Bye-bye, Miss American
Who says there
ain't no cure for the summertime blues? In the middle
of the dog days (on August 1, 1997, to be precise),
the malignantly perky and relentlessly wholesome Susan
Molinari stepped down from her elected office as U.S.
Congresswoman, leaving the House of Representatives
for . . . a role as anchorperson for CBS News in one
of the tube's vaster wastelands, the Saturday morning
slot. Yep, right in there amidst the other cartoons
with their equally canned laughter. Real justice may
be hard to come by nowadays, but poetic justice remains
a perennial bumper crop.
of course, is that the U.S. public -- or at least
whatever segment of it watches the Saturday morning
news on CBS -- will find something lovable in
this appalling twerp and turn our Mustang Susie
into the Rush Limbaugh of the preppie set. I don't
think so, but I've been wrong before. Meanwhile,
the price we'll pay for her departure from the
hustings will be the inevitable comments during
her network stint reminding the world that she
comes from Staten Island.
It was embarrassing
enough to have her introduced at the '96 Republican
Convention as an Islander, all smug and smarmy as
she pimped for that great American hero Bob Dole.
But, high-profile as that seemed, at least it was
a one-shot. This is every week, and if she doesn't
catch the adult audience she may draw the kiddies
with her remarkable impersonation of an all-American
teenage babysitter on speed. I dread the thought that
she'll be one of those unfortunate things for which
the Island is perpetually known -- like the landfill,
except worse. The garbage, after all, is created primarily
by other people; but Susan Molinari is definitely
Staten Island's own. It will take generations for
us to live her down.
(August 11, 1997)
Necessarily Better, but It's Still Bigger
a pseudonym (since the paper doesn't accept letters
from contributors, and I'm a regular columnist there),
I sent the following missive to the New York Observer:
The New York Observer
54 E. 64th Street
New York, NY 10021
In "Hey! Do You Know Me? I'm Governor Pataki
. . . ," your front-page story on who the public
credits for introducing the Metrocard (August 4, 1997),
Joe Conason refers to Staten Island as "the city's
smallest and remotest borough."
By no stretch of the imagination can Staten Island's
size be so described. Staten Island measures in at
approximately 68 square miles, making it almost three
times as large as Manhattan. One assumes, charitably,
that your young reporter and your even younger fact-checkers
simply do not know the not-insignificant difference
between "smallest" and "least populous."
Perhaps you will instruct them on this matter.
To my considerable surprise, they ran it, in the issue
datelined August 25-September 1 (Vol. 11, no. 33)
-- but couldn't resist yet another jab at the Island,
headlining it "Jumbo Shrimp."
"Remotest," of course, cannot be denied.
Staten Island is physically closer to New Jersey than
to any part of New York City. Indeed, New Jersey once
laid claim to it; the dispute was settled by a boat
race around the Island, won by New York -- to the
great disappointment of many Islanders, then as now,
who feel more allegiance to the Garden State than
to the Empire State.
We've just celebrated the centennial of the Island's
annexation - along with the other boroughs, it became
part of "greater New York" (and, at the
same time, enabled new York to call itself "greater")
on January 1, 1898. It is the only borough with a
serious secessionist faction, indicating that, for
more than a few, "remote" constitutes a
state of mind as well as a geographical fact.
And, while we're at it, why not add "highest"
to the list of Island characteristics? Staten Island
is the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the
United States. Gives you paws, eh?
(January 3, 1998)
otherwise credited, all text and images in this newsletter
are © copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,
by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved.
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