Monday, July 26, 2004

Springer's Talent Agency

In my grad school days, sometime after the lunchtime foosball tournament had come to its conclusion, and shortly after I would go back to my office and stare at some article that might as well have been written in Chinese, and following the nap I would take after going home because the Chinese script made me tired, I would sometimes, very rarely you understand, turn on the TV.  (So much of an admission among the educated set is really rather a confession - not one grad school chum in my days of Minnesota would bring up a TV show in discussion without the preface - "I don't watch TV often, but the other night ..."  I heard that expression so often that one day I even consulted (in great fear you understand) the grad school handbook to check if there was an explicit policy that habitual TV watchers would have their funding yanked.) 

So there I would be, flipping through channels, and like a passerby attracted to a train wreck, I would invariably stop at Jerry Springer.  Mouth agape in horror, mind racing through existential questions of meaning, eyes transfixed, there in solitude I would struggle with striking the correct emotional response to the carnival of human folly on display.  Once the shock would pass, and I'd move on to other pursuits, the questions would creep back into my mind: how does he find these people?  In what sewers do they dwell?  How, in the most prosperous nation in the civilized world, does an entire class of barbarians manage to grow like a weed?  Like my dissertation question, try as I did with all of the intellectual power I could muster, I could find no satisfactory answer.  Until now.

You want to know how Jerry Springer does it?  He directly subsidizes the creation of the underclass that serves as the actors on his stage:

CINCINNATI, July 22 (UPI) -- Talk show host Jerry Springer, a delegate at the National Democratic Convention, has contributed more than $500,000 to Democratic causes, it was reported.  Springer, a former Cincinnati mayor, has been a generous and vocal supporter of the Democratic party, with donations totaling at least $550,250, the Cincinnati Enquirer said Thursday after examining federal, state and city election reports since 1990.
Springer made 95 percent of the contributions since 1999, when he first considered running for U.S. Senate against Mike DeWine.

The controversial talk show host also has contributed his time to speak at fundraisers, paying his own expenses.  Because of his generosity, Ohio House Minority Leader Chris Redfern, who led John Edwards' campaign in Ohio, rewarded Springer with an at-large John Edwards delegate slot at next week's National Democratic Convention.  Edwards is slated to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee.  Springer's support also earned him "Democrat of the Year" honors at the party's state dinner in May.


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