This story starts with two people:
Charles Pugh, Detroit city council president;
Laura Berman, Detroit News columnist;
There are more players, but let’s introduce them as the story plays out. Pugh is a former television “journalist,” in the sense that he was most recently part of the local Fox affiliate’s fun ‘n’ smiley weekend morning news team. As I’ve mentioned here before, he once worked at WKJG in Fort Wayne.
So the city has been going through a protracted financial crisis, a serious, national news-making one, with lawsuits and deadlines and in the middle of this, Pugh takes the opportunity to release a 48-minute video on YouTube called “Charles Pugh’s 60-Pound Weight Loss Secrets.” Because he did lose 60 pounds over the course of the last year, and boy is he proud of it.
Berman wrote a column for the News that, while taking care to congratulate Pugh on his accomplishment, because that’s sort of the modern equivalent of freeing a nation from an oppressive dictator, gently chided him for maybe not keeping his eye on the ball:
Green tea and spinach for lunch are terrific. And so is Pugh’s single-minded passion for improvement. If only he would channel that same missionary spirit to saving the city he’s been elected to help lead.
You ask me, it was a very gentle chiding. Maybe super-gentle. It attracted an admirer in the person of Josh Sidorowicz, who happens to be an intern — an intern! — at Automotive News this summer. He tweeted that admiration, adding, “Too bad @Charles_Pugh has been such a disappointment for the city of Detroit so far.”
Evidently Pugh’s weight loss has left less padding over his sensitivity nerve, because he immediately started a tweet-fight with Sidorowicz (an intern!) defending his priorities and calling Sidorowicz “offensive and inaccurate.”
The kid didn’t back down, so Pugh became a tweetin’ machine, a string hilariously captured in this Jalopnik post, until, perhaps emboldened by getting a Free Press reporter fired earlier this year, he took it to a higher authority:
@joshsidorowicz Josh, do you think the folks at Automotive News would be interested in your inaccurate, offensive commentary? Just curious?
What a cheap little bully. So this is what it’s come to: City still falling apart, but if you want to get the city council president hot under the collar, remark that maybe his abs aren’t all that important. See what happens.
Pugh has already said he’s one-and-done and won’t be re-upping with the city council, so I’m thinking he’s laying groundwork to host his own weight-loss infomercial show.
Owe $4 million from your doomed-from-the-start presidential campaign? Sounds like you need a little bit of Tuscany!
After Monday’s SCOTUS news, I’m giving the individual mandate odds of zilch. Please, prove me wrong, universe.
And if you missed this in the comments yesterday, don’t miss it now: Sorkinisms, with an echo in the room. Good one.