By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Two questions about Howie Carr’s latest

Two questions about Howie Carr’s column in today’s Boston Herald:

1. Now that everyone knows he’s an actual Republican operative, and not just a Republican-leaning pundit, why is he even allowed to call Democrats and pretend that he’s entitled to a response?

2. Carr has always had a vicious cruel streak, which undermines his considerable talent. But back in his heyday — oh, 25 years ago — did he go so far as to make reference to someone’s “worthless younger brother” and “worthless son”?

Maybe he did. But it wasn’t as noticeable because the rest of his columns were more readable back then.

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  1. Steve Stein

    Dan, I’m sure you can find such references to relatives 25 years ago. That’s been one of Howie’s main schticks for his entire career at the Herald – finding family members of connected people who hold state jobs, then making them the targets of cruel insults.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Steve: You’re right about Howie’s obsession with relatives, but “worthless”? Maybe. Would have to dig those up.

  2. Bob Gardner

    You’d have to back more than 25 years to find readable Howie Carr columns.

  3. L.K. Collins

    “…why is he even allowed to call Democrats and pretend that he’s entitled to a response?…”

    Why limit it to Democrats, Dan?

    Anyone can call anyone for anything as long as their phone number is in the public domain. Anyone can call anyone who has placed himself in the public eye.

    Why should Carr be singled out for limitation?

    …or is this just another one of your excursions
    into irrelevant–and phony–indignation?

    Oh, BTW, the recipient of the call is under no obligation to answer a question…and for that matter under no obligation to even answer the phone.

  4. ben starr

    Not a Howie Carr fan but i’d like to see some evidence that anything he says in here including the adjectives and adverbs are inaccurate.

  5. Bill Peregoy

    Dan- I have to give you a lot of credit for making the attempt to parse that collection of words that Howie calls a column. I only got to the start of paragraph 3 before my brain said “no mas” and I had to quit.

  6. Mike Benedict

    @ben: GW lived off his father’s and grandfather’s names to get into prep school and college, sluffed his way through those, shoved enough coke up his nose to fund the Columbian army, was given an oil company that he then bankrupted, was given the money to “buy” the Rangers and then sold them a few years later for a huge and unearned profit (thus funding his gubernatorial run), was handed the governor’s house and did nothing, then was handed the White House thanks to vote fraud and did nothing there either (unless you count bankrupting the world economy).

    So by that measure, “worthless” is a pretty strong label to throw at some local pol’s niece.

  7. Steve Stein

    Howie Carr Feb 24, 1992

    Poor U.S. Rep. Nick Mavroules, “Nicky Pockets,” to his nearest and dearest. Oh, how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have an ungrateful son-in-law.

    I mean, what more could Nicky Pockets have done for Andrew Gerakaris, his worthless felon of a son-in-law?

    Found in less than a minute of searching the Herald archives. (Thanks, Minuteman Library Network!)

  8. Lou Gawab

    Interesting that Dan thinks it’s a sin for Howie to make his political views known…but has no problems with his own cheer leading for the Dems.

  9. Brad Deltan

    @Lou: I think it has more to do with style. And disappointment. Howie at his best was a journalistic force to be reckoned with…the best kind of blue-collar “keep ’em honest” newspaper columnist. Sadly, Howie hasn’t been anywhere near that standard for over a decade, and he just keeps finding new levels to sink to.

    You’ll note that Dan (presumably) hasn’t treated Jeff Jacoby with quite as much disappointed disdain. I get the feeling Dan often disagrees with Jacoby, and is unafraid to point when Jacoby stretches the facts (which he often does) but he doesn’t seem quite as disappointed with Jacoby as he does with Carr.

  10. C.E. Stead

    @ Mike – Was Bush in the piece? Was your hysteria in any way related to the question Ben asked? Of course, it IS amusing to be reminded once again that this ‘worthless’ college student still had a better GPA than John Kerry.

  11. Mike Benedict

    @CE: That’s because Kerry did his own work.

  12. Rick Peterson

    @Mike: Oh go ahead, tell us your views on hanging chads!

  13. Mike Benedict

    @Rick: George Bush legitimately winning the 2000 presidential election is one of the nation’s best fictions.

    And as it turned out, we all will be paying for that debacle for decades. I would hate to be the parent of some soldier who died in the desert fighting a war waged so Bush’s Haliburton cronies could rob the US Treasury.

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