Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bostodelphia Hero of the Week: Scott LeHigh

Previously discussed Obama/New Yorker cover outrage hit Philadelphia media in force yesterday. First up on the Cheesesteak's radar was WHYY's Marty Moss-Coane dedicating a whole hour to the flap. To be honest, the talk was a lot more civil and thought out than the tirade NPR's Talk of the Nation aired the day before. Still Philebrity is largely right in pointing out that the relatively abstract discussion on the nature of satire was largely a waste of time when compared to a discussion the show should have had: addressing the people who actually believe the claims the New Yorker was satirizing. Well, that's not exactly what Philebs was saying, largely because it got sucked up in a "blame the media" campaign while not acknowledging that yes, while a correspondent in the mainstream media did bait the Obama campaign with the cover, the pile-on that splatted out probably wouldn't have happened had the Obama campaign not denounced the cover, elevating it into a position of media legitimacy the ugly anti-Obama aspersions on the margins have lacked outside of bigot choirs.

Looking at, the Dinqy News consolidation of Philly's two papers of record, reaction was similarly missing the mark. Jenice Armstrong provides offended boilerplate, blaming the New Yorker for injury dealt the Obamas. Earl Offari Hutchinson provides a possibly syndicated Op-Ed (the Philly papers have to do more with less, you see) claiming the New Yorker didn't so much draw attention to the idiotic fear-mongering lurking on social margins against Obama as exacerbate it. Dick Polman tries to mediate the controversy by exercising retro-active art direction ("the cartoon should have been framed by a Fox News set, you see..."). Even Will Bunch expresses disapproval at the cover via this weird comparison that lays Gore's 2000 electoral defeat at the "Al Gore said invented the internet" joke, thereby ruling jokes have no place in American electoral politics.

Well thankfully, I was born and bred in a city that still puts out a relatively decent paper I can turn to for a reasonable perspective. Thus Bostodelphia will award its first Hero(Hoagie?) of the Week, given to a Bostonian or Philadelphian who writes something that "clears the air" over what our first awardee would term a "kerfuffle," to Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh. Lehigh's column, "What's so shocking about satire?" nails the problem of media scandel and false-controversy mongering coverage and the campaigns' playing up to same: they do a complete disservice to the American electorate. From George Stephanopoulos's straight faced request for Obama to confirm his patriotism to this latest sound and fury (and Lehigh does a good job at providing some equal time for some silliness the McCain camp has had to confront), there is an audience looking for substantial coverage being neglected. I'm sure editors and producers may make claims about media markets or what have you. Maybe as an end-run appeal then, I'll ask the advertisers such editors and producers are beholden to: do you think the demographic who buys this bullshit is in the position to buy anything else?

Mr Lehigh may be aware that not too far from Philadelphia is the Lehigh Valley, the his namesake in Kensington, Lehigh Avenue, is also the namesake the Philadelphia Brewing Company's summer season brew, Fleur de Lehigh. If Scot makes it to Philadelphia while the beer's on tap, we owe him one. Or another Philadelphia-based brew of his choice as reviews of the Fleur de Lehigh have been mixed.


Anonymous said...

Hey man, love the Chinese mail-order bride ads at the top o' the page, especially that cutie from Zhejiang at the far left--you got any inside info on her?

Anonymous said...

Philadelphia Brewing's Fleur de Lehigh is actually the namesake of Lehigh Ave. Lehigh Avenue runs through Kensington where the brewery is located. Just thought you should know.

Cheesesteak the Impaler said...

Thanks for the clarification, anonymous 2. I assumed the "floral" themed brew was associated with the valley, not the avenue. Will ammend.

Anonymous 1, lonely people read Bostodelphia too, some of them are lovelorn. Some folks seek remedies through mail order bride services, others sign up for "biker dating". The "skinny" is just a click away, son.

Cod Peace said...

Huh? There's something going on in the world aside from loafing on Cape Cod beaches? Ah, vacation.