A lot of folks have been making fun of Harold Ford’s New York Times interview today. Spencer says he comes across like “a carpetbagger and a pussy”; Steve M. says “those cries of ‘Run, Harold, run!’ you hear in the distance are coming from Gillibrand’s office.” Fez-Boy says “I should add, it’s not just that Ford is patently corrupt, if you read the interview at the link, it comes across he’s so ideological flimsy and fucked up that if he had a battle of wits with Sarah Palin it would be a draw.” Which is just mean. After all, Fox News saw fit to employ the both of them as pundits, which means they are both extremely serious Thinkers well-qualified to discuss Current Events. You know, like Glenn Beck.
But I quite sincerely believe all this criticism is nitpicking. It’s out of context. It’s unfair sniping. Worst of all, it betrays either a shocking ignorance of New York State in general and New York City in particular, or else a shameful indifference to same. Take this exchange, which has drawn a lot of badly-informed snarking:
Q. I am not here to quiz you or try to embarrass you, but I do want to ask you about your life and travels in New York. So here goes. Have you traveled all five boroughs?
A. I will tell you what I did. I was able to do it. Kelly had a — Chief Kelly, Commissioner Kelly — invited, I guess, business people in the city, including Sir. Harold Evans, in my group. We spent the afternoon with the special operations force, and so I had the chance to helicopter to various areas in the boroughs. The only place I have not spent considerable time is Staten Island.
Q. Have you been to Staten Island?
A. I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.
I grew up in New York City. I live upstate, but I have family & friends in the city, and I’m there quite often. And, speaking as a native New Yorker, I can honestly say that the only “mistake” I can see Ford having made here is that he was dumb enough to have let someone talk him into spending so much time in fucking Staten Island. I’ve been there maybe three times in all my life, and my considered opinion is that even by the standards of Northeast Queens, the place is a cesspit inhabited by backwards, unregenerate, sub-human troglodytes. Ford should not have landed that helicopter: he should have opened the window and taken a leak on it as he passed over at great speed.
Staten Island is a dreadful place, a nightmarish hellscape bereft of civilization, culture, or halfway edible pizza. It’s as scenic as Mordor, or perhaps Gary, Indiana. It is, quite literally, a huge pile of garbage, and smells like it. If you took all the worst stereotypes about New Jersey and multiplied them by a thousand, you might approach Staten Island reality. They couldn’t make a Staten Island reality show like they made a Jersey Shore reality show, because they couldn’t find classy or well-spoken enough subjects.
All this about Staten Island is well known.
Indeed, to overcome the sort of objections he’s thus far encountered, Ford needs to publicly denounce Staten Island as the toxic wasteland it is, to state forthrightly that Staten Island should be evacuated, razed, and its misfortunate inhabitants confined in zoolike structures so us Normals can go there and gawk at the spectacle that is their appearance and behavior.
Hell, Ford needs to hire me right fucking now. Where else is he going to get such expert advice? His fatcat Merrill Lynch pals? Ha!