In this week’s Artvoice, the weekly paper I used to edit, there is an end-of-year survey of the type alternative weeklies publish all the time. We used to do them often when I was there, because it’s easy copy: You throw together a few questions about the year ending and the year to come, you ask for predictions and aspirations, and you email a list of local notables and hope something worth reading materializes.
The published survey includes responses from 42 people to four questions:
1. What would you most like to happen in 2017?
2.What would you like to see go away in 2017?
3. Who would you like to see run for mayor of Buffalo in next year’s election?
4. Should the new $50 million Amtrak station be at Central Terminal or Canal Side (sic)?
Of the 42 published responses, three are from women and one is from a person of color. (The latter is LeRoi Johnson, who is publisher Jamie Moses’s lawyer.) The rest are (like me) middleaged white men. You have a better chance of having your name mispelled (six instances) than you do of contributing racial or gender diversity to this crew. That’s not the fault of the respondents: None of those who answered the questionnaire could know how the final product would look.
The lack of diversity may raise an eyebrow, at best: It’s expected. Were it not for the vileness of Carl Paladino’s responses to the questions, there would be nothing to see here, and nothing to say, except maybe to crack wise about the evil of banality.
But Paladino’s answers are vile:
What he says about Barack and Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett is not funny or clever. He’s not bravely saying what other people are thinking but are afraid to say. Most people neither say nor think such vile things. It’s stone-cold hateful. Paladino serves on the City of Buffalo’s school board, which directs education policy for more than 30,000 children. He is regularly sought out by local media, as Artvoice has done here, for comment on matters of regional importance. He collects rents from government agencies. All those situations ought to end.