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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Giant Benches Hold Up Under Pawlowski

The other day, when I wrote about those "green" benches that Giant Markets is donating to Lehigh Valley municipalities, I got into quite a bit of trouble. I suggested that, if Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was going to sit on one of these babies at the news conference, they better bring a spare.

Well, I want you all to know that I feel terrible. My remarks about the mayor of Pennsylvania's third largest city were totally disrespectful. I don't know what came over me. I'm very sorry and it will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, not ever, happen again. Ever.

Bashful Mayor Pawlowski (pictured on the far left) was finally persuaded by Lehigh County exec Don Cunningham to sit his mayoral massiveness on one of those benches, and it held up just fine.

Finally speaking, he told the throngs of reporters at this important event that those benches are "part of our continuing effort to be a green community.”

Then he hopped on his city motor scooter and put-putted away, ignoring reporters who want to know why Allentown seems to have so many sinkholes, especially around city hall.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'd think he'd wear a helmet on that donor cycle.

Anonymous said...

You know what Bernie, I saw you on TV and you are quite the porker yourself. How can people in glass houses throw pebbles?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You got me. In fact, that's really a picture of me on that scooter. I'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, not ever, poke fun at another person's weight ever again. Ever. Promise.

Anonymous said...

Good idea, O'Hare. This is a case of the pot calling the kettle fat.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, but I'm doing something about my weight problem. I'm on the Hannibal Lecter diet, which is very high in protein, and would like to have you for lunch.

Anonymous said...

I'm rather struck by the odd juxtaposition of this post with the one immediately preceding it. You criticize the use of Curious George to depict Obama, yet moments later feel justified in depicting Pawlowski as morbidly obese. I would submit that Obama's race has far more influence over his political views (but this absolutely does not excuse the Curious George pic) than Pawlowski's weight does for his views. How do you justify criticizing one inflammatory stereotypical representation, yet arguably doing the same thing yourself? I suspect you will argue racism is inherently worse--yet, race is an issue in politics whether we like it or not, and the treatment and consideration of those racial issues is a valid point to discuss. How does one's weight factor in?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 2:16,

The depiction of a black person as a monkey is inherently evil. It is designed to dehumanize another person. We all have characteristics that one can poke fun at without dehumanizing the object of the humor. In making a joke about Pawlowski's weight (which is not nearly so bad as my own), I am taking a minor characteristic and laughing without dehumanizing him. Another reason for this post is the self-righteous objections to my first post.

This is about as bad as I get when it comes to personal characteristics. All humor is based on pointing out the weakness in another. If we could not do that, we would no longer be funny.

If the humor about a person's weight reaches the point where it dehumanizes that person, it stops being funny and starts being nasty.

I appreciate your concern, but think you're mixing apples and oranges. This was no inflammatory stereotypical representation. It was mild humor, obviously untrue, and has absolutely no bearing on Pawlowski's fitness for office.

It's called a joke.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you look at Bill White's blog about Country Roads, you'll notice he pokes fun at West Virginians as toothless tobacco chewers, hillbillies, "chainsaw massacre" country, etc. Now no one considers this true. It's an exaggeration designed to make people laugh. I was obviously doing the same thing with Pawlowski.

Under your reasoning, no humor should ever be permitted.

Joe Hilliard said...

This demonstrates the problem with politics and politicians.

This is even newsworthy?

We have major crime problems.

We are continuing to run major deficits in Allentown (if you look past the borrowed money).

We have an out of control housing situation in Allentown.

And benches are a worthy story?

Amazing....

Joe Hilliard said...

Bernie,

This is another failed Pawlowski promise. His very first major press release was that City Hall would engage in a trim the waistline program. Of course, I hoped it meant trimming the fat in spending. But no, it was a promise to lose weight.

Looks like he has kept this promise like all the others he made.

Does the term "pathological ____" pop into people's minds?

Anonymous said...

Okay, first I disagree that under my reasoning no humor would ever be permitted. Furthermore, as I tried to make clear, I in no way am justifying the Curious George comparison. But I think you are missing my larger point---that what you have done smacks of "it's okay if I do it"--you criticize the tasteless Curious George picture, but then write a full post based on an exagerration of a person's weight. Frankly not much of an argument for or against the park benches. Yes, Bill White used exagerrated humor in his article, but it was in context--how Hillary tries to connect with what's left of her supporters--but is coming off as so artificial--her description of West Virginians, her calling them "her people" but after all over, back to her true ways--they're her people only when Secret Service around.

Please understand--I'm not denigrating you for making fat jokes about the mayor. It's just that the fat jokes seem to be the only point of the post. Again, the weight of the mayor seems to have little connection to whether these benches are a good idea. You want to make fun of people for their "weaknesses", that's fine...It's just that when you ask where are our FDR's, perhaps this is a good example of why it's harder and harder to find good people willing to run...debate is reduced to personal attacks, about things not even remotely related to the issues.

Let's reduce your posts on the benches to it's base argument:
Giant is donating park benches.
They cost $400.00 each.
The Mayor is fat.

A fine example of humor used to express one's viewpoint on an issue.

It's not the humor I object to, nor is it even the use of fat jokes--it's that the sole purpose of the post seems to be to say the mayor is fat. I honestly don't even know what your view on the benches is--why did you write about it in the first place? I can't see why you'd object to the price if they are being donated. It seems like you heard the stroy and thought, "here's something I can use to make fun of someone".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:40,

First off, I've got to be clear that I would never use humor that dehumanizes another person. I did not bring up the Curious George analogy, you did. I understand you agree there is no justification for that, but use my horror at that to question whether I'm doing something similar here. I am not.

Second, I really don't believe in cheap personal attacks, which is how I believe you view this. It's really not. You bring up FDR and suggest that this simple fat joke might prevent someone like him from seeking office? Puh-lease.

Third, you have taken a simple post and over-analyzed it. There's nothing deep or mysterious here. Giant is donating benches to local municipalities. That's nice. They're recycled benches. Who would object to a nice gesture like that? But writing about that and leaving it at that makes for a very boring post.

So here's the twist. Whenever something like this happens, there's always a major duty news conference. And Mayor Pawlowski is almost always a participant, taking credit for things he has nothing to do with. Instead of giving him the usual pat on the back that he gives to himself, why not suggest this publicity hound is going to fall on his ass?

That makes the post more interesting and makes Pawlowski a little less significant than he tries to pretend.

Now I've spent more time analyzes and talking about this post than I did writing it. But it is no cheap shot, at least not in my mind. Just like Bill White in that recent blog, I overemphasize a physical weakness to make another point.

But there is a fine line here. I usually stay away from this kind of humor completely or direct it at myself. In this case, I could not resist bc the image poppped in my mind and I thought it would be funny and knew Pawlowski would insert himself.

In the end, you may be right. Perhaps it was a poor choice. I thought it was a humorous way to make a point and have no editors telling me it's not a good idea. I understand your point, but probably would post this again. Another reason for doing so is a mayor who reacts harshly and very negatively to evry criticism tossed his way, no matter how constructive.

Let him deal with a fat joke. He calls enough people slum lords and losers behind their backs, so let him deal with this.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I do not intend to keep beting this issue, so I'll simply address a points and be on my way.

You write:
"You bring up FDR and suggest that this simple fat joke might prevent someone like him from seeking office? Puh-lease."

Do I think a simple joke would keep one from running for office? No. My point is, and it is what you've done here, is that rather than engage in a debate over the pros and cons of the issue (and yes this is a silly issue anyway), your entire thesis is "Ed is Fat". Again, my larger point is, as funny as you may think it is, it does nothing to illustrate the point of the post--benches were donated. I have no idea what your pointin writing about it was, other than to say he's fat. As you wrote:
"There's nothing deep or mysterious here. Giant is donating benches to local municipalities. That's nice. They're recycled benches. Who would object to a nice gesture like that? But writing about that and leaving it at that makes for a very boring post." I agree. But I don't see how calling someone fat adds to the story.

Finally, (no seriously, I'm done now) I understand what you are saying here:
"And Mayor Pawlowski is almost always a participant, taking credit for things he has nothing to do with. Instead of giving him the usual pat on the back that he gives to himself, why not suggest this publicity hound is going to fall on his ass?" I just think the execution missed the mark, and came out more as making fun of someone rather than making a point by making fun of someone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do not intend to keep beting this issue, so I'll simply address a points and be on my way.

It sounds very much to me lioke you do intend to keep beating this matter. I believe I've explained myself. I believe there was a point to this post, other than merely calling Mayor Ed a tubby. I explained that in excruciating detail. It may not have executed well with you; it executed just fine with others.

Anonymous said...

Bernie said..."I believe there was a point to this post, other than merely calling Mayor Ed a tubby. I explained that in excruciating detail. It may not have executed well with you; it executed just fine with others." I feel the point of the post is that Bernie just hates Pawloski. Afterall, he posts about Mayor ED 3 times a week or so. Thanks Henry