Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Selena's Comparison

In her screed against the lacrosse team in Sunday’s New York Times, Selena Roberts described the prosecution in the following manner:

The North Carolina attorney general’s office—which took over the Duke lacrosse case in the winter from Michael B. Nifong, one part district attorney, one part clueless Columbo—denied any decision [to drop the case] was imminent.

How did the AG’s office take over the case? Roberts never says. That the Bar charged Nifong with engaging in “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” and conspiring to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence? Roberts doesn’t mention it.

How, instead, does she describe Nifong? “One part district attorney, one part clueless Columbo.” Columbo, played by Peter Falk, “put on a good show of being dim-witted so that the criminals and even his colleagues would be more at ease around him”; he was the “deceptively bumbling” lieutenant who used his appearance as the fool to solve the crime.

So, in describing Nifong as “one part clueless Columbo” and withholding any mention of the ethics charges against the district attorney, was Roberts intending to remind readers that, each week on TV, Columbo deliberately used his “clueless” nature to solve the crime?

Or was she just using a sloppy comparison?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Columbo was a genius who went around pretending to be an idiot.

Nifong is an idiot who goes around pretending to be a genius.

Anonymous said...

Come on KC. Roberts is no intellectual giant. She did not think much about the metaphors she was using.

Anonymous said...

TO 11:13

Well said!

Jim said...

11:13 AM. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Selena is the one who is obviously "clueless."

jim2 said...

11:13

YES!

Roberts is an idiot who goes around making that truth self-evident.

michael said...

re: 11:16

That's for sure. Check out her bio.

Selena Roberts Bio

wayne fontes said...

Roberts comparison was very apt in one respect. The criminals in Columbo were invariably rich, white and powerful. In my recall a couple of episodes featured "privileged white athletes". Hootie Johnson would have made a perfect character on that show.

I'm probably giving too much credit to Roberts. More likely the Columbo analogy is the bird brained frothing of another carrier pigeon of feminism.

Anonymous said...

I wish Selena Roberts would stop pretending to be a sports writer. Does she ever report a story without some perceived social injustice attributed to athletes? Really, her angle is so predictable that her one trick pony show has become really tiresome.

Anonymous said...

She must be pretty good to get the pajamahadeen in such a tizzy!

you go girl!

Anonymous said...

What's all the more ironic is that even though Roberts does not disclose that the the AG's office took over the case because of ethics charges against Nifong, the PHOTOGRAPH that she or someone at Times chose to illustrate the piece was of Nifong sitting at a table at State Bar headquarters reviewing the ethics complaint that the Bar had filed against him!

Anonymous said...

TO: 12:04

What is a pajamahadeen?

Thanks.

TombZ said...

C'mon folks, you have to admit she's a perfect fit for the NY Times.

Today was a bad day for me to consider resubscribing.

Anonymous said...

12:04 - great logic - with thinkin' like that you must be a Wymyn Studies major. Hope you find work...

Anonymous said...

JLS says....

re: anon 11:13

I only saw a few Columbo's in reruns, but you put it perfectly.

As for this writer, she probably has followed this case very little. She has a point of view and as I have said here before, the `"rape Nazis" are like sports fans on the internet site. They don't want to hear the truth, they want to hear the positive side for their team and that is all they pay attention to. So I am sure she would be shocked by the analogy, but she is just like a sports fan or even a cheerleader for a particular point of view and not a journalist or even a reseasonable columnist on this.

becket03 said...

It's offensive as hell that Roberts tries to minimize Nifong's misuse of office by calling it merely "clueless."

Nifong was deeply engaged in using the powers of District Attorney to secure an election -- his own! He wasn't bumbling around making naive mistakes, he was actively seeking to curry favor with an important voting block, and committing serious ethical, possibly criminal, violations in the process.

Roberts has minor talent. She's a sports writer who doesn't even grasp her own milieu, popular culture, well enough to realize the total inappropriateness of the Columbo metaphor. The New York Times likes her because she can be counted on to toe the politically correct line. The "paper of (always tendentious) record" has an overabundance of these dweebs, hence its precipitous decline in recent decades.

beckett

Anonymous said...


Roberts comparison was very apt in one respect. The criminals in Columbo were invariably rich, white and powerful. In my recall a couple of episodes featured "privileged white athletes". Hootie Johnson would have made a perfect character on that show.


It should be remembered that TV is very much entertainment for the working classes and low brow people.

The notion that rich and privileged people (the elites) are all criminals of the worst sort resonates well with the working classes (having grown up in a working class family I know the mentality well).

The MSM reinforces these stereotypes because they help keep people glued to their TVs and buying their newspapers ...

scott said...

So, in describing Nifong as “one part clueless Columbo” and withholding any mention of the ethics charges against the district attorney, was Roberts intending to remind readers that, each week on TV, Columbo deliberately used his “clueless” nature to solve the crime? Or was she just using a sloppy comparison?

A commenter on another thread mentioned that Roberts tends to favor the use of alliteration in her writing. To the point that she uses really poor choices in phrasing to get the alliterative effect she thinks is stylish, but really just demonstrates that she has a long way to go in the wordsmithing department.

This is just another example. "Clueless Columbo" as it relates to Nifong is about as oxymoronic as it gets. As a character, Columbo was as honest as they come and only faked being clueless as his method to solve every crime. While Nifong, as we know, faked everything, didn't come close to solving the crime (since there wasn't any), and on an honesty scale of 1 to 10, is somewhere in negative numbers territory.

Roberts could try another device to try to stand out from the media crowd. No matter what she does, however, I will always picture her as one part hack journalist, one part Silly Selena.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet she meant to compare Nifong to a "clueless Clouseau". It's a more fitting comparison then Columbo.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times likes her because she can be counted on to toe the politically correct line. The "paper of (always tendentious) record" has an overabundance of these dweebs, hence its precipitous decline in recent decades.

I guess you mean Fox Noise's?