Marion Barry’s defenders in his latest flap are accusing the Washington City Paper of racism. The free weekly fronted their coverage of Barry’s latest public embarassment with a quote his former girlfriend apparently left on his voicemail: “You put me out in Denver ’cause I wouldn’t [perform a specific sex act which, if I wrote it, might get my blog flagged as ‘not safe for work’].”
It’s a legitimate question for people in neighborhoods to wonder why the City Paper – which again, is free and readily accessibly to kids – should use such vulgar language. Barry and his minions have no beef. They may complain that a white politician would not be covered the same way – as if late night talk show hosts hadn’t chewed up and spit out John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, etc. (Also: other politicians who don’t get this kind of coverage include the ones that don’t kick their mistresses out of hotel rooms for refusing to perform sex acts.)
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, apparently racism is a close second-to-last. Those who would cry racism in this case forget that Barry’s latest public embarrassment is just that – his latest, and not his only, public embarassment.
It should be noted that charges that Barry was stalking his former girlfriend were dropped, and that the legal side of the dispute appears to be an overreaction to a private situation. Given this, I was a little surprised that Barry didn’t resort to his tried and true defense when it comes to girlfriends who get him into hot water with the law.