Corey Robin is Shrill

He takes Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, to task.  Mr. Booker ran into a burning building to save a neighbor.  In addition to being a personally good deed, this episode demonstrates the real failure of local government in the 21st century.

The whole story speaks to a quintessentially American love of amateurism and cowboy theatrics, but it also speaks to our neoliberal age: like the superhero of comic-book lore, Booker is a stand-in, a compensation in this case for a public sector that doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work—the reason we put more stock in the antics of a Batman Mayor than a well paid and well trained city employee—is that we’ve made it not work: through tax cuts, privatization, and outsourcing, policies that Booker himself often supports.

Ohhh, SNAP!

 

4 comments to Corey Robin is Shrill

  • Memory Man

    The BB article and its links don’t tell us who “He” is, so I can’t address this mystery man…or maybe boy directly.

    What I do know is my own experience as a first-aider. Although I didn’t dash into a burning building, I did render CPR and rescue breathing to a man who had landed in a public road in a place where any cars in that lane couldn’t see us until the last moment. It took effort to focus on the patient and not look up the road. When the man, who was dismissed as being “drunk” surprised me with a sudden “last breath” as I knelt down to check for vital signs, I was unnerved to say the least. As I went through my ABC drill, I was frustrated by being unable to move any air into his lungs.

    Among the things that never crossed my mind were whose professional job I was “stealing” or politics. At the time the single thing at the forefront of my mind was that by the time I started CPR, I had used up at least three of the four minutes before brain death sets in seeing the man among a group of gawkers, turning around, leaving my car in the street and running to the scene. The only thing that mattered was getting oxygen to this man’s brain before it died.

    First-aiders don’t get to choose an opportunity or circumstance to be able to use. I had been taking the Red Cross courses or decades before the first and so far only chance to use it presented itself. The important part was that I reacted when all others failed to. The important part of the story of Cory Booker rescuing his neighbor is that he reacted when all others failed to.

    No matter what your personal opinions, prejudices, bias or spin is towards Cory Booker, the simple fact is that day he did something heroic by running into a burning house to save a neighbor.

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    • Whoops! Forgot to link to Corey Robin’s article. Corey Robin is the “he” in the post above. I’ve fixed the post to include the link.

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      • Memory Man

        Oh, I see! Phil, when I read “Corey Robin” and then “Batman Mayor”, I eventually concluded that “Corey Robin” was a Batman and Robin reference slam on Corey Booker.

        I’ll go read the article now, but I still stand by what I wrote about those who run into burning buildings to save lives when it’s not their job to.

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        • Memory Man

          OK, I’ve read the article, and must say that an author who uses copious amounts of over-the-top hyperbole is the last person on earth to have any right to criticize Mayor Booker for overstepping his bounds. I mean, comparing shoveling snow during a blizzard to what Joseph Stalin did is beyond ridiculous!

          I’ve witnessed the Blizzard of 1964, near Chicago, watching my dad spend the better part of the morning trying to move his car a mere six inches into the snow and back. I’ve lived through the 1978-1979 winter snows where they began in the Texas panhandle, driving down country dirt roads with Mickey Thompson racing tires in deep snow. (It doesn’t work.) I’ve towed cars and delivered pizza during lesser but still impressive snowfalls. I’ve set my alarm so I could go out and shovel out my cars four inches at a time during large snow storms, so I too have been up at 3AM with a shovel myself. I can say with a fair amount of authority that shoveling snow isn’t exactly a publicity stunt.

          I stayed at a local hotel while my apartment’s carpets and furnishings were being cleaned, replaced and repaired. One morning I set out to clear the six inches of new snow off my car and was surprised that someone had already done it for me. I was even more surprised to discover that the young woman who had been clearing the snow off of all of the cars in the hotel parking lot was the hotel’s manager! I asked her why she didn’t delegate the task to an underling. Her answer was that her staff was already hard at work doing their existing jobs, and that the system could run without the boss being there to micromanage. In brief, hers were the only free set of hands available at the time. It made sense.

          I can see why people in Wisconsin can’t grasp this. What’s acceptable in Wisconsin for snow removal is what gets Chicago mayors ousted. What’s normal in Wisconsin is totally unacceptable elsewhere. And even if there was a political motivation, is there really anything to fault? It looks to me that governing via Twitter was effective and innovative. I’d like to see someone make a convincing argument (without resorting to dishonesty) that attacking Mayor Booker in this case was anything other than sour grapes.

          I can also understand why, in such a litigious country, that fire officials must issue the standard disclaimer instead of give props to heroes. But I’ve already explained why waiting for the fire department to arrive in a life-or-death situation simply isn’t an option.

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