Mad About Maddow
I notice that in downtown Northampton they are selling these pink shirts for those who love MSNBC host and former Valley radio jock Rachel Maddow.
Perhaps you could wear your Maddow shirt while reading this week's Valley Advocate.
Plus if you're a student at Northampton's Smith College, you can catch Maddow in person when she gives the commencement address at their graduation. She won't have to travel far to do so, since she still lives here in the Pioneer Valley with her girlfriend, at least on weekends.
Among those who yearn to spend time with Rachel is Amherst's most famous living writer, Augusten Burroughs (above). Or that's what we're told in his blog - that Augusten is being pressured by his boyfriend Dennis to use his literary prestige to ask her over to dinner:
Dennis doesn't watch TV except now he watches Rachel Maddow. He loves his Rachel. In nine years together, he has never had “a show,” if you know what I mean. Although there have been a few things we've watched regularly over the years, there has never been anything quite like this. Rachel Maddow is his Battlestar Galactica.
She makes him laugh. This is why I thank Jesus each morning for Rachel Maddow. I can't even tell you. It's like having a kid, and knowing you can always stick him in front of the television, plug in his Xbox and hand him the controller. He'll be fine now.
So four weeks ago, Dennis -who won't even let me use my name when making a restaurant reservation because he thinks it's pretentious and loathsome- made a special trip downstairs to my office and said, “You need to invite Rachel Maddow over for dinner.” He suggested I contact her “people.”
I just looked up at him and blinked.
Yet relentless pleading from Dennis at least got Augusten to consider what he might say to Maddow in a email:
“Dear Rachel, I know this is kind of creepy and stalkerish but we both live in the same general area of Massachusetts and...” So it's the “I'm your neighbor not your stalker!” approach. I just can't figure out the segue from “We're your neighbors” to “come over for dinner with your girlfriend.” No matter how I phrase it, it comes out sounding odious. Like I want to know her because she's famous or I want to be on her show. In reality, the only place I want to be is in my basement.
Unfortunately Augusten has lost interest in his blog and never updates it anymore, so we never found out whether he sent Rachel Maddow an email or whether she accepted. But I suspect not, because if so Augusten would have somehow made it public.
Recently Maddow was in a controversy with Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown over a fundraising letter Sen. Brown sent out mentioning that Democrats were trying to get Maddow to run for the Senate against him in 2012. She claimed Scott was lying about her.
Actually "lie" was too strong a word. Democrat activists were unquestionably urging Maddow to run, and there was even a Facebook page someone put up to promote the notion. Some people suspected that Maddow's local radio chum Bill Dwight (below right) was behind it.
In any case it was all just a tempest in a teapot, but it did get Maddow a ton of free publicity, which no doubt expanded the base of people who are mad about Maddow - Republicans who are mad that the phony controversy got as much play as it did, and Democrats who loved Maddow all the more because she got away with it.
In today's democratic media anyone can commit an act of journalism. While any form of reporting, provided it is done honestly, is of value, some types of journalism are more valuable than others. Often citizens who carry out acts of journalism do not do so as effectively as they might because they don't know what minimal standards constitute a good article. But don't worry, you don't have to go to a journalism school to learn the basics, just watch this video from the School for Authentic Journalism and learn all you need to know in about six minutes.
A mouth appears to threaten Old Glory in front of Northampton's City Hall.
A peace van.
Jim Neill captured this shot Saturday of a rainbow over Northampton.
Me relaxing in Amherst yesterday.
Lord Russ in an Amherst cemetery in 1996.