Mother knows best

Clay Aiken, the Raleigh native famous for being an American Almost-Idol, used his Web site to offer some thoughts on the recent election that dramatically altered the makeup of the Wake County school board. Here is Clay’s analysis, in its entirety:

What happened to Wake County Schools?!?1 Now that i have a kid i am so much more invested and I am EXTREMELY disappointed that so many selfish idiots ran and won seats on the school board. i hope we can get rid of them as soon as possible before they ruin my school system. Idiots.

Yes, why tinker with a school system that can instill such critical thinking skills, not to mention a free-spirited approach to grammar, in its students? (I wonder which of Clay’s local English teachers would like to take credit for showing him how to alternate question marks and exclamation points for emphasis?) But I digress. The more pertinent question is, Why did Clay’s comment end up on the front page of the News & Observer last week? Editor John Drescher later explained the rationale:

The front page should be a lively mix of stories including traditional news as well as stories on the arts, religion, culture and sports.

There’s a place too for stories of humor, quirkiness and inspiration. Some stories should make the front page simply because people will talk about the story, what we call a “talker.”

That was the case with the Aiken story.

But as Drescher noted, even Clay’s mother thought it was a bad call:

Among those objecting was Aiken’s mother, Faye Parker.

“I find it so interesting that you and your reporters waste time on the opinion of others that are posted on a private site,” Parker, who lives in Wake County, wrote in an e-mail. “If Clay Aiken was not a celebrity, would you give a ‘hoot’ about his opinion?”

I’ve got to go with Mom on this matter. Most celebrity utterances should be ignored. Being famous is not the same thing as being smart, insightful, thoughtful or helpful. Political comments of the same fine quality as Aiken’s are routinely made by dozens of average citizens on the N&O’s Web site every day. But the paper doesn’t highlight them on the front page (thank God).

Besides, Drescher himself inadvertently revealed the soft underbelly of his argument. The story was indeed a “talker” — but by his account, it was because “riled” readers “didn’t think the story belonged on the front page.”

In other words, what was most being talked about was the N&O’s bad judgment. Not the kind of “talker” Drescher had in mind, I imagine.

25 Responses to “Mother knows best”

  1. Jim Says:

    i can’t BELIEVE this!?!?!

  2. In The Arena Says:

    My mother says I shouldn’t read WAW because it ridicules the simpletons who take their time at the N&O’s website, unpaid as a Gearino in the wind, to educate the masses. I told her it was like reading Hustler, only without the pictures. Then she made the astute observation that it was the only place where a pontificating numb nuts could use the term milf while calling Deborah a narcissist. Once again, ya got me Ma, touche’.

  3. Then he Says:

    What exactly is a MILF anyway?

  4. BP Says:

    “What exactly is a MILF?”

    Google it, but make sure no spouses or children are in the room.

  5. NotThatImportant Says:

    Interesting, my momma told me that there is a distinct difference between the excessive love and total fascination with oneself and judging the physical attributes of another. While she doesn’t condone either, she explains one hasn’t much to do with the other.

    She says criticism of someone for ridiculing or belittling others before labeling them numb nuts might be called hypocrisy.

  6. John Says:

    My mom told me, “John”, she called me John, “Always - or is that never? It’s never. Never attempt to make a left turn across more than one lane of oncoming traffic without the benefit of a red light!”

    Damned if she wasn’t correct too. Of course I had to learn the hard way. T-boned a Ford Aerostar. Got my insurance cancelled and everything.

    She also said “sustain your tumesence and keep your powder dry” and “If you can’t trust a trustee, who can you trust?”

    The latter was uttered more out of personal frustration on her part, and the former I think she heard in a war movie. Good advice it was though. Never underestimate the value of dry powder.

    Or is that always underestimate…?

  7. Locomotive Breath Says:

    My wife and I have been on vacation for 10 days and have just returned. In talking to the neighbors, we found that the N&O had not heeded our order to stop the paper while we were gone and had continued delivering. Fortunately for us, the neighbors picked up the papers thereby denying the crooks the public announcement that we were away from home.

    My wife just got done talking to the person in the call center in India and is even madder. She’s finally agreed to not renew when the current subscription expires. Hallelujah!

    But I myself will miss the hard hitting front page stories describing Clay Aiken’s deep thoughts about school busing in WCPSS. The N&O was so completely on one side of that issue, they’re still sucking sour grapes that the N&O’s influence is waning and the public went the other way. Too bad they didn’t have Clay’s big gun to pull out BEFORE the election. Might have made a difference.

  8. In The Arena Says:

    NIT, Loco just said something bad about the N&O! Go get him tiger. His implications and unsubstantiated assertions await your in-depth ridicule. And don’t let your hard hitting analysis of his right wing wife escape the depth of your rationalizations.

  9. G.D. Gearino Says:

    Fellas, fellas … why can’t we all just get a bong?

  10. Locomotive Breath Says:

    Cause I got a turkey instead.

  11. John Says:

    I got a morning-after Thanksgiving food hangover.

    I remember Gearino blogged on the subject a few years back. A real pity-party it was. “My stomach hurts! I got the runs! I don’t feel pretty right now. Waaaaa. Waaaa.”

    Well G. Dan, I can relate - except for the “runs” part. Real men never admit they get the runs. I been puking my guts out and farting like a howitzer. There. That’s how a dude complains about an upset stomach.

    Speaking of real men, I clicked on the hyperlink to Clay Aikens’ blog. I didn’t know it was possible to write gay, but Clay is sure as hell giving it the old college try. How many times can a grown man use the word “SOOOOO” in one blog? I thought I was reading an excerpt from Barbie’s vacation diary for a minute.

    I admit his publicist butched him up pretty good for the picture atop the blog. I can almost imagine him holding a power tool or the draft list for his fantasy football league. Nah. More than likely, some frew-frew dog dressed in a sweater was sitting in his lap.

    Why are gay men so freaking predictable? And why do I know SOOOOOO much about them?

    You Carolinians have a curious relationship with your favorite son.

  12. John Says:

    You want favorite sons? Take a gander at those produced by my adopted home state: Georgia. The Peach State. The Thirteenth Colony.

    Ray Charles
    Lester Maddox
    Button Gwinnett
    Johnny Mercer
    Dan Gearino (blatant suck up on my part)
    Will Rokos (another suck up - kinda - nobody really knows who he is though - he’s sort of anti-famous)
    Susan Hayward
    Jimmy Carter
    James Brown - Goood Gawd!
    Herschel Walker
    Little Richard - was gay when gay was happy

  13. John Says:

    So the N&O farmed their support responsibilities out to India too. Soon the Punjab will be the Silicon Valley of Customer Service.

    I can hear the CSR now.

    “Oh, Missus Locomotive Breath! On behalf of my employer and benefactor, The Raleigh News & Observer, a wholly owned subsidiary of the McClatchey Group, I must apologize profusely for our egregious blunder! Praise to the gods that no harm came to your personal possessions.”

    “I am observing that your subscription is approaching termination. May I presume your intention to renew for another period of one year at our “preferred customer” rate?”

    “I’ll take that as a declination then. And certainly, there’s no need for your hostility. May the sunshine of good fortune be pumped up your skirt and thank you for calling the News & Observer Customer Service!”

  14. pungoriver Says:

    To John - I was in agreement with your list right up to Jimmy Carter.

    As to Mr. (or Ms.) Aiken, bad timing for that article to appear on the front page. I received my subscriber renewal invoice from the N&O the same day. These folks want me to pay $195 per year to have that kind of drivel delivered to my door? I suspect that home delivery of newspapers will go the way of home milk delivery.

  15. John Says:

    I was trying to come up with a list of North Carolina favorite sons. The pickins are a bit slim when compared to Georgia.

    Alexander Julian
    Michael Jordan
    Mike Krzesfgwen[fhgekski - no wait he’s a transplant
    The aforementioned Clay Aiken
    Buffalo Bob Smith - Howdy Doodie’s dad
    Mike Nifong

    This ain’t even close. The ref just invoked the mercy rule.

  16. John Says:

    On the advice of counsel, I amend my question “Why are gay men so freaking predictable” to Why are flamboyant gay men so freaking predictable?”

    I guess reasonable people can agree to disagree on Clay’s degree of flamboyance or flamiosity. Damn, I may be digging myself in deeper here.

    On a one-to-ten flamboyance scale scale, with one being Tab Hunter - that’s right, Tab plays for the other side - and ten being Liberace (a great showman), I’d put ol’ Clay solidly in the 6.5 to 7.5 range - somewhere between Merv Griffin and Boy George.

    Pungoriver, Jimmy Carter seems to have that affect on everybody.

  17. pungoriver Says:

    John, as to your NC Most Favorite Sons, you forget other such notables:

    Jim Black
    Meg Scott Phipps
    Frank Ballance
    Thomas Wright
    Jimmy Green ( former Lt Gov for you all transplants)
    Mike “Weasley” Easley
    Bill Campbell ( former Atlanta Mayor and convicted felon)

    Oops, I’m sorry wong list, this is NC Most Wanted Sons

  18. Locomotive Breath Says:

    pungoriver (and help me Lord, I know where the Pungo River is) you forgot Mike Nifong.

  19. pungoriver Says:

    LB - please forgive the omission of the esteemed Mr. Nifong (formally esquire.) He truly deserves to be on the list. May I also amend the list to include all those (Rick Watson, et al) who helped sell the Randy Pardon Theater to the officials and citizens in Roanoke Rapids.

    BTW, if you know where the Pungo River is, then you may be familiar with Belhaven. It’s not at the end of the earth, but you can see it from there.

  20. Locomotive Breath Says:

    What’s really bad is I know the difference between Pungo, NC and Pungo, VA. I grew up in Norfolk and live in Raleigh. Belhaven, Chocowinity, (little) Washington, Edenton, etc. All fascinating places. The actual end of the earth is Knotts Island which is in NC but only accessible from VA.

  21. pungoriver Says:

    Careful down east, don’t call it “little” Washington. The indigenous population refers to it as the “original” Washington.
    Some folks are a touchy about that.

  22. Locomotive Breath Says:

    Yep - that’s why I put it in parenthesis.

  23. NotThatImportant Says:


    Sorry, I was out of town and decided to take a break from WAW as well. Had I known this subject was going to cause John to suffer diarrhea of the keyboard, I would have tuned in. John, you may deny having runs of the of the stool, but evidence of the verbal squirts is all above this post.

    Actually, I read Loco’s note the day he posted it. I didn’t respond because Loco had a legitimate beef and posted it without factual error or conspiracy theories. It was a pretty fair complaint. And I think he should cancel his subscription, it’s apparent he doesn’t read that paper anyway.

  24. Locomotive Breath Says:

    I’ve got NotThatPotent’s endorsement of a post. I feel so validated. I’m cracking open the champagne right now.

  25. Locomotive Breath Says:

    And the N&O doubles down on their stupidity. Do they really think they have readers who care?

    “Clay Aiken’s vote in Wake to be reviewed”