July 12, 2010

Patinkin Should Put a Face on the Cliché

Justin Katz

It's difficult to imagine what Mark Patinkin was thinking as he conceived, wrote, and submitted his recent column mocking Republicans — or rather, why he didn't think first. Like any group, there's surely plenty to mock about the GOP and its members, but the sheer absence of cleverness and accuracy, in this piece, suggests that Patinkin lacked even the interest to discern enough truth to make mockery fun. In fact, his rattling off of clichés is so out of date that he actually included this:

Suddenly, I felt guilt over having owned a German car in the past and having a Toyota in the family today. My next car will be Detroit iron.

Is Patinkin so out of touch with his subjects that he hasn't heard conservatives calling GM "Government Motors" and promising to buy other makes? By the above quotation, he shows not only that he isn't familiar with the ideology that he's presuming to summarize, but he doesn't understand the people. For the most part, he equates "Republicans" with "blueblood elites" — although even brief consideration of our Congressional delegation ought to lead the writer to suspect that he's dabbling too superficially in more complicated waters.

So I hereby challenge Mr. Patinkin (pass the word along, if you happen to speak with him) to attend some gatherings of actual Republicans. Something hosted by the Rhode Island Republican Assembly (RIRA) would be a good start.

No doubt, many of Patinkin's expectations about ideology and partisanship will be confirmed, but on a personal level, he might be surprised that some of his friends in the media and the Democrat Party much more closely resemble the picture that he draws.

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Poor Mark just can't win. I can't believe, just because of an innocuous human column, that's he having his Republican credentials questioned so shortly after writing a column so anti-union it made we wonder whether his resignation from the Providence Newspaper Guild at the end had been cut.

Posted by: rhody at July 12, 2010 1:24 PM

And if I were still a subscriber to the Providence Journal, this might actually mean a lot more to me than it does. It seems to have been a lame attempt at humor, but all the old cliches about Republicans just fell flat. He actually seems to be describing "limousine liberals" more than anything else -- or what the northeast U.S. Republican Party might have been like, circa 1950.

I canceled my subscription to the Projo at the end of last year, and surprisingly, my life has gone on pretty well without it (although I have occassionally had a shortage of newsprint to clean windows with to a streak-free shine). I also occassionally miss someone who died in the Obits, but I've never been much of a fan of wakes anyway. Thank you for at least bringing it to our attention.

PS If Mark would like to meet some actual Republicans (surprisingly enough, we don't all wear tassled loafers), the next Rhode Island Republican Assembly meeting is this Thursday evening. Click the link to the website for details. Thanks for the unsolicited RIRA plug, of course.

Posted by: Will at July 13, 2010 2:23 AM

patinkin can be an entertaining writer,and has written some very good columns,but he does ater all,live on the East Side,a very cloistered community of rich liberals like Sheldon Whitehouse(I don't know if Shelly is still there)and Jack Mcconnell.Mark's boon companion at synagogue is the disgraceful phony cop Esserman.I have previously noted that Esserman never actually worked on the street-he was never a Transit Police Officer in NYC,a dirty,dangerous job,but in fact anATTORNEY for that department.Still,Patinkin swoons over this fraud who takes more freebies than any police official in RI history.
Mark's judgement is a little skewed.
Didn't Mark ever hear of Reagan Democrats?or Nixon Democrats?A lot of us who vote Republican in general elections have never been rich a day in our lives.
Living in Providence,I have to vote in the Democratic primary because otherwise I don't get to vote for Mayor.
Every vote counts.If Taveras gets in,this city is finished.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 13, 2010 9:12 AM

Mark's been all over the place. He started as an Illinois farm kid who was a Clean for Gene (McCarthy) in '68, and wrote some very funny stuff in his younger days (remember The Douglas)?
I'd say Mark jumped the shark when he got married and became Mr. East Side Squire. Either he married into big money, or he makes well beyond top of the Guild scale (possible, since he reached his peak before Belo arrived). I wonder if success went to his head - every so often he writes something that reminds you he has the talent, but he's just gotten lazy. I wonder if many of his co-workers can relate to him anymore.

Posted by: rhody at July 13, 2010 11:49 AM

My info from a reliable journalistic source is that Charles Bakst was the most disliked peron at the Journal.If one meets him,it's obvious why.
Sometimes living and interacting in a rarified milieu can change one's perspective.
The East Side is the place that produces a "Republican"(LOL)like Lila Sapinsley.Ohmigod.
My source never mentioned Patinkin because I never mentioned him.I wonder if he's related to Mandy Patinkin?

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 13, 2010 2:52 PM

A second cousin, IIRC - Mark's written about him a time or to.

Posted by: rhody at July 13, 2010 4:32 PM
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