Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Rock'm Sock'm Governor

Apparently, Crappy New Jersey™ has been suffering from cabin fever following this weekend's sixteen-inch snowfall.

On Monday, on his afternoon drive show, Craig Carton, one half of NJ 101.5-FM's popular "Jersey Guys" program, stirred Governor Richard Codey's anger with some comments on post-partum depression. It just so happened that the very next day was the monthly "Ask the Governor" program on the station, a program that has run since Christie Whitman's time. The Governor was a little upset. And now, this afternoon, Carton has been shooting back with both barrels.

If forced, Ebert-style, to give either an up-or-down verdict, I'd say that the Jersey Guys program is a thumbs-up. They will occasionally cross lines I would not - with Carton being the exclusive source of the crossed lines - but they run a good, smart, lively show. They also do charitable work through the program during the holidays with their "Christmas Miracle" segment, soliciting from their listeners stories of families suffering hardship, and then opening the phones for people to pledge some help.

I happened to hear Carton's comments first-hand as I left work Monday afternoon. It seemed less a product of malice toward Mrs. Codey as a matter of Carton's style, which is to make his point as pointedly as he can. I also agree with the principle he expressed, if not his method. I don't think that clinical depression of any kind is a laughing matter, but neither is it what it is too often used as - a blanket absolution of all misbehavior and misanthropy. After all, Mrs. Codey, despite suffering post-partum depression, did NOT injure her child or kill herself. This suggests some volition in the matter.

Governor Codey decried "negative stigma" in his own statements on the matter. This is a bit of red herring. Stigma helps to prevent horrors such as this.* I think we can all agree that whether culpable or not, we don't want depressed mothers to kill their kids or themselves, and social disapproval is more helpful to that end than is social permissiveness.

*An interesting discussion on this topic came out of this Flynn Files item. I wonder how the Governor would handle the title?

No comments: