Honolulu Lite


Sunday, July 14, 2002

Awesome endorsement
was a little ‘Lite-weight’

I guess I should be flattered that a candidate for a relatively high public office would claim to have the support of a humble humor columnist, but the situation is just too scary.

Have politics gotten so bad that being endorsed by a humor columnist is a good thing? We can only pray that isn't the case. Not that I've endorsed anyone. At least not on purpose.

I wrote a column a few months ago saying how sad it was to see colleagues in the news business fall so low as to run for office. And it seemed like it was only television reporters who suffer the mysterious urge to become politicians. Former TV reporters like Jon Yoshimura, Nestor Garcia and Bob Hogue all have been afflicted.

I mentioned that former Channel 2 reporter Barbara Marshall and KGMB newscaster Jerry Drelling were considering a run for City Council. I was surprised, not because they couldn't do the job, but because they'd want it at all.

I have to tell you exactly what I said so you can appreciate what happened next. I wrote: "Of course they can do the job. Have you WATCHED the City Council lately? A monolingual Tibetan sheepherder could do the job (and NOT get indicted along the way). Marshall would be awesome on the Council. I covered courts with her years ago when her nickname was "The Sarge" because of her ability to smack judges around until they came to her way of thinking on a certain issue."

Apparently, Barbara has decided to run for the Council, because I received a copy of one of her fliers in which she quotes me saying, "Marshall would be awesome on the Council." Nothing about Tibetan sheepherders or her nickname.

I DO THINK Marshall would be awesome on the Council, but mainly for the entertainment value. She's a pretty tough customer. I'm not saying she'd body-slam a fellow committee member during debate, but for a columnist there's always hope.

So Barbara kind of pulled a quote out of context from the column and is using it to promote her candidacy. Movie promoters do that all the time. They sift through reviews that savage their films just to find a few words that will pass as praise. For instance, the reviewer might say "Halfway through this film I was ready to kill myself. By the time it ended, it's amazing the theater didn't look like the Jim Jones Temple after everyone drank the poisoned Kool-Aid!" On the movie poster, the only part of the review that's printed are the words: "It's amazing!"

Considering my quote, I wondered about the several others that appeared in Barbara's flier. One guy was quoted as saying of Marshall: "I believe you are the most credible member of the press corps." Maybe the next line was: "Considering what a pack of weasels the press corps is, that's not saying much."

I'm kidding. I like Barbara. But I don't endorse candidates for office. Not because of any columnists' oath or anything, but out of consideration for the candidates. Everyone I've ever supported or suggested would win has historically been crushed like a bug. My endorsement is the political kiss of death. In fairness to Barbara, I should point out that I think her opponents also would make awesome Council members. There, now everyone's doomed.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

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