Councilman James Oddo would appear to want nothing more than to go down as the guy who pried metal baseball bats from the hands of New York City's little leaguers. The Staten Island councilman, a self-described "conservative Republican," insists wooden bats are far safer.
It's a good thing bats of either variety were absent from his recent interview on Ricket's Rost, a Colbert Report-type fake-news show in Norway. After Oddo quickly realized he was to be made the butt of a joke, he called in his assistant and demanded an explanation. Anger then morphed into rage: "Get the fuck out of my office!" Sixteen f-bombs later, fully inebriated by his own rage, Oddo threatens "to beat the shit out of" the interviewer, a cute 26-year-old Scandinavian comedienne.
Today The Daily News editorializes in favor of Oddo's outburst. "We salute the man as a genuine Stand-Up New Yorker," the editorialists write. "Our compliments."
Here's the video -- judge for yourself whether his behavior is commendable:
Oddo's mistake was his own, in that he believed European media was actually interested in seriously interviewing him. While it's certainly understandable that he was upset his time was being wasted on a prank, it takes a righteous sense of self-importance to fly off the handle so quickly. A classier, cleverer man would have turned the joke back around on his interlocutor -- "May I ask you something? Is it true that only left-handed Norwegians know how to read?" Or, "On what day does Thor's birthday fall? Or are there other holidays you pagans celebrate?"
A great statesman Oddo is not. At least as compared to masters like Winston Churchill. When Lady Astor huffed, "If I were married to you, I'd put poison in your coffee," Winston curtly replied, "If I were your husband, I'd drink it!" My colleague John Wilson reminds me of another: Once at a dinner party, a woman at the prime minister's table angrily accuses him of being drunk, to which Winston responds, "This may be well and true, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."
These of course require being quick witted and bright. Oddo instead is just your stock school-yard bully.
Full disclosure: I am eminently biased on this subject. As part of my day job I was once required to call up Mr. Oddo to ask whether his bat-banning bill included a school-budget supplemental to finance the costs of replacing the wooden bats that would inevitably break throughout the season. Oddo was displeased The Post's editorial page would be weighing in against the ban yet again, shouting words to the effect of, "You f*cking think I'm going to f*cking give you the bullets to shoot me down. You've already shot me down three f*cking times. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid." It was pretty much like the video, except that it went on for about 10 minutes. Here's the editorial.