Word Of Explanation - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1716126

Word Of Explanation

Let Jay Schneiderman’s bongo-banging performance at the recent mobfest, permitted under his governance, serve as the audition that lands him another daytime gig.

He endangered everyone, incurred state opprobrium, devalued public quarantine, and bobbed and weaved, presenting himself as an innocent bystander as well as a player at a hastily called press conference. (Always note his pronouns!) Given his unconscionable, irresponsible behavior, words like “brain dead,” metaphorically speaking, seem apt.

Now, it seems that those words and another incited the ire of Abraham “A.J.” Miller of Hampton Bays. In a Letter to the Editor [“The Bigger Picture,” July 30], he accuses me of “vulgarity” and “disrespectful verbiage” for using “brain dead” and “buggery” in a letter. Full disclosure: I have long been an advocate of employing vulgarity to expose vulgarity. In my lexicon there is no such a thing as “disrespectful verbiage,” or what “respectful verbiage” cloaks and protects.

However, a word of explanation — and my apology is needed.

“Buggery,” not my style or in my vocabulary, did appear in my letter. The word intended was “buffered,” not “buggered”: a sticky keyboard error, which passed the “spell check” and was not picked up by me nor the editorial overview of the newspaper. In context, the mistake is obvious: “[The pool proposal was] buffered with the needs of the children of Southampton to soft-light a two-story glass … sports complex.”

I have never used the words “buggery” and “children” in the same sentence. “Buggery” is an arcane British legal definition; in current patois, it’s used slyly and to connote knowingness. I assure Mr. Miller that had I wanted to use the violence of “buggery” metaphorically, I would not veil it in gentility — or “respectful verbiage.” My apology for the typo.

“A.J.” Miller continues, “dumbfounded,” he says, by my equating a “public pool with a spa,” then recounts his spartan swimming experiences, pool-wise, in the 1960s and 1970s. He might be less dumbfounded if he realized that this is 2020, and priorities have changed.

He is woke enough, however, to accuse me — with very 21st century clichés — of “bigotry, classism, and thinly disguised NIMBYism.” Wrong again: My “NIMBYism” concerning this transaction is loudly and clearly stated, with previous opposition on record.

And why, with his concern for “access” — and his chest-thumping for the poor, swimming-deprived taxpayers — does he carefully omit mentioning that this pool was previously approved for Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays (where he resides), but having been given a nod by Schneiderman was scuttled in favor of one that halves the pool size and doubles the land in Tuckahoe, on a parcel Schneiderman has been overly involved in?

“Racism,” my fundament: What this is about — fundamentally — is politics and real estate.

Frances Genovese



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