My visit to Columbus was everything I wanted it to be. Warm, fun, a million laughs.
That’s me with Jeff Borden and Dave Jones, two very funny people. We met early before the whole group arrived:
Extras included Jim, Karen, Kirk and Gary, all former Dispatch people. The bar in German Village was one of our old haunts, and looks like it hasn’t changed a thing in 40 years. So it was perfect, really. I didn’t want the night to end (especially since I went home in a driving rain). But I got back to Westerville in one piece, and the following day went out with Julia Keller, another ex-Dispatcher who now writes and teaches. It struck me, going home, that going to see old friends is the best kind of travel. After Western Europe, of course. But way less walking.
So it was a restorative kind of weekend, except I had one glass of wine too many Saturday night with the fam, slept badly and now feel like crap. I’ll be better tomorrow.
Meanwhile, we had a minor media story break over the weekend in Detroit, in which Charlie LeDuff, a downward-spiraling journalist who fancies himself a Jon Stewart/Hunter Thompson mashup and desperate to “go national” tweeted something about the Michigan attorney general:
You see the problem? “See you next Tuesday.” As long as I’ve been a grown-up, I’ve understood that phrase to be another way to say “cunt.” Like “you go to h-e-hockey sticks, you scoundrel!” Even Charlotte York understands what it means.
He was called out by a number of female journalists, then some male ones, and by Saturday night he’d lost his contributing-columnist gig at The Detroit News. His fans, who are disproportionately right wingers because that’s the niche he’s going for in his quest to get his career back on track (Fox News, maybe CNN), keep insisting he never called Dana Nessel a cunt, and Charlie himself actually tried to claim he was only referring to when his next column would post. I call bullshit. Funny how it’s women who understand when they’re being insulted, isn’t it? And how often men try to gaslight us?
Finally, I could build up a big head of steam over this rather startling survey from the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, but I’d rather let you guys take a look at it and tell me what you think. Briefly, it reflects a jarring disconnect between what parents say they want for their children’s independence and what they’re willing to do to further it:
Among parents of a child 9-11 years, 84% agree that children benefit from having free time without adult supervision. Fewer parents report their child does things without an adult present, including staying home for 30-60 minutes (58%), finding an item at the store while the parent is in another aisle (50%), staying in the car while the parent runs a quick errand (44%), walking/biking to a friend’s house (33%) or playing at the park with a friend (29%), or trick-or-treating with friends (15%). The top reason parents cite as preventing them from letting their child 9-11 years have time without adult supervision is worry that someone might scare or follow their child (54%); however, only 17% say their neighborhood is not safe for children to be alone. Some parents think their child isn’t ready (32%) or doesn’t want (28%) to do these things. Some parents believe state or local laws don’t allow children that age to be alone (17%), that someone might call the police (14%), or that others will think they are a bad parent (11%) if their child is not in direct adult supervision.
Note well: Only 15 percent would let their child trick-or-treat with friends, but almost the same percentage thinks their neighborhood isn’t safe to trick-or-treat in. We’re paralyzed by fear.
OK, let’s start the week.