Week’s end

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Editorial Page -

♦ 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.

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