♦ Donnie Corker, better known as Dirtwoman, died this week, and the news of his passing brought to mind the character of Otis, the town drunk on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Like Otis, Corker was crude and transgressive — and incorrigible. He was also essentially harmless. He lived life on his own terms, no matter what anyone thought of him, which is more than many people can say. In doing so he elevated, over time, what they did think of him. He was not anyone’s idea of a role model; people who push boundaries invite hostility and judgment. But they also expand the cultural space — making more room for others to be their own authentic selves as well. The result is a richer, more intricate social tapestry. And that is not such a bad thing at all.
♦ Speaking of transgressive: Hugh Hefner, who founded Playboy, also has passed away. He was not anyone’s idea of a role model, either — except perhaps for teenage boys and older men with arrested development. By now, in an age of sexting and hookups and internet porn of infinite non-Euclidean varieties, the airbrushed, girl-next-door pictorials that were so risqué in their day seem as quaint as the WWII pinup girls that inspired them. In its day, Playboy pushed sexual revolution. Today it seems positively old-fashioned.
♦ On-time graduation rates in Richmond slipped last year; they’re especially bad among Latino and Asian students, a fact that is surely bound up with issues of poverty, immigration, and English as a second language. But that’s a challenge — not an excuse. Richmond must do better.
♦ Also in Richmond, the City Council wants to know who is keeping exotic pets in their homes. Says Christie Chipps Peters, director of Animal Care and Control, “We’ve got to know if you’ve got a lion in your basement.” Or tigers, or bears — oh my!
♦ Police in Henrico captured a pig that was blocking traffic on Nuckols road. This happened not long after Henrico officers had to respond to a 4-foot-long lizard on the loose in Lakeside. Ringling Brothers has folded its tents for good and doesn’t bring the circus to town any longer. The way things are going, though, there’s no need for it to anyway.
♦ During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump delighted in raking Hillary Clinton over the coals for her use of a private email server. “Lock her up!” chanted the crowds. Now comes word that Jared Kushner, a Trump son-in-law who has several roles in the administration, has used a private email account for government business. No word yet from Trump fans about what should be done with him.
Donnie “Dirtwoman” Corker, 1985.