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11/ 8/06

4:29 PM


Trade That Bow Tie for a Spiked Collar

Callaghan thwarted by quirky bow tie.Photograph: Associated Press

In 1978 Johnny Rotten crouched down on the stage in San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom and asked the crowd at the last Sex Pistols show, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" It remains one of the great unmaskings in the history of pop culture, a stripping away of the rock-star daydream to expose the disgust and dirt beneath.

We got to savor a similar moment last night, when Christopher J. Callaghan's (the J stands for j'accuse) concession speech bordered on the Rotten-esque. It wasn't the dopey removal of the bow tie, a weird moment of schlub burlesque. It was his rationalization of his own defeat: "I cannot help but regard the decision of New York voters as odd," he said. "They returned to office a man who by his own admission misappropriated funds … They're fine with that, so, okay." How often does a politician turn the lens around and say to the people who just rejected him: "The problem is you. You did this to yourself. Have fun."? That kind of unmasked disdain for the people you'd once hoped to serve, that balletic verve with slash-and-burn self-destruction, is the mark of a man with nothing to lose — except, of course, your trust, which apparently isn't worth much anyway.

Despite Scandal, Hevesi Wins Comptroller's Race [Newsday]