I was meandering through a Kurt Andersen piece in New York magazine — “The Age of Apoplexy,” fyi — when Brian dumped another link in the previous post’s comments, about some free-floating apoplexy in Indiana, that seemed to underline Kurt’s point.
When you’re looking for a topic that can be dashed off quickly, sometimes the Lord provides. Also, “Free-Floating Apoplexy in Indiana” would be a great name for a band.
Andersen’s point is, the world has grown too touchy, about practically everything:
For a while now, I’ve fretted that we’re turning into a nation of weenies and permanently enraged censors, that too many of us are afraid of letting disagreeable or uncomfortable ideas into the limelight. If it’s not the p.c. overreach of campus “speech codes” or the attempts to criminalize “hate speech,” it’s the FCC’s crackdown on cussing in PBS documentaries and the Secret Service’s keeping protesters fenced off in “free speech zones.” But during the last month, this impulse to squelch—indulged by the left and the right and the milquetoast middle—seems to have reached some kind of tipping point, as if we’ve entered a permanent state of hysterical overreaction.
…During a single week at the end of September, everyone from the Daily News to the Democratic speaker of the New York City Council denounced Columbia for inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak (and Hillary Clinton joined the mob in saying he should be turned away by police—at gunpoint?—if he tried to go near ground zero); Verizon refused to broadcast NARAL’s abortion-rights text messages; Bill O’Reilly’s goofy can’t-we-all-just-get-along attempt to sow racial harmony was called racist; and Congress, after wasting its time officially condemning MoveOn.org for its stupid, over-the-top “General Betray Us” ad, was asked to waste its time condemning Rush Limbaugh’s stupid, over-the-top crack that only “phony soldiers” criticize the war in Iraq.
Not a bad summation of the case, but Andersen lives in New York, and probably is unaware of the naked mockery represented in Fort Wayne mayoral candidate Matt Kelty’s birthday cake. Feel free to examine this excellent photo of the offending foodstuff, described in the usual dead-serious newspaper prose:
The cake had a Wizard of Oz theme. It depicts an outhouse labeled “GOP HQ” sitting on top of a baseball field, believed to be reference to the $120 million Harrison Square project Kelty opposes. Resting atop the diamond and under the outhouse are legs resembling those of the Wicked Witch of the East.
The outhouse also refers to Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine and Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, whom Kelty defeated in the mayoral primary.
From the outhouse is a yellow road leading to the Emerald City. Along the road are signs referring to City Councilman Sam Talarico, R-at large, who has been an outspoken supporter of Kelty’s opponent, Democrat Tom Henry.
Not that the story lacked humor. Nothing like a quote like this to get the giggles started:
“I don’t endorse the comments made on the cake,” (said Kelty).
You have to have been to a few birthday parties in Fort Wayne to fully appreciate the humor in this story, especially birthday parties for Republican Christian knobs like Kelty, parties where the most exciting thing that could happen is someone getting a little frosting in their mustache. Always remember, though, a candidate should have plausible deniability:
Kelty said his 43d birthday party – which served as a fundraiser charging $43 per person – was a hectic event and he did not know about the cake until it was already cut and served.
Well, there you go.
Friends, I got a front-loaded morning. Might be back this afternoon. In the meantime, tell any offensive-cake stories you have.