Monday, July 28, 2008

Why always New Jersey?

Neil Cohen, once the liberal champion for all liberal causes in NJ, has resigned. The guy who every year wanted to set the beaches free from the requirement of a beach pass resigned this morning, effective immediately. When there are allegations of child porn on your office computer, I guess 'resignation' is the next step.

It’s a slow news summer, so, unfortunately, this news will play around the country’s local news outlets on the same page with sidebars re-covering NJ’s gay governor as well the Corzine/Katz email incident. I am sure that stand-up comedians over the next few weeks will use this information as grist for their comedy mills.

So, why is it always New Jersey? I don’t know. I am from New York, and I chose to live in the ‘burbs of Hunterdon County just about twenty years ago. I did not choose Flemington, as much it chose me. But the whole New Jersey jokes thing may have begun when Ben Franklin said, "New Jersey is like a beer barrel, tapped at both ends, with all the live beer running into Philadelphia and New York." Not funny now, but back in 1776 that line killed.

Sometimes Franklin would tour taverns around the colonies with Jefferson on the violin. He even made fat jokes about John Adams.

This is an actual line from the Federalist Papers, but rejected at the 1789 convention: : "The Adams from Massachusetts is so fat [then the Congress would yell out 'how fat is he?']....that he should have his own constitution!" Bada bing!

So, Ben, thanks for electricity, the pot bellied stove, the Farmers Almanac, and ----initiating the jokes about New Jersey.


Anonymous said...

I don't find the scale of corruption this state has to be a laughing matter. The book "The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption" by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure has a quote from Dr Larry J Sabato. It says:

New Jersey is arguably America’s most corrupt state, and it is not an achievement to be proud of, as Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure starkly demonstrate. Only the people of the Garden State can stop the jokes—both the ones elected to office and the ones told about the crooked truth of political life there.

But let's face it... that isn't going to ever happen.

I have lived in five different states and had short term residences in many more. I can assure you this is the worst.

Thanks for the blog, it has been enjoyable coming here to comment.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the fact that Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure malign an entire ethnic group with the name of their book by casting Italians as the only people who are corrupt I guess is not an issue.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

It is incredible to me that you care more about the title of the book offending people than you are about the REAL crimes taking place here.

Had you read the book you would realize it has little to do with Italian mobs and more to do with the corrupt politicians.

But of course... Calling NJ the "Soprano" state is more offensive to you than the graft and corruption that surrounds you.

I will never understand your mindset and quite frankly I hope I never do. It is symbolic of the disease this state has.

Anonymous said...

What compels you to think that I care more about the name of the book than I do about corruption in the state?

Cannot one be concerned with both issues?

Ingle's book is so titled to catch the eye of the potential buyer, by taking advantage of the association with the HBO series, which happens to take place in NJ. The title is for marketing purposes only and does not enlighten anyone to the issue of corruption.

The state definately has both a history and current problem with individuals who are drawn to government who are not the most trustworthy or ethical. That is a fact.

Anonymous said...

Well... I noticed you did not comment on the corruption, just the name of the book. Therefore your appear more concerned about offending someone than you were about the actual crime.

The Sicilian mafia (La Cosa Nostra) does exist in New Jersey. Surprise!!! So do the the Chinese (the Tongs and Triads), Japanese (Yakuza) and the Russians(Mafiya or Red Mafia). However the largest and still the most organized is the Cosa Nostra, right?

If you checked out the NJ State Commission of Investigation website on Organized Crime here: and read just some of the reports you would probably be less worried about the name of the book and more about what is really going on.

But like I said... that isn't going to happen. I know many people here in NJ that are more outraged over ridiculous things (such as the name of a book) than the really outrageous things going on.

It is disheartening and I do not understand the mindset.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the issues are not dichotomous. Agreed, there is an issue of corruption in NJ.

And there is organized crime in NJ. However, you would have to agree that just because some members of organized crime are of Italian heritage---that does not give Bob Ingle clear license to malign all Italians.

Once again, the title does nothing to illuminate the issue. All it is used for is a marketing device, and nothing more.