I was somewhat taken aback last week by the latest column from Greater Baton Rouge Business Report publisher and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s
boyfriend BFF Rolfe McCollister.
In it, McCollister vehemently decries the actions of “kissing Congressman” Vance McAllister, and all but rends his clothes and gnashes his teeth as he bemoans the Republican outsider making Louisiana a national punchline.
Given Louisiana’s rich history of philandering officials, McAllister’s misdeed is more of a callback than an actual punchline.
“The political class in Washington had scarcely finished having a good laugh about Louisiana’s ex-con ex-governor running for Congress,” McCollister states, “when out pops another knee-slapper – Vance McAllister, the ‘kissing Congressman.’ Just what we need.”
Now that’s the kind of insightful political commentary that makes Business Report’s $2.75 cover price a goddam bargain.
However, considering what’s been going on at the State Capitol over the past couple weeks, McCollister’s insistence that the leaked, grainy footage of McAllister kissing his female staffer has made our state the laughingstock of the nation seems rather intellectually dishonest. It’s almost as if he’s simply carrying the water for his
paramour good friend in the Governor’s Mansion by essentially parroting Jindal’s statement on the situation.
Yes, a family-values-touting, Duck-Dynasty-endorsed, married Republican with five kids getting caught kissing an employee – who happens to be the wife of a friend – is going to generate its fair share of laughs and embarrassment, but let me offer a little perspective for the obviously GOP-bubble-bound McCollister.
At the same time Kissgate was generating fallout and causing McCollister to stroke out with shame, two-thirds of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted to keep an unconstitutional anti-sodomy law on the books, one senator fought to defend “the legitimate sport of chicken boxing,” and a tome that declares shrimp, crab, and crawfish as “unclean” was proposed as the state’s official book. All that, plus legislators – once again – made sure residents of a state with drive-thru daiquiri shops are protected from the evils of wine ice cream.
Yet McCollister dedicated half of his biweekly column to tell us how ashamed we should be to have someone like McAllister representing our awesome state in D.C.
If he’s so concerned with politicians making Louisiana “the butt of national jokes,” you’d think McCollister would be just as (if not more) upset by the ass-clownery going on at the State Capitol. Trust me, even an amateur jokester can get a hell of a lot more comedic mileage out of “chicken boxing” than a seasoned pro could ever dream of getting from a Louisiana politician kissing someone of the opposite sex.
The number of headlines generated by McAllister’s kiss are dwarfed by those circulating as a result of our state legislators’ idiotic actions.
In my professional opinion, given Louisiana’s rich history of philandering officials, McAllister’s misdeed is more of a callback than an actual punchline.
Meanwhile, I dare say that the number of headlines generated by McAllister’s kiss are dwarfed by those circulating as a result of our state legislators’ idiotic actions. If only there were some quick, inexpensive, nonpartisan method for quantifying the buzz generated by various topics …
Aha! Google! When all else fails, Google it!
Here are the number of hits Google returns (at the time of this writing) for each of the following sets of search terms:
“Louisiana sodomy law” – 420,000
“Vance McAllister kiss” – 619,000
“Louisiana chicken boxing” – 10,600,000
“Louisiana wine ice cream” – 97,400,000
“Louisiana official state book Bible” – 141,000,000
Granted, using Google hits may not be the perfect metric for measuring national buzz, but short of conducting a Pew Research poll, it’s a pretty effective method for comparing the relative legs of different stories.
Furthermore, I feel quite safe in assuming that only a negligible percentage of the 10 million-plus “Louisiana chicken boxing” hits are links to pro-chicken-boxing posts.
Therefore, it would appear that state Sen. Elbert Guillory’s vehement defense of “the legitimate sport of chicken boxing” before a Senate Judiciary Committee is 17 times more embarrassing than the congressman’s canoodling.
For that matter, I’d go so far as saying that Gov. Jindal and state Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere demanding McAllister resign – less than seven years after they were deafeningly silent in the wake of U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s prostitution scandal – is just as disgraceful and hypocritical as McAllister’s infidelity. But still, it’s no chicken boxing.
McCollister’s column is a perfect illustration that what plays among political hacks very seldom plays in Peoria.
They say comedy should be left to the professionals. I guess the same could be said for gauging what is genuinely punchline-worthy.
McCollister’s column is a perfect illustration that what plays among political hacks very seldom plays in Peoria. There’s a reason Steve Doocy is on Fox News instead of Comedy Central.
While many people in Louisiana, particularly in McAllister’s district, seem to be disappointed in the man, most of them have expressed forgiveness. Only a few – like Jindal, Villere, and McCollister – are insisting he step down, probably because McAllister defeated their
puppet candidate, Neil Riser, last year.
Then again, maybe McCollister just doesn’t want to talk about that whole chicken boxing thing because he’s afraid of alienating the state GOP’s black friend. Or maybe he can’t wait for McAllister to go away because his name sounds too much like “McCollister.” I don’t really know.
Whatever the case, I’d hate to think a respected, independent publisher would let Jindal put words – or anything else, for that matter – in his mouth.