Via Michael Walsh at Big Journalism, I’ve read this piece three times and still can’t decide whether the guy’s kidding. Current assessment: I think he’s serious, only because the piece ends seriously. But maybe he’s doing some sort of very dry Stephen Wright deadpan?
Help me out here.
There you are, walking down the street, when two polite young men pop up and shove video cameras in your puss and ask you sweetly to admit that you are a pawn of every evil plot hatched by the White House, and you have the nerve – the nerve! – to respond, “Who are you?”…
Judging by the reaction to this story, I realize I am in a tiny minority here, and it is probably the main reason I never get elected to Congress, but I don’t think Etheridge has anything to be sorry for.
Speaking strictly for me, I get a little defensive when purposeful strangers lurking on the street try suddenly to detain me, even if they are merely polite young men pointing recorders at my face and asking impertinent questions in the name of science.
Call me old-fashioned, but I find that a tad menacing…
My reaction in such situations is either to hand over all my pocket change, say “No hablo ingles” and make a getaway or to think up something to stun them for a moment like, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”
I never would have the presence of mind (OK, I wouldn’t have the nerve) to snatch his free hand before he could use it to fish out something sinister.
And people say Etheridge assaulted them.
In other words, a longtime congressman being asked in broad daylight if he supports the Obama agenda = being “pounced on” by possible muggers who were “lurking” in order to grill him on whether he’s a pawn in an evil plot. Incidentally, do most muggings start that way — with a question about political agendas? When I was mugged 10 years ago, they only wanted my money. But you know what they say: Beltway culture is different.
If this taste of media nuance about the assault isn’t enough to satisfy you, no worries. Jim Treacher has a brand new round-up posted at the Daily Trawler of some of the choicer attempts to minimize what Etheridge did, from a debate over the vagaries of the word “hug” to a WaPo author casually noting that the scene was arranged to make the questioners “look innocent.” For your viewing pleasure, here’s menacing punk Andrew Marcus of Founding Bloggers waylaying innocent people on the street in a sinister bid to find out if they’re part of an evil plot. No word on whether he lifted any of their wallets, but you know these things are always edited to make the questioner look innocent.