N.J. Pols Can’t Stop Sharing Offensive Jokes on Facebook

Offending constituents with Facebook memes seems to be a bipartisan issue in the Garden State. Let’s examine.

Facebook memes

What’s the biggest trend among New Jersey politicians? Offending their constituents with Facebook memes.

Okay, that’s overstating it. But there have been two incidents of New Jersey politicians sharing offensive jokes on Facebook in the past few weeks, so it bears investigation.

First was Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman, a Republican, who shared the following joke ON the day of the women’s march: “Will the Women’s March be over in time for them to cook dinner?” He added, “Just asking” to let you know he was just asking.

Predictably, belittling women into a homemaker first and a person second did not sit well with his constituents. He landed on the cover of the Daily News and had to sit and listen to a bunch of angry people berate him at a meeting.

One woman brought a box of macaroni and cheese to the freeholders’ meeting and told Carman to “cook his own damn dinner.” How did Carman respond to being berated by a bunch of people? Did he say sorry and move on? Of course not.

Carman stood up and said: “This has made me realize how blessed I am, because the women I’m surrounded by, my family, my friends, my colleagues are all strong, confident women, women who are sure of themselves. They didn’t get offended by this.”

It’s your fault if you’re offended — and you’re a weak, unconfident woman if you did. Got it? Well, someone talked some sense into Carman and he later actually apologized — the sensible move since you don’t actually have to mean it.

Most of the comments on his Facebook page were from friends aghast that he had to apologize. Another woman showed up to blast Carman at Monday’s freeholder meeting, but he had more defenders this time. Next week’s meeting was canceled.

So that’s one. New Jersey Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, a Democrat from Atlantic County, is the second. Recently he shared a video on his Facebook page of a group of men running up ladders. It was titled, “Illegal Immigrants Training for the Trump Wall.”

On a scale of Brian Regan to Andrew Dice Clay, this is probably less offensive than Carman’s joke. You could take it as an offensive mocking of people attempting to come to the United States for a better life, or maybe you could take it as a comparison of all Latinos to undocumented immigrants. Or you could also take it as a mocking of Trump’s wall in the first place. Or maybe it’s somewhere in the middle! (The post in question was against the wall.)

Either way, it’s not quite so cut-and-dry as Carman’s post. I wouldn’t even be writing about this if not for Mazzeo’s awful attempt at an apology.

“I didn’t have my glasses on,” Mazzeo told the Press of Atlantic City. “I was scrolling through my news feed. I have very bad vision with my reading, and I did share it, but I noticed that I posted it and I took it down immediately. It certainly is something I didn’t want to share.”

As the Press’s Christian Hetrick and John DeRosier wrote, the video post “originated from a page called ‘18 Karat Reggae,’ had a preview image showing a woman clad in a marijuana leaf-printed dress.”

Is there more to this story? Of course there is! Mazzeo is running for state Senate this year, and Atlantic County Republican Party chairman Keith Davis released a statement on Mazzeo: “Even Mr. Magoo had more brains than Mazzeo. Vince Mazzeo lacks the judgment, smarts and maturity to be our senator. He’s in way over his head.”

Fun fact: When the Mr. Magoo movie was in production in 1997, the National Federation for the Blind protested, saying “Disney people have dragged Mr. Magoo back from richly deserved obscurity in the hope that Americans will think it’s funny to watch an ill-tempered and incompetent blind man stumble into things and misunderstand his surroundings.”

Will they get involved after Davis’s reference? Eh, probably not. But if they do, Davis can use the same defense Disney did: The company said Magoo did not make fun of blind people “in any way.” And, anyway, Magoo was “a kindly gentleman who is nearsighted, not blind.”