. So, hey.

Here’s the thing: I’ve appeared on Dennis’ show before. I’ve never had any beef. He’s been nice to me, helped promote my books, etc … etc. But, really, this isn’t about that. I’m so friggin’ tired of some dolt conservatives (and I’m not referring to all conservatives, or even most conservatives) complaining how they’re always portrayed as buffoons by the left—then acting like buffoons. It takes no genius to see what the above image means; what it portrays; what the message is. You don’t like the First Lady? Fair enough. Think her past comments are awful? Fine, fine, fine.

This, however, wasn’t about that.

Not even close.

PS: Aftermath: John read this post and blocked me. Ah, sports radio critics. They sure can sling it …

PPS: Pretty good response from my man @oneonehockey

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.24.28 PM

  • Matthew Kitson

    He’s just another schmuck in the boston sports media world. Far too many like him (granted, there are a lot of good writers/personalities), but sadly, also the likes of Dennis

  • Lisa Salsman

    Sadly, even as a conservative woman, these men make me cringe. And why does it always go to physical appearance with these “big boned” men? I may not be as slim as I would like, but I am intelligent, so that puts me one ahead of you, sir!

    • Dan

      I’m a registered Republican myself, so you can only imagine how I feel being automatically associated with people like that. I call them the “America, fuck yeah!” contingency, and they’re competing with the Jesus freaks (no, not all Christians are Jesus freaks) to see who can kill the Republican Party first. The party as it exists today is the suffering the consequences of marginalizing its intellectuals. The America, fuck yeah! crowd labeled them all “faggots” for being smarter and less macho than they are, and the Eighth Amendment is the only thing keeping the Jesus freaks from stoning them to death for making too much sense. Now more than ever, conservative intellectuals need to speak up and put all these loud morons in their place. The future existence of the Republican Party depends on it.

  • Gorfabb

    So Michelle Obama bought into “hope and change,” too? I’m not surprised.

    A lot of Americans swallowed that nonsense whole. And, as with much of my adult life, I am not surprised.

  • Diamond Joe Junior

    The problem I have with people like John Dennis is his cowardice. He routinely blocks people who don’t kiss his ass. You gonna get in the arena you have to take a few punches. His contract is up in September. One can only hope that will be the end of Dino on WEEI.

  • James Bailey

    Zero wonder that a recent poll tabbed this as the most divisive era in the history of our nation. There are people you can’t discuss issues with because it’s not issues they want to discuss. Their feeble minds aren’t capable of anything beyond talking points and ad hominem attacks. We’re supposed to acknowledge this happens on both sides, but let’s be honest, there is way, way more of this coming from the right. I loathed George W. Bush as president, but I never stooped to this type of dialogue. Of course, during his administration it was “unAmerican” to insult the president. That sure changed quickly.

    • Arlen Specter

      This post is a fine step toward bridging the gap between the left and right. Engaging in an ad hominem attack IN THE VERY SAME SENTENCE that you condemn ad hominem attacks is, in a word, masterful. You also rightly point out how fairly George W. Bush was treated by the left. Never made fun of. Never mocked. Never called names. Your recall of our recent history is spot on. (FYI: while you’re not labeled “unAmerican” if you attacked the president, you’ve got a better than average chance of being labelled “racist”.

      • justanotherlawyer

        Not sure if you know what the definition of an “ad hominem” attack is, but saying that you loathe(d) a (former) president isn’t it.

    • Dan

      Honestly, the amount of vitriol I’ve seen conservatives direct at Barack Obama seems about the same as the amount of vitriol I saw liberals direct at George W. Bush. And I don’t care for either president; I’m just calling it as I see it. These days, you can’t criticize a conservative without being labeled unpatriotic, and you can’t criticize a liberal without being labeled a bigot. I’ve had enough of it from both sides, quite frankly. Liberals and Democrats are just as guilty of this divisiveness as conservatives and Republicans are.

  • walkdesign

    Using a “shock jock’ as an example of a political ideology is pretty unfair. It seems to hint that this happens more on the right than the left which is just crazy. I can go to any number of union demonstrations, occupy demonstrations, etc. and give you people that say and do terrible things, but I would be foolish to lump all people in with those philosophies. Just because I am for a sound fiscal philosophy doesn’t also mean I can’t like dudes. It’s not an all or nothing.

    @disqus_uFjvwBnYKu:disqus If you would like, I could post the plethora of photos of George Bush being hung in public squares, wished death upon, etc. You seem to have selective memory or you weren’t paying attention. This is a culture issue in general where the loudest idiot gets an audience and then we give them press by saying how angry we are, and they have done exactly what they set out to do. The only way to rid ourselves of it is to acknowledge it in all cases, denounce it, think how we would react if they were treating someone we cared about that way and then ultimately not watch or give them the attention they are seeking.

  • Dave A

    And Dennis isn’t even the stupidest member of the “Dennis & Callahan” show (here’s a hint for fans of the D&C Show: It’s Callahan – but the lead is indeed shrinking).

  • BSMW Reader

    What’s even better is that Dennis was so fat that when his show started to be simulcast on NESN television, he went and had lapband surgery so the world wouldn’t see how fat he was. Now he insults other people over their weight. Great guy.

  • johnnyp70

    I remember living in a country where we could be critical of people’s views and political leanings without getting personal and rude. Hell, I even miss the days of Gingrich and Clinton battling, which back then seemed personal, but compared to now is downright civil. Neither side is perfect BUT the right just seems to make things uglier. Again, no one is saying we shouldn’t disagree, we should just do it with civility.

    • Dan

      As I replied to somebody else, you can’t criticize a conservative without being labeled unpatriotic, and you can’t criticize a liberal without being labeled a bigot. It’s insane.

  • Edgewater2

    I thought I left most of the sports radio eff-heads back in Chicago. A guy who looks like a manatee is commenting on someone else’s much better toned body? STFU.

  • Paul C

    Love Obama or hate him, can anyone really claim he is worse than Millard Fillmore? Frankin Pierce? Warren G. Harding (despite his endearing nickname for the little fella)? Any of Nos. 17 – 25? Herbert Hoover? The list goes on. And that’s only if we accept the rather improbable meme that Obama is really as bad as the ahistorical and memory-impaired chatterati would have him be.

    But I digress. I do not know Michelle Obama’s weight. I do know that she is obviously fit and toned, and not even a bit overweight. Her immediate predecessor wasn’t nearly as fit, nor was Hillary, nor was Barbara Bush, nor was pretty much any former first lady in my memory. The “problem” is that MO is black, and that is practically original sin. She’s a Harvard law grad, but because she’s black, if she expresses even an innocuous opinion that maybe fast-food America should mix in a salad and a walk around the block, she is the stereotypical “angry black woman.” No matter how fit and toned she is, if her body does not conform to current normative Caucasian stereotypes of beauty, she’s just an extra in a Sir Mixalot video.

    Post-Racial America? Really?

  • http://www.womenofcertainage.blogspot.com CaliforniaGirl500

    Aside from the obviously repulsive comments this “sporting” man makes, Michelle Obama is a strong admirable role model for today’s girls. She’s a working mother with a career. She walks the talk on healthy eating and exercise. She isn’t afraid to show a muscular body dressed as the occasion dictates. By that I mean she wear shorts when it’s appropriate and gowns when it’s appropriate. Jacqueline Kennedy was also a role model of her time..but it was the Fifties. Pearls, white gloves, coiffed hair, quiet manner, dresses, low heeled shoes…that’s what women did.

    Thanks for an excellent read.

  • HouseOfDNY

    What a little, little man. Shameful.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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