The solemn defenders of public civility at the Seattle Times editorial board spank the WA Dems today, arguing that “Ethnic slurs have no place in political advertising in our state.”
I don’t really disagree, and had the Dems called Dino Rossi a wop or a dago or a greaseball or a guinea or a spaghetti nigger, well, that would have been offensive, and clearly out of bounds. But they didn’t. They merely soundtracked a web video with the theme song to The Sopranos—a critically acclaimed TV show—because the tune was catchy, energetic and a well-paced fit to the accompanying footage… and I can only assume, because they wanted to highlight the fact that the political thugs at the BIAW are about as close as we come to mobsters in this state, at least in attitude, short of the actual Colacurcio crime family and their consiglieri (and proud Italian Club of Seattle member) Albert Rosellini.
Oops! Did I cross a line there by suggesting that former Gov. Rosellini has known mob connections? Does that constitute an ethnic slur, despite the supporting evidence, simply because Rosellini is Italian? (Apparently yes, judging from the way our local media gingerly dances around Rosellini’s connections to the Colacurcios and their mob activities out of fear of offending Italian-Americans… or, perhaps, getting whacked.)
Indeed, the very same day the Dems released their video, Rossi gave a stump speech in which he directly compared Gov. Gregoire’s policies to that of Tony Soprano, by name, and yet the Times didn’t find that slur “sleazy” because, I guess, Gregoire is of Irish descent. So by the Times’ standards, it is acceptable public discourse to groundlessly accuse Rossi of being a whiskey swilling drunk, but not Gregoire, whereas mob related epithets are okay when launched at our Irish-American governor, but not Rossi, or even actual Italian-American mobsters like the Colacurcios.
No really… I want to get this stuff straight, because after 16 years out here I’m still trying to wrap my mind around West Coast etiquette, and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone to the point where I’m beaten to a pulp with a baseball bat. (Though if I were, no doubt the genteel folks at the Times would write an editorial cheering my attacker.)
Clearly, I just don’t get it. I don’t get why, when complaining about “sleaze,” the Times sees fit to devote an entire Sunday editorial to attacking the Dems’ Sopranos reference yet don’t see the need to even mention Rossi’s. And, I don’t get why the Times’ editors think it’s so sleazy to highlight Rossi’s cozy relationship with BIAW along with that organization’s actual positions on actual issues, while totally ignoring BIAW’s insane rants linking environmentalism to Hitler, and equating BIAW’s own suffering under DOE’s stormwater regulations with that of the millions of Jews exterminated in Nazi death camps.
The Anti-Defamation League complained just as vociferously as the Italian Club of Seattle, so where was the editorial decrying that outrage, Mr. Blethen? I guess I must have missed it.
Jesus Christ, this isn’t some tawdry little blog here. The editors at the Times have the most widely read op/ed page in the state at their disposal, and this is what they choose to write about this Sunday? Not our collapsing economy or the Bush administration’s warmongering with Iran or illegal Justice Department hiring practices? Not an honest explication of the Spokane gaming compact and how they and the rest of the media got the story entirely backwards? No, Jim Vesely and his crew determined that the most important issues facing Seattle’s citizenry today are the declining standards of a college football team, and a four-day-old manufactroversy over a measly web video for chrissakes, and the failure of a political hack to apologize in strong enough terms.
(See Kelly, this is why I urged you not to back down over what was never intended to be an ethnic slur… because no matter how sincerely expiatory your apology, those goddamn Rossi-loving bastards at the Times were never going to give you any credit. Pussy.)
Of course on the bright side, the R’s mock outrage has clearly backfired, leading to over 12,000 views of a video that would have been seen no more than a few hundred times if not for the controversy. And yes, this is a good thing for the Dems, because whatever you think of the choice of music, the content of the video itself is compelling (and totally accurate) on its own. Go see for yourself here. Or check out my genuinely (and intentionally) offensive ethnic remixes here and here.
And as a final middle finger in the face of Seattle’s morbidly polite society, here’s yet another remix, this time with a tune that in no way references either organized crime or Rossi’s half-Italian heritage, yet somehow manages to be entirely appropriate to the video’s protagonists… not to mention the editors at the Times. Enjoy.