Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ken Pringle: Comedian or misogynist racist?

Mayor Kenneth Pringle of Belmar, who last week appeared on the beach with Corzine, Pallone, Lautenberg and Menendez to oppose off shore drilling because they think it threatens the NJ shore tourism industry, has issued a newsletter to Belmar summer renters the can hardly make them feel welcome.

Pringle's, Belmar Summer Rental News makes fun of stereotypical Italian American men, "Guidos", women from Staten Island, "SI Girls" and women with blond hair, "blonds".

Pringle insists the newsletter is tongue in cheek. More like head in ass, Ken.

This is the same Mayor Pringle who last summer pressed charges against a Belmar renter who hit on him after mistaking him for a woman.


Franklin Pierce said...

Belmar is one of those towns that hates tourists, yet courts them. I'm in Point Pleasant Beach. Come spend your money here. It's one thing to treat the bennys who are rude and trashy like trash, but if you hate them all, regardless, then maybe you shouldn't be mayor of a beach town. Maybe go run for mayor of Union City. said...

Let's wait to see if Ken apologizes to Italians like me for the "Guido" comment before we pass judgment. I'm going to give him some time to do so.

On another note - anyone feeling unwelcomed in Belmar or anyother beach town - feel free to make your way over to Asbury Park.

AP is amazing this summer. Must have had 12,000 people at the fireworks Independence Day (best fireworks in NJ. 45 minutes, no stopping, with patriotic music blasted down the 7 southern blocks of boardwalk).

Lots of stuff to do in AP this summer. Many shops and restaurants are open on the boardwalk right now.

By end of summer there will be 40 year round shops and restaurants opened on the boardwalk.

The Downtown shopping is fantastick these days.

Concerts (music of all types)-Opera - plays - poetry readings - film festivals - art shows.

Also glad to mention - High School Football - State Champs. Pop Warner Football - NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!

Come check it out. I promise you'll love it.

Anonymous said...

Well, nobody's perfect. In regards to those young 20-something "Guidos" I'll admit I don't hold a favorable personal opinion of how their appearance and the way they act.

But if I held a position for public office I'd keep my personal opinions to myself and just put up with what the tourists do as long as they don't break any laws. After all it isn't like the so-called "Guidos'" money isn't green.

reverendflash said...

I read the newsletter and thought it was funny and completely appropriate considering the legendary way the renters there infamously behave. It's a shame that, once again, we have to watch someone apologize for exercising his free speech rights thanks to a general public who have never been known for having a real sense of humor or even a basic grasp of wit.
- Reverend Flash
P.S. I'm half Italian. said...


He could have made his point about rowdy tourists without the ethnic slur.

In fact, it would have been more effective without the slur.

For more on prejudice against Italians, please click the link below:

Anonymous said...

Hey Yo my name is Tony & I think that if the mayor wnats he should tro on a fish net shirt & spike up his hair & get ready to do some fist pumpin in da club. said...


100 to one odds your name isn't Tony.

1000 to one odds I have better diction than you.

You racist bastard.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would agree with democrat pringlr.
the best thing that could happen to Nj would be if they closed all the bridges and tunnels out of NY.
I do not judge anyone by race or ethnicity but new yorkers of any stripe are another story

Guido is no longer is an ethnic slur and it has not been for 20 year I knew blonde Germanic guy an irish guy and a couple of jewish guys in college who were guidos. Guido is an attitude and it is rude crude and distastful. Pringle is wise to discourage them from visiting Belmar.

Justified right you are a little thin skinned aren't you.

Son of Liberty

eric pairs said...

excerpted from

I know something about tourists and living in a tourist town, and something about the fact that, even in a tourist town, not every resident--and not even the town as a whole, in every aspect--is willing to consider all the antics of tourists as just the price of attracting their dollars. Some few of us don’t give a damn about their dollars. We’d rather have our town back. And while I haven’t been able to read Mayor Pringle’s exact words, I know a couple of other things, too.

I know that our society in the United States has grown ignorant and much too intolerant of anything not politically correct while, at the same time, becoming much too eager to attack others for any perceived slight.

I’m not familiar with the term “Guido” as Pringle apparently used it. I’m not even familiar with it as an ethnic slur, and I’m hard pressed to find any reason that people of Italian heritage could believe that it was directed at them, given the context of Pringle’s comments. Maybe some Italians are just too eager to play the victim.

Now, I am familiar with the use of “blonde” as a slur. Is there anyone over the age of ten who hasn’t made a “blonde” joke? As for girls from Staten Island, is it possible that the normal competition that I hear exists between New York and New Jersey is the bigger reason why Pringle’s comments were considered offensive? I don’t know; I’m just sayin’.

I grew up in a neighborhood and went to school with Wops, Micks, Pollacks, Krauts, and even a few Wetbacks and Slant-Eyes. I myself, was and have been, a cheap, Sheenie Bastard Kike and White Trash--among other things. I don’t even mention a fairly common term for the black kids I grew up with, because if a white guy even thinks the word these days, he is immediately hung or shot on the spot; and I wanted to finish my comments before I die.

Doesn’t anyone remember learning that, while sticks and stones might break their bones, words could never hurt them? Look, I know I'm simplifying the issues. I know that words can hurt. I know that tone, intent, and timing are important factors when using politically incorrect speech; and I know that, even when delivered with love among real friends, off-color speech can serve to promote and exacerbate prejudice and stereotypical thinking. But I also know that each one of us can become a better person if we learn to be less sensitive to painful words and ideas expressed by other people.

Tolerance and sensitivity are not just ideals to be practiced in the way we treat people and speak about them. They are also concepts to be exercised when we are the ones being treated or talked about. In fact, learning to “take it” with patience and a sense of humor--even when the words are not delivered in an innocent or well-meaning way--is a much more beneficial and honest endeavor than worrying super-sensitively about every little thing we say or do. Every one of us acts thoughtlessly at times, and no one of us can anticipate every possible slight that might be perceived in our actions. The one thing we can (almost) always control is our own reaction. Lighten up. And please, look for the bigger picture.

Concerning the big picture, here’s a couple more things I know:

1) The recent New Yorker cover depicting the Obamas was widely misunderstood.

2) There are still people in our society that believe Huck Finn should be banned.

3) The current ignorance and widespread illiteracy that permeate our society frequently threaten some old, honorable forms of expression--and maybe much more.

If the people who objected to the New Yorker cover could have controlled their jerking knees long enough to think about or investigate the meaning, they might be richer for the experience. The same is true of those who would ban Huck Finn. In both cases, the creators of the works wanted to expose the prejudice that seems apparent on the surface of the works as well as entertain. Satire and irony are intended to shock as a first reaction. That is a large part of their value as artistic tools; but those tools, to be most effective, also depend on the viewer being educated and thoughtful enough to see beyond the surface. Those are skills that are disappearing from our society. Mayor Pringle and his blog--which I understand was quite popular and helpful--are just the latest victims.

Franklin Pierce said...

Well, Eric, you're a riot: "And while I haven’t been able to read Mayor Pringle’s exact words..." I'll have no problem blabbing on and on about how they were just fine and it's really America's fualt for being a crappy country. Hahahhaha. Nice. Bad behavior is one thing. The attitude that no one who doesn't live there year 'round -- or who is the worng color, creed, or ethnic background -- is welcome, is quite another. Let them raise your taxes a few grand to make up for the lost revenue, and see how happy you are. If this was a town like, say, the Hamptons, everyone would be outraged. Belmar has a chip on its shoulder, if you ask me. What's there other than Windmill hotdogs? There's a reason Lake Como didn't want to be associated any more. This mayor should just admit it's a lame joke. He'd get away with that.

eric pairs said...

You know, Franklin, maybe you know something about Belmar that I don’t. In fact, I don’t know anything about the town or it’s general attitude toward tourists. I just read a few articles about what happened there and thought the events illustrated a trend I’ve noticed in our society; but I’m having some trouble finding anything in your comment that is relevant to the point I was making. I think you might be one of the people I was writing about. There’s some irony--you calling yourself Franklin. Old Ben must groan every time you speak.

Franklin Pierce said...

You said you didn't read what he said. Also hilarious you don't know who Franklin PIERCE is. Not Ben Franklin. I don't want to turn the blog into a back-and-forth. I just think if you're going to post, read what you're posting about -- the full, direct quote, without any ellipses -- no matter who the person is. It jumps out at me that you state you didn't read it, then wax on about it.

Eric Pairs said...

Well gee, Franklin, this is sure swell fun, but I’m beginning to think we’re not going to spend alternating holidays visiting each others homes.

I’ll accept that, for reasons not yet clear to me, your intention is to be linked with the former president whom history has labeled as one of the least effective; but with his father a Revolutionary War soldier named Benjamin, it seems the Ben Franklin connection is still alive and--you’ve got to admit--more provocative and more pertinent to the central theme of my article than a reference to the president--or do you still not see what I was saying?

Let me clear something up because I think my point is important. I’m not a geek. I was unable to access Mayor Pringle’s actual blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I thought it important to report that fact. However, I did read several articles about the offending blog, and I haven’t seen anything that indicates that my understanding of the Mayor’s comments is inaccurate. No one, including you, has tried to make that case; and anyway, regardless of whether I got the full dose of Pringle’s venom or possess a full knowledge of the friction between locals and tourists on the East Coast, none of that invalidates MY point.

In this age of political correctness, we focus too much on HOW something is said, at the expense of WHAT is said; and we have absolutely no sense of humor about it.

So now adverse reaction to Pringle’s comments has ended his blog, which many tourists and residents alike found entertaining and informative. It really doesn’t matter whether his comments are revelatory of some deep-seated prejudice or just a joke gone bad, as you suggested. The more important question is, NOW how are the tourists going to know which day is trash pickup?

Franklin Pierce said...

I understand your points now that you explain them, but at first glance it read funny and I think you can see that. Things aren't always clear when you read them, as I'm sure you know. As for poor Franklin, speaking for "History" is a tricky thing. It's not an individual. He was very, very over his head, but a tragic figure and not an evil one. I actually chose his name for his legendary boozing. You're also right about political correctness and about the lemming-like overreaction. I work in the media (no, not the eeeevil PC one) and believe me, there are templates of what to say for any given story. It's like madlibs.

So, there, we do agree on some things -- not least of which is the awesomeness of Franklin (Benjamin, not Pierce) and the lameness of Franklin (Piece not Franklin). I just found what you said funny and I am prone to the snarky comment.

Peace be with you, Eric.

Eric Pairs said...

Hey Franklin, I LOVE your reason for taking your name, and I think the original WAS a good man. If you get to Sedona AZ, look me up. But don’t bring everyone. The tax issue aside, life here used to be much more affordable before they named a car after us; and I’m one of those guys that would much rather my town had remained small. Ain’t life somethin’?

Franklin Pierce said...

Thanks, Eric! Same if you're ever in New Jersey -- although you probably could improve the state by bringing everyone. People move from states with high taxes, high crime, and all the other problems; then they bring those problems to their new homes with them by voting for the same kinds of politics (and politicians) who ruined their old home in the first place. Perhaps you could lobby to change Sedona's name to Edsel?