And now, just about my favorite regular feature here: Putz of The Week/Mensch of the Week. For those of you who are branding spankin’ new, here are the definitions needed:
“Putz” is a slang Yiddish word. According to the fine folks at Wikipedia, putz is used when describing someone as being "a jerk” or a “stupid person”.
“Mensch” is an upright person. A genuinely decent human being. From the generic term for a virtuous man or person. One with honesty, integrity, loyalty, and firmness of purpose – a fundamental sense of decency and respect for other people. Also, according to Wikipedia, “…the key to being “a real Mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous…”
…and now, on to our awards.
I am a graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, the best damn law school in New Jersey (sorry, Rutgers). A big thumbs up to Dean Pat Hobbs and the entire faculty who work very hard to train the best lawyers in New Jersey. However, every once in a while some putz slips through the cracks. Grace T. Meyer, a graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, is one of those that slipped through.
Ms. Hall, a lawyer in River Vale, crafted an anti-marriage equality letter for the October 5th New Jersey Law Journal issue. Had Ms. Meyer merely opposed marriage equality, that might not make the grade for ‘putz’. However, what Ms. Meyer did write was that since “family is the backbone of a nation”, then perhaps gay marriage “does not fit”. Ms. Meyers, perchance we have a different definition of “family”.
For me, a family is love and commitment to your significant other combined with the same to your children—in whatever way they come to the table, period. I am still puzzled as to just how gay families or families with gay members “destroy” that notion of family. She goes on to say that she has “gay-couple clients (notice her use of the hyphen)…[that] do not want to be ‘married’ because they know that it just does not fit…[they] are happy with domestic partnership laws.”
And so, for her narrow views on what a “family” is combined with her assertion that gay marriage somehow “does not fit” (is it too ‘thin’? Too ‘fat’? Maybe too ‘tall’? Ms. Meyer never clarifies this issue in her letter), fellow Seton Hall Law alum Grace T. Meyer is our Putz of the Week.
Each morning on my drive to my office, I listen to WCTC 1450AM, the former all-talk station that recently went all Golden Oldies—with the exception of their morning show, with host Jack Ellery, on from 6am to 10am. In a sea of Right-Wing radio that is full of the tsunamis of Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin and Mike Savage, Mr. Ellery is a rational liberal voice that calms the waters of New Jersey’s political scene.
He has been around long enough to not take himself too seriously, but serious enough to be respected when he speaks. And speak he does. While he is a liberally leaning host, he also takes Democrats to task when necessary. And he makes it sound all too easy. I first met Jack years ago at WCTC, and then appeared with him periodically when a station in Hunterdon County popped up (WJHR) for about a minute and a half. I did some on air schtick, and I watched Jack handle the microphone like Michael Jordan handles a basketball.
As Jack says, “I have no ambitions for NY or Philly, anymore. I'm a Jersey guy, do or die. I'm a Springsteen fan, a Sopranos fan, a Jets fan and a Rutgers fan." And we are glad he’s ours.
So, for his day in/day out radio smarts, combined with a keen sense of the NJ political scene, and some good-natured humor thrown in for good measure, Jack Ellery is our Mensch of the Week.