Pharyngula

How normal is Kearny?

Maybe it’s a bad, bad idea for a community to have an open-access electronic bulletin board, because it sure is a great tool for exposing the ugly underbelly of the group. Kearny, NJ has had its moment of fame, with the story of the history teacher babbling nonsense to his class, and
Jim Lippard has found some troubling stuff on the Kearny bulletin board. Paul LaClair, the father of the young man who recorded his teacher’s rambling BS, posted a
review and complaint about the community’s failure to support good teaching, and what’s bothersome are the replies. A few are supportive, but some are still defending the history teacher’s poor instruction, and worse, there are some comments that verge on being death threats.

It’s depressing to read if you have any optimism about people at all: the stupidity on display is shocking. Maybe we just have to hope that Kearny, NJ is some kind of magic dumb-magnet that sucks in mobs of the mindless, leaving the rest of the country much smarter. I fear, though, that it might actually be representative.

Comments

  1. #1 RBH
    January 1, 2007

    The community here has an open-access electronic BB, and on occasion a similar kind of crap shows up.

    And I lost my optimism about the human race sometime back around the time Lyndon Johnson got the nomination over Eugene McCarthy.

  2. #2 RBH
    January 1, 2007

    Oops. Make that over Hubert Humphrey. It’s just past midnight here and my brain’s a little … erm … scrambled.

  3. #3 Paguroidea
    January 1, 2007

    Yikes! I’m sure glad I don’t live in Kearney. It would be nice if Paul L. would get more community support. Is there anything those of us who live a long distance from Kearney can do to help?

  4. #4 Wally Whateley
    January 1, 2007

    ALSO YOU FORGET YOUR IN KEARNY YOU BETTER THINK HARD ABOUT IT IM TALKING ABOUT THE TOWNS HISTORY WITH TROUBLE MAKERS LIKE YOU!!!

    What is this guy talking about? Does Kearny, NJ have a history of killing residents who it considers “troublemakers?”

    Man, I wish the LaClairs luck in either surviving or escaping their hometown…

  5. #5 RBH
    January 1, 2007

    I shoulda quit posting at midnight. After Hubert Humphrey got the nomination over Gene McCarthy.

    There. Now it’s quitting time.

  6. #6 Ed Darrell
    January 1, 2007

    Kearny? How does one pronounce that?

    Isn’t that where we get the phrase, “Kearny Barker?”

    Isn’t a Kearny where they have the freak sideshows?

    Isn’t that what we’re seeing?

  7. #7 SteveC
    January 1, 2007

    Isn’t Kearny the name of one of the bullies in The Simpsons?

    I’ve ceased to be surprised by any form of stupidity. If I read a news story about someone who thought that hitting himself in the head with a sledgehammer would, oh, I don’t know, allow hime to run faster by providing iron supplements to the part of his brain that makes him run faster, and by this method killed himself, I would not be the least bit surprised nor amazed.

  8. #8 SmellyTerror
    January 1, 2007

    I’m not going to read it. My patience with the human race is already growing dangerously thin. I don’t want people going back through various blog archives to read the comments of “that SmellyTerror guy who went on the killing frenzy”.

  9. #9 Marc Buhler
    January 1, 2007

    Having escaped NJ for life in Australia, I am reminded about the status New Jersey has in American life from time to time. Would the plot of The Karate Kid have worked if he came from a different state? Of course not – he was from “jersey” [spoken with the nasel accent it needs] and the cool West Coast kids beat him up for that alone. The movie would have flopped if he had been scripted in being from Vermont or Florida, right? And when I went to Stanford for grad school four of us from NJ had to share a house since nobody from the other states wanted to have us as flatmates. But it does sound Kearny is the armpit of the armpit of the nation, doesn’t it? (signed) marc

  10. #10 Orac
    January 1, 2007

    Ack.

    This idiocy is way too close to home…

  11. #11 Jim D
    January 1, 2007

    Sadly, I have seen much the same sort of crap on the community board here in my hometown (Columbia MO), which is supposedly a fairly solid island of educated sanity, what with the University and two smaller colleges here. You can see what I mean if you want to go digging around: http://board.columbiatribune.com/index.php?showforum=7

    When the board first got going late last spring, I got involved with it (I was an arts columnist for the local paper), but had to just bail out after a while, it was so bad. Yeah, stuff approaching death threats and everything (and since I was posting under my own name, people really could track me down if they wanted). The paper (which sponsors the board) finally had to institute moderation protocols and ban a bunch of the worst offenders.

    So no, Kearney isn’t unique, sad to say.

  12. #12 Jim in STL
    January 1, 2007

    …my hometown (Columbia MO).

    MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm, Booches burgers….Shakespeare’s Pizza….Oil Can Stout….

  13. #13 mark
    January 1, 2007

    Marc presents the stereotypical view of NJ. Some, but not all, people from NJ read the “Joyzy City Joynel” and can be readily detected. Hatefulness and foolishness are widespread beyond the Turnpike State; how about that town in Delaware where they wanted to get rid of that bothersome Jewish family?

  14. #14 Steve
    January 1, 2007

    ALSO YOU FORGET YOUR IN KEARNY YOU BETTER THINK HARD ABOUT IT IM TALKING ABOUT THE TOWNS HISTORY WITH TROUBLE MAKERS LIKE YOU!!!

    What is this guy talking about? Does Kearny, NJ have a history of killing residents who it considers “troublemakers?”

    Sounds like they’re coming after him with torches and pitchforks…

  15. #15 Dan S.
    January 1, 2007

    “Sounds like they’re coming after him with torches and pitchforks…”

    But not apostrophes, sad to say . . . .

    “how about that town in Delaware where they wanted to get rid of that bothersome Jewish family?”

    That’s what this immediately reminded me of. I hope this all has to do with specific @ unique local conditions and doesn’t say anything much about wider American society, but am pretty sure it does.

  16. #16 Alison
    January 1, 2007

    Kearny. No second E. And yes, it’s pronounced CAR-nee. It is not a hub of intellectualism, and it’s not even a pretty town. I moved a little over a year ago from a middle-class town nearby, and while my town was looked down upon by, for example, Montclair, we looked upon Kearny similarly. I think even people in Belleville thought they were better than Kearny. Whatever. I say this so you understand – in New Jersey, we all have something to say. We’re not too good at keeping our mouths shut when we have an opinion. Combine that with a lower to lower middle class population, a mediocre educational system, families that have lived in the same place for generations and all settle close to Mom and Dad, throw in a lot of religion, and this is what you get.

    You’re supposed to keep the status quo, stay loyal, be like everyone else and not get all uppity. The LaClairs are not going to change Kearny. Either they face a lifetime of this stuff, or they move out.

  17. #17 hoody
    January 1, 2007

    N dbt thy r bbblng dts.

    Bt thy r lttl dffrnt thn th sycphnts n ths st.

    S hw sycphntc ch chmbrs ld t th lwrd Q f th chmbr’s prtcpnts?

  18. #18 Daniel Martin
    January 1, 2007

    So is there a special tool that you use to disemvowel a post?

    I often think that part of the reason New Jersey has the national reputation it does (land of mobsters, full of toxic waste, all one big urban wasteland, where “lower class” people live, etc.) is because of the overexposure in the national consciousness given to media that originates in New York city. As a consequence, New Jersey’s reputation is informed by that part of NJ that can be seen from NYC. Really, we don’t all define ourselves by our turnpike exit number (well, not much), and it’s perfectly possible to travel perpendicular to the major roads and find yourself in land that you could easily believe was, say, rural southern Ohio. However, the view from NYC is Newark, Jersey City, and, if you check the map, Kearny.

    These idiots would make the state look bad no matter where in New Jersey they were, but there they are flaunting their idiocy within spitting distance of the news media capital of the country. Watch for this to add a new wrinkle to the standard New Jersey jokes if it crops up again.

  19. #19 DiscGrace
    January 1, 2007

    And, 2 pages in, it looks like the thread has already been Godwinned. Amazing.

  20. #20 chezjake
    January 1, 2007

    Kearny has always been a blue-collar town, but it used to be (back in the 60’s & early 70’s) “abnormal” in a much better sense of the word. Back then it was “little Scotland USA,” and your ability to throw darts and simultaneously consume vast quantities of Ballantine Ale (the only decent ale available in the US at that time, brewed right across the river in Newark) defined your relative worth. I never knew anyone there to be a regular churchgoer of any kind. The really outstanding thing about Kearny then was that it had all three of the best restaurants in the US for getting authentic British/Scots fish and chips – really worth traveling there to get.

  21. #21 mirc
    January 29, 2008

    These idiots would make the state look bad no matter where in New Jersey they were, but there they are flaunting their idiocy within spitting distance of the news media capital of the country. Watch for this to add a new wrinkle to the standard New Jersey jokes if it crops up again.

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