Six degrees.

I wrote a short note about Jerry Springer on my Facebook page. It ran like this:

So Jerry Springer has moved to the undiscovered country. Huh. The obituaries will focus on “Jerry Springer,” host of the televised pro-wrestling show that made him famous, but before that, he was a lawyer, mayor of Cincinnati, and one-time primary candidate to be governor of Ohio. And before even that, he was a Cincinnati city councilman who resigned in disgrace after being exposed as a man who paid prostitutes with personal checks. Which is to say, Jerry was a man whose TV and political careers were chronologically the opposite of Donald Trump’s, and also that he had a functional sense of shame, unlike you-know-who. I interviewed him when he was running for governor, and even then he seemed to see himself more as a court jester than a policy maker, but what the hell, it takes all kinds. RIP.

As I was making lunch I remembered something else about his gubernatorial run, in 1982. Springer washed out of the Democratic primary field pretty early. On the other side, the eventual GOP nominee was Bud Brown, a former congressman, attorney general and all-around Republican public servant. He lost in the general election to Dick Celeste (who had his own issues related to his sex life, i.e., a zipper problem second only to Bill Clinton’s, but we never talked about that outside of the bar, back then), who went on to serve two terms. But! Bud Brown was the father of Clancy Brown, an actor perhaps best-known as the heaviest (in the menacing sense, not his weight) of the prison guards in “The Shawshank Redemption.” He’s also a well-known voice actor, and if you have a kid my age you know him as the voice of Mr. Krabs on “SpongeBob SquarePants,” the owner of the Krusty Krab restaurant, where SpongeBob works.

So that’s two weird connections to showbiz out of one election. In Ohio. Funny little world we live in.

If you want to know more about Springer’s 1974 downfall, here’s a good history from the Cincinnati Enquirer. It serves to remind me of my low-grade contempt for Ohio’s Queen City, which for years was run by stick-up-the-butt German Catholics, all of whom were happy to outsource their vice to Kentucky, and maybe cross the bridge themselves to misbehave (or buy bourbon by the case). Not that Springer was that sort of German, but you know what I’m talking about.

I remember the first time I saw the Springer TV show. I’d awakened in the middle of the night, and turned on the TV to anesthetize myself back to sleep. It didn’t work, because they were showing an episode of a talk show where people were twerking and throwing chairs, hosted by the former MAYOR OF CINCINNATI?!?

Like I said: A funny little world.

OK, then, it’s nearly Friday, so I’m-a hit Publish and start thinking Weekend, why not. Everyone have a good one, and maybe pour one out for Jerry, a man way ahead of his time.

Posted at 6:19 pm in Media |

28 responses to “Six degrees.”

  1. Charlie Zone said on April 27, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Jerry was born in a tube station during the Blitz. His family were Jewish refugees. What a life journey.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on April 27, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    The best thing about Springer is he never ran for president.

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  3. Sherri said on April 27, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Just a gun enthusiast trying to show off online, right?

    “Investigators found a small arsenal in his bedroom at the house he shared with his mother and stepfather. Inside a gun locker two feet from his bed, law enforcement officials found multiple weapons, including handguns, bolt-action rifles, shotguns, an AK-style high-capacity weapon and a gas mask. F.B.I. special agents also found ammunition, tactical pouches and what appeared to be a silencer-style accessory in his desk drawer.”


    ‘Prosecutors also made public a series of social media posts from 2022 and 2023 in which Airman Teixeira expressed his desire to kill a “ton of people” and cull the “weak minded,” and described what he called an “assassination van” that would cruise around killing people in a “crowded urban or suburban environment.”’

    Plus a high school suspension for alarming comments about Molotov cocktails and a history of trawling the internet for information about mass shootings, and sure, no problem, give the dude a top secret clearance. I suppose we should be grateful that all he did was post classified documents, not stage his own mass shooting.

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  4. Deborah said on April 27, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    I watched Jerry Springer’s show twice, I must have been home sick from work or something. One was about a young teen or pre-teen who dressed completely inappropriately, the mother and child were on screaming at each other. The other was a wife and her husband’s mistress going after each other. They were memorable in a train wreck sort of way.

    Am I the only one keeping track of the rape trial? I’m surprised it hasn’t been discussed in the comments, or maybe I just missed it?

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  5. Peter said on April 28, 2023 at 2:02 am

    “Not that Springer was that sort of German, but you know what I’m talking about.”

    Charlie Zone beat me to it: Springer was a different sort of German, and he couldn’t be president if he wanted to, being born in the London tube.

    Some years ago when I was working on a project in Brazil, I was told that I had to watch the Brazilian version of the Jerry Springer show. They figured they had a surefire hit – compared to the US, they had a goldmine of infidelity and strange kinks with an endless supply of people who wouldn’t think twice of accepting a free trip to Rio to go on TV. They copied every detail of the Springer show, and – it flopped big time. Almost every time they brought the other person out, it turned into a moment of clarity: “I can see why you would have gone with him. he’s very handsome. I should have been more attentive to you…” “I had no idea he liked this kink – I can incorporate it into our routine…” and so on, while the moderator was stage right pulling his hair out.

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  6. Brandon said on April 28, 2023 at 2:55 am

    Clancy Brown, an actor perhaps best-known as the heaviest (in the menacing sense, not his weight) of the prison guards in “The Shawshank Redemption.”

    He made his film debut forty years ago in the Sean Penn prison movie Bad Boys as “Viking” Lofgren.

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  7. Jeff Gill said on April 28, 2023 at 7:28 am

    Ohio, the heart of it all!

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  8. alex said on April 28, 2023 at 7:33 am

    I remember when WMAQ in Chicago decided to goose the ratings for its evening news by giving Springer a seat at the anchor desk. Co-anchors Carol Marin and Ron Magers quit and made new careers of decrying showbiz gimmickry creeping into journalism. Marin worked briefly for CBS and 60 Minutes after this but eventually ended up back in Chicago, first on WTTW (PBS) and then back at her old home, WMAQ (NBC).

    The Jerry Springer show was produced in the NBC studios in Chicago and was completely over-the-top and sordid as all get out. I remember the daughter of a friend appearing on the show with a hokey plan she and her college-age pals had devised. They got dressed up and into character as ragtag hillbillies and presented themselves as an incestuous family. They weren’t quite as grotesque or violent as the average guests but I daresay they set a new bar for tastelessness.

    Come to think of it, maybe the Springer show is why the Cletuses have come to believe that the showbiz world and popular culture disrespects them.

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  9. FDChief said on April 28, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Ah, the innocence!

    I ran across the Springer show and all I could think of was “who’d wanna watch this crap?” Bunch of knuckleheads behaving badly? WTF?

    Little did I know that the answer was “millions of people”, given that Springer was the ur-“reality” show and that the airwaves would be choked with knuckleheads behaving badly and OMG have you encountered “MILF Manor” yet..?

    Interesting that you mention “shame”, because if I had to pin down the single thing about our current time that’s changed from my Sixties-Seventies youth it’s the massive decline in the sense that you should keep your nasty habits – sexual, moral, political – on the downlow.

    I don’t know if that’s exactly “bad” – it’s not like you didn’t have those nasty habits, just didn’t let ‘em rip – but it sure is different.

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  10. Heather said on April 28, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Just chiming in on the Clancy Brown appreciation thread. I’m always happy when I see him in something, no matter how small the role. Looking at his credits, seems like he keeps pretty busy!

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  11. Dorothy said on April 28, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    Clancy Brown is terrific! And he’s fortunate to have a memorable first name. Not many actors that I can think of off the top of my head named Clancy.

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  12. Jason T. said on April 28, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Dorothy: And then there’s that famous song, “Clancy (With the Laughing Face).”

    … sorry, I’ll show myself out.

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  13. Randy said on April 28, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    Jerry, Jenny, Maury… they made salacious details seem like ingredients for spinach dip.

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  14. John C said on April 28, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    Back in the day I used to visit the NBC building in Chicago – or cut through it on my way to somewhere else – soon a fairly regular basis. That often meant walking past the people who were in line for the Springer show. Yikes.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    Don’t forget Sally Jessy Raphael. Even though I’m retired, watching TV during the day is still not a thing to be done IMHO. When I’m sick I prefer audiobooks.

    And speaking of (not) getting sick, we just got our next covid boosters, so shot #6 overall. We’re going to NYC next month and want all the immunity we can get. I’m very excited to see Sweeney Todd with Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford and maybe another show or two, haven’t decided yet.

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  16. Deborah said on April 28, 2023 at 5:19 pm

    Whaaaat… I just read that Justice Roberts wife has made $10.3 million in commissions by recruiting for big law firms and many of those had cases at SCOTUS. Ten point three million dollars!

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  17. alex said on April 28, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Deborah, that’s been an open secret for some time now. Just like Ginni Thomas selling access doing “political activism.” And today Alito is claiming that the Dodd draft was leaked by one of the liberal justices but he won’t say who. Probably a diversionary tactic to cover his own ass now that it’s been revealed that he leaked the Hobby Lobby decision.

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  18. Sherri said on April 28, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Why bother covering ass? Nothing’s going to happen. Will Dick Durbin even bother to send another strongly worded letter to the Chief Justice? He can’t even hold a hearing about it, much less issue a subpoena, which given the way the right-wing operates these days, they’d probably ignore.

    Now maybe everyone understands why I was screaming for the Dems to add members to SCOTUS before the midterms, but Biden was not interested. Still doesn’t seem interested. Removing a justice for corruption is close to impossible, but diluting their influence by adding more justices is much more doable, if only the Dems would understand the stakes.

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  19. alex said on April 29, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Sweet serendipity…

    On NN.C this date in 2008, Nancy posted about the life of Jerry Springer before he became known as the King of All Schlockmeisters, as told in this episode of This American Life:

    Eric Zorn had weighed in about Northwestern Law grads having a massive hissy over Springer’s selection as their commencement speaker and he opined that they might feel differently about it if they knew more about Springer.

    2008 was a great year at NN.C, by the way. It was the Year of the Great Goeglein Plagiarism Scandal, which brought many new friends into this circle. And it’s long enough ago now that the local newspaper has allowed Goeglein to publish again, which was once unimaginable. The paper no doubt considers it a safe bet. His work is so dreadful they know it couldn’t be anyone’s but his.

    At this point in 2008, we had no idea whether our next president would be the first Black or the first Female but we were pretty certain after the Bush years that it wouldn’t be another Republican. The economy was tanking. The right-wing memes of the time were audacious and offensive but really quite candy-assed compared to the invective they’re hurling around now. It was a totally different world just a mere 15 years ago.

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  20. LAMary said on April 29, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    Two stories that make me miss the sweet innocence of 2008.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on April 29, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    ‘Murica gives me a headache.

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  22. Sherri said on April 29, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    This is on my mind because as of July, because of a state Supreme Court ruling and a failure of the legislature to come to an agreement, drug possession will no longer be criminalized in Washington. There won’t be funding for treatment, either, mind you, because that was all tied up in the bill that didn’t pass. This is all causing an uproar, you might imagine, and local jurisdictions are falling over themselves to say, well, we’re going to criminalize possession, even though the question of where they plan to incarcerate all these arrestees is also unanswered. There will be a special session, the fight over whether is a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor will be worked out, whatever.

    My point is, for decades we have criminalized mere possession of certain drugs, and even paraphernalia for consuming those drugs, far beyond the degree of harm they perpetuate on society. Indeed, one can argue that it is incarceration itself responsible for a significant fraction of the harm. Which is why we stopped criminalizing alcohol.

    But guns, even as the obvious harms to society have increased dramatically, we have gone the opposite direction with guns. I understand the history, and the white supremacy underlying both situations, but sometimes I’m still gobsmacked by the sheer insanity.

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  23. Jeff Borden said on April 29, 2023 at 5:09 pm


    Half of the QOP legislators in Michigan voted against repealing a law passed in 1931 outlawing cohabitation between unmarried men and women. Half! In 2023! I’m sure they’re tRumpanzees, but they are unmoved by the bedroom antics of the orange cancer they worship like Baal, but when it comes to you godless heathens, well. . . I am gobsmacked by how utterly out of step with most citizens this rancid, toxic sludge dump of a party truly is. By all means, let’s start arresting everyone for sex outside marriage! Of course, we’ll have to start with all the QOP hypocrites who’ve done this, but they have god and, presumably, they will forgive him.

    The race to minoritarian rule accelerates!

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  24. LAMary said on April 29, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    We’re supposed to believe that none of the QOP politicians has ever had an abortion or caused a woman to have an abortion. Like trump. Never happened. Or trump’s spawn. Never. It’s murder. According to trump we need to stop the democrat policy of allowing doctors to perform post birth abortions too. I guess that’s something that happens all the time.

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  25. David C said on April 29, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    I’m suddenly in the market for a new car. It’ll turn out to be a less used car rather than new. We had a crash this morning. We’re both fine and the couple in the other car are fine. They’re also kind and understanding because goddamnit it was all my fault. Thank the regulators that made the auto companies build strong safety cells and put in side impact air bags. They likely saved Mary’s life and left her with no more than a bruise on her cheek and one on her forearm. Both, we suspect, from the air bag inflating. Unnecessary advice from David. Don’t ever drive when you’re tired and in a hurry to get home. Take the time to rest for a while.

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  26. Deborah said on April 29, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    David C, sorry to hear that, glad you’re OK.

    Did I mention before that I was binging on The Diplomat. I finished it today and lordy, they had quite the cliffhanger. I had to watch the end over because it goes pretty fast and of course it’s ambiguous on purpose. It was pretty good, as many of those series go, though it got far fetched as it progressed. I thought the acting was decent.

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  27. Dexter Friend said on April 30, 2023 at 4:29 am

    David C. , glad you and all are pretty-much OK. The second day I had the Honda Odyssey, 2 years ago, I was at McDonald’s drive-through. My leg’s muscle memory relating to my Chrysler condemned me to miss the brake pedal by an inch and tap the gas pedal, and I slowly banged into a junk GMC SUV in line ahead. I felt stupid and bad, and as we got through the line, we pulled aside and I was expecting a police report to follow, insurance cards procured, the whole gamut. The woman driving the junker told me to just go, clear out quickly, GO! She then walked to her half-knocked off bumper and shoved it into place, waved a thumbs up, and I watched as she entered her vehicle, full of young kids… and back up. The whole fucking bumper fell off. I was already in traffic but I turned around and came back, wanting to do what I should do, but she was gone like the wind, a cool breeze. I deduced it, right? Michigan plates, probably not for that vehicle, likely no insurance, maybe an expired license. She wanted NO f’in cops there at all.
    Now I have a truck, a restored 2001 F-150 SuperCrew. It has already hauled 3 loads of junk to the place where junk goes. And a few joy ride shakedown cruises hither and yon. Nothing shook down, all is well. No knocking engine, perfectly aligned, no drivabilities. I learned from the Honda incident, pay attention to the pedals, you dumb ass!

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  28. Icarus said on April 30, 2023 at 10:52 am

    My car woes continue. I have a 2008 Honda Element (bought in 2012). A few weeks ago, the passenger side window would not roll up. I had to pay $300+ to get it fixed because, even though there are Youtube videos showing how to fix it, the door panel is just too complicated for me to tackle. Oh, and the mechanic charged me $100 for the $40 part, which I know he gets a discount on.

    Now my muffler system needs replacing. I already need new tires and brake pads but all that has to wait until I’m employed again.

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