I was all prepared to take a break from my weekly bashing of Mayor Bloomberg. Really. But last week Mayor Mike called a children’s zoo groundhog a son-of-a-bitch. How could I resist? Ok, this week I would lay off. Not a word about the Mayor.
And then he called the Irish a bunch of drunks.
Or something like that. What he actually said at the American Irish Historical Society fundraiser celebrating a new book about the 250th anniversary of the St. Patrick’s Day parade was “I live in the neighborhood and when I walk by this building, I usually sees a bunch of drunks hanging out the window waving” (at the passing parade).
Pretty bad, right? Bigoted! Horrible! How would he like it if someone said some stereotypical crap about Jews, huh?
Well the fact is, somebody did. It happened to be the event’s emcee who introduced the Mayor, saying of the predominantly Jewish Upper East Side area “People in this neighborhood are usually reluctant to dig into their pockets.” Get it?
The MC, radio host Adrian Flannelly, meant it in good fun. Of course it wasn’t, but the man’s not a bigot. And neither is the similarly humor-challenged Mayor Bloomberg, who in the “roast”-like environment, tried to give it back to Flannelly with his remark.
The problem arose when the majority of the media left out Flannelly’s intro and just reported what Bloomberg said, with predictable tabloid headlines (Bloomie’s Blarney! Irish Eyes are Frowning!) and truly offensive blogosphere comments (Hey Mayor, how about some jokes about your people being shoved into ovens?).
When Flannelly saw the reaction, he was stunned. “I have to own up and say I started it,” he said. “It was strictly joshing. In the festive spirit of the evening , I don’t think anyone was really offended. And if someone was, they had to sleep on it to get cranky.”
As anyone who regularly reads this blog is well aware, there is no one who takes the Mayor to task more than I (Come on, he’s such an easy target!) But I have to admit he did a commendable job steering the city through difficult economic times.
In addition, although I wasn’t sure building the city’s biggest Muslim Center/Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero was a great idea, I have to admire Bloomberg’s courage in standing up for the Muslim community’s right to do just that.
And while lots of politicians wrung their hands after the recent massacre in Arizona, Bloomberg was virtually the only one who (again) stood up to the NRA, arguing for reasonable gun laws and solidifying his position as their number one target.
The Mayor has made a series of blunders this winter (his bungling after the blizzard, Cathie Black, the groundhog, you name it) and has paid the price in public outrage and ridicule. But the end of the winter is now in sight (at least according to Staten Island Chuck), and the Mayor will celebrate…by marching in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Which should be just a delight for him.
But no matter how much abuse is hurled at Bloomie as he struts by (and there will be plenty), there is one thing we know about our often exasperating mayor.
He’ll definitely show up.