An open letter to Geraldo Rivera

>> Friday, March 30, 2012

I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my "very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies".
-Geraldo Rivera, as quoted by M.J. Lee,
"Geraldo Rivera apologizes for 'hoodie' comment",
Politico, March 27th, 2012.

Dear Mr. Rivera,

Having read the excerpts of your obviously heartfelt apology as quoted at the website Politico, I was moved to tender an apology of my own. Having read of your comments that the homicide of a teenage boy, Trayvon Martin, under circumstances that are still under investigation, may have been caused by Mr. Martin's decision to wear a hoodie for a walk down to a convenience store to purchase some Skittles and iced tea, I found myself thinking some uncharitable thoughts in your direction.

This was petty of me. It was not so much that I was "offended" by your "very practical and potentially life-saving campaign" so much as I was stunned and amused by what I perceived to be a depth of idiocy and cluelessness on display from a mostly irrelevant pop-culture figure who managed to insert himself back into the national spotlight at a time of tragedy by saying something that I believe I may have characterized to friends as "batshit insane". But the magnanimity of your apology to those who may have been offended, if they were offended, by your comments, which were not intended to offend but were in fact intended to save the lives of other Black and Hispanic males who might find themselves approached by and then shot for their sartorial choices by gun-toting faux-Neighborhood Watch "captains" ignoring the explicit advice of 911 dispatchers, has appealed to me and shown me the error of my ways.

Therefore, Mr. Rivera, I humbly extend my apology to you.

I am deeply, truly, profoundly sorry that you are a complete git. I regret that you are an idiot and an asshole, and I cannot begin to express my complete remorse over what a twit you are. When I think back upon the significant accomplishments of your career, such as the time you discovered nothing in Al Capone's vault or all the white trash brawls you hosted on your shitty daytime television show, my heart swells up with grief over what a ridiculous, pathetic, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, bottom-feeding, scum-sucking, noxious, prat you really are. I cannot begin to tally up the sombre and sober sadness I feel contemplating what it must be like to have devoted one's entire adult life to contributing an apparently bottomless deficit to American culture, a vast deep well of suck that has left the world somehow more impoverished than it would have been if you'd drunkenly stumbled into a streetlight when you were in college and knocked yourself into an irreversible vegetative state incurring fifty years of noncollectable medical bills to be written off by the county hospital forced to maintain you on a feeding tube by an injunction granted to a meddling two-bit Republican state legislator mere weeks before his arrest on morals charges involving an underage minor, two chickens and a bottle of Boone's Farm.

I am so, so, soooo sorry. And I really mean it. Really, really, really. Cross my heart and everything.

It is possible that in an uncharitable, small-minded, mean-spirited, cruel moment I might have wondered what, exactly, you think a young man might wear to a neighborhood convenience store if he doesn't want to be shot and killed by an apparent paranoiac wannabe cop with 911 on speed dial. It seems to me that if you're going to critique what a young man wears to the store on a Sunday afternoon, implicit in that criticism is knowing what the young man might wear instead. (I have to suspect the answer might be something white, buttoned to the hypodermis by collagen, but that's a difficult recommendation as I'm not sure Old Navy carries anything that color or quite as form fitting.) After all, if I tell a young man of any ethnic persuasion or background who is meeting me in my office that he might consider not wearing that Scarface t-shirt to his upcoming courtdate for drug possession, I'm also sure to suggest that he might wear a suit if he happens to have one, or (understanding that my clients are, by definition, indigent, and may not be able to afford a suit) at least maybe a dress shirt (tie if he has it); to dress however he might dress for church or a job interview if he's able. This is something I feel comfortable with because I have some idea about what our culture, etiquette, tradition and even official written rules say people ought to wear to court--there are, in fact, "right" ways and "wrong" ways to dress for court. It seems to me that this is very easily distinguishable, however, from advice on how to dress when you're just chilling on the weekend, when you're just hanging out and decide to get a snack and some fresh air and some phone time with your girlfriend.

(If you're going down to the store, it's still February and it still feels a little chilly in spite of what the thermometer on the porch is saying. You might want to wear a hoodie.)

I regret and humbly apologize, Mr. Rivera, for the fact that you are such a fucking dumbass that this whole point obviously never crossed the extremely short breadth of your mind.

You do acknowledge that you managed to "have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager". Well. Actually, not so much. I actually rather doubt that particular point was obscure to anybody with enough functional brain cells to have a Bridge game betwixt themselves. I'm sorry. I think I actually managed to almost accidentally give you any credit at all, and if I inadvertently gave you a second's hope that you're not a loathsome fucktard, I sincerely regret the misunderstanding and completely retract any statement that may have implied you were anything more than a dry dog turd inextricably smooshed into the treads of America's Chuck Taylors.

You bastard.

Whew! I can see why you apologized, Mr. Rivera--I really feel better now that I've cleared my conscience of that!

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets


You know you don't even have the best porn 'stache in modern American pseudojournalism, right? Thomas Friedman has you completely outstached, and he's almost twice as smart as you are.


S.R.Cates Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7:50:00 AM EDT  

But how do you REALLY feel, Eric?

Warner Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:51:00 AM EDT  

My first introduction to Geraldo was about 1974 when he was doing a late night TV entertainment show on ABC (I worked for their Chicago O&O before I moved to network in NY) with Marylin Chambers doing her singing debut.

My wife and I having just seen 'Behind the Green Door' I suggested to the others at the station that Ms Chambers stick to her day job.

Steve Buchheit Friday, March 30, 2012 at 12:40:00 PM EDT  

While we're doing mea culpas, Dear Mr. Rivera, I apologize for yelling at the TV, "Get a haircut you hippie, you look like a girl," when I flipped by Fox News and you were on. The completely non-ironical mustache takes care of that.

But really, get a haircut.

Nathan Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:12:00 PM EDT  

I didn't want you to think that this post might have been unappreciated as it is a fine example of you at your frothiest with moments of sheer brilliance. However, I've got to admit that some of your word and/or spelling choices lead me to believe that you might be British and hiding it from all of us.

Fess up bloke.

Eric Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:27:00 PM EDT  

Too much Monty Python and Tolkien at an impressionable young age, I'm afraid. Do you know I know people who are prone to spelling some words with a gratuitous British "u" (e.g. "colour"). I used to make fun of them until I started dating someone who spells "favorite", "favourite" (though at least she doesn't spell "color" like she's some kind of Canadian).

(He wrote with a great deal of affection for his Canadian readership. Seriously, just kidding, y'all.)

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