TO: Carl Paladino, candidate for the office of Governor of New York
FROM: Burt Likko, the Transplanted Lawyer
DATE: November 1, 2010
RE: Your recent photograph at Halloween party
While reading one of my favorite blogs (linked above in the subject line), I saw a photograph of you at a Halloween party in which you seemed to be allowing your picture to be taken next to a man wearing blackface. Racial politics being as complex as they are in today’s ever-changing social and cultural milieu, it occurred to me that you may have been confused and (perhaps because it appears there may have been moderate amounts of alcohol being consumed at this party) thus allowed your politician’s natural reserve of inhibition to ebb. Because I’ve no particular love for Andrew Cuomo, I thought you might like to know that this photograph could tend to make people think of you as something of a douche bag.
This reminded me that there are decision-making matricies and flowcharts which can assist in handling difficult and nuanced situations like this. I have reproduced the relevant portion of the flowchart to the right in this memo. Suffice to say that I advise against allowing future such photographs to be taken, and to issue an appropriate explanatory statement at your earliest convenience.
Your apparent intoxication, squint, and tongue sticking out of your mouth do not add luster to this incident. However, the primary concern is the fact that you allowed visual evidence of your presence at a party where someone was wearing blackface. While perhaps not as problematic as being photographed while wearing a Waffen SS uniform, this is still well within the category of “pretty bad.” Hopefully, this will assist you in the future should you find yourself “on the spot” and need to make a snap decision. Good luck tomorrow (you’ll need it) and in your future electoral endeavors!