Monday, December 22, 2008

Grandmother of 6 Causes Blog Rant

CHICAGO - The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
It is not clear from that sentence if the shakedown artists were wearing the wire or the grandmother was, but I’m going to assume it was the latter. Besides, I can leave the discussion of modifier placement to Bill; I’m more interested in why there is a journalistic requirement to identify a woman’s grandparental status. You will never see any of these stories in the news:
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when a mother of 4 walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of a father of two got its first big break when a grandmother of six walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown grandfathers of one each, wearing an FBI wire.
The wide-ranging public corruption probe that led to the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got its first big break when an older, childless woman walked into a breakfast meeting with shakedown artists wearing an FBI wire.
Great-grandmothers get the same standing in the press:
Great-Grandmother Uses Gasoline to Fight Off Purse Snatcher
No newsworthy status is conferred by being a mere grandfather, a meager mother, or even just a measly old woman. As near as I can determine, when a woman’s child gives birth, the woman becomes pitiably frail to the point where we are astounded that she can leave the house, let alone fight crime. No matter that a grandmother could be a healthy 40-year-old who could whip my ass if I crossed her - not that anything like that ever happened outside a bar somewhere in Cincinnati. Even if it did, grandmas get a pass. A grandma’s lack of strength and mental ability is assumed to render her immune to prosecution for crime:
A 64-year-old grandmother convicted of obstructing official business by feeding parking meters for strangers is suing the city of Cincinnati.
If an old man obstructs justice, by god, book him, Danno – and beat him up if you want, we don’t care. Just don’t hassle our grannies or we will make it public knowledge and shame you.
My wife is the mother of a childless (so far as we know) girl. Until my daughter has her own kid, my wife cannot get away with crime or even get recognized if she thwarts a bank robbery or busts a political corruption ring.
If Chelsea Clinton had a child, last month would have brought us this headline: "Obama Nominates Grandmother as Secretary of State".
Why do I care about this aura attached to grandmotheriness? Because “Elderly Woman Got Run Over By A Reindeer” would not be considered funny and that song would never have gotten on the radio and the world would be a better place.

5 comments:

Susan said...

I couldn't agree with your more and was thinking the same thing just the other day when some grandmother got arrested for something.

Susan said...

I hate typos in comments because I can't go back and correct them! I couldn't agree with YOU more.

Anonymous said...

Your are so right.

Karen

Bill Brohaugh said...

You've got it all wrong, JB. Grandmother status was not delivered because of journalistic pandering and overdramatization, but because it's an integral part of the story--part of the FBI trap. The setup you don't reveal is that the shakedown artists (as identified by their goatees, berets, and American Association of Shakedown Artists membership cards) convened to discuss the possibility of meeting with the Matron of Breakfast (also carrying a union card).

"What if she's wearing a wire?" asks Toulouse Yermony (Shakedown Artist Second Class).

"Impossible," says Jackson "Pickyer" Pollock (Shakedown Artist First Class). "She's a grandmother of six. Grandmothers of six are rarely wired. Not even after coffee. That's why they can govern breakfast meetings."

"Ah," says Toulouse. "I hadn't considered that her spawn have proven themselves fertile."

"Say . . ."

"What is it, Jackson?"

"You're not a grandmother . . ."

"Are you saying you don't trust me? I could undergo sex change."

"Oh, wait. You're a Shakedown Artist. I'm not supposed to trust you. Oh, look, here comes Grandma now. Sit down, nanna. Have a seat, but it will cost you. Not as much as a senate seat, but . . ."

"That's it, G-men! Seize them!"

"Huh? But . . . you're a grandmother of six!"

"Each one of them an FBI agent! I don't just train the FBI. I breed them."

"So, you were wired? We couldn't spot a wire. How did you . . .?"

"It's a modern world, sleazebags. These days, even Grandmas can wear thongs!"

JohnnyB said...

Bill, I'm glad that didn't end with "Hey, this isn't Granny's thong! It's a hidden microph....".