Who knew Posing in Bra, Panties Would Excite Such Debate?
Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, the MySpace Mayor of Arlington, OR, has been laying low for the last ten days or so.
The mayor achieved her 15 minutes of fame by posing in her bra and panties on the town's firetruck for her MySpace page pictures.
She then faced the town and some irate citizens at the town's yearly meeting a few days later.
Finally, she showed up on ABC's 20/20 to plead her case, which was in effect, "Girls just want to have fun."
Since the 20/20 appearance, the MySpace Mayor is apparently a believer in the maxim, "No news is good news". She's disappeared from media sight.
The town's still talking about it, but the bigger media outlets have moved back to global warming, the 2008 presidential campaign and the latest in the Britney Spears' train wreck that is her life.
Voices are being raised in the predictable calls for "tolerance" and "not being judgmental".
A look at the controversy that still percolates in Arlington OR, and what others in the Pacific Northwest neighborhoods of other Oregon towns are saying.
Most of them are of the Rodney King variety: "Can't we just all get along?"
The mayor's opponents say Kontur-Gronquist did not deliver on a promise to lower water rates, and that she is trying to close the city golf course. But there is no denying the embarrassment that put this tiny town on the map.
“Placing provocative photos on the Internet using an elected official title is unacceptable,” says a statement written by Arlington's concerned citizens group. “Due to the seriousness of these concerns, we are asking for the mayor's immediate resignation. If she is not willing to resign, we are prepared to proceed with a recall.”
Other residents urged the community to come together and solve the problem diplomatically.
“We can't divide this town-- I mean, we can, it's up to you,” said Frank Burgese. “But I challenge all sides to sit down and pound out some sort of agreement with each other, so this doesn't rise to the level of a recall, so this doesn't rise to the level of national ridicule. It's kinda sorta already there right now.”
Those who stand behind the mayor say say the only people who should be embarrassed are the people who exposed the mayor by sending her photos to the media and turning their quiet town into a media circus.
The expected outpouring of support from those who don't want to be guilty of the modern world's worst sin--being judgmental--materialized.
From the Oregonian, someone named Scott Beckwith chimed in with his support of the MySpace Mayor.
Like a defense attorney pleading with the jury in a death penalty case, Beckwith wants to know, "What was the MySpace Mayor really guilty of doing?"
Arlington's mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, has taken a lot of heat since photos of her in her undies appeared on MySpace. Some say the entire episode brought disgrace upon the little Eastern Oregon city. I must say I agree. But what exactly was disgraceful? Was it the underwear? The fact that she posed on a fire truck? The fact that she has refused to resign? Hardly.
Mayors are often the butt of a lot of provincial jokes. You hear people chuckle at the insinuation of small-town corruption, of the mayor being on the take from businesses or developers, or being essentially a useless figurehead who panders to the locals for the sake of votes.
Beckwith then waxes nostalgic on the time he was elected mayor of a small town and a lady told him she liked how he looked in jeans.
Of course, he has harsh words--he calls them "fuddy-duddies"--for anyone not subscribing to his tolerant, values-free judgment. At the same time, he allows how he can appreciate all the hard work goes into the creation of an elected official hard-body.
Mayor Kontur-Gronquist is a credit to Arlington. The fuddy-duddies who have demanded her ouster have done far more damage to their city's image than their mayor's well-sculpted body ever could.
One Oregon newspaper theorized that the worst sin of all was--Puritanism. And it was taking place, not on MySpace, but in little Arlington, Oregon.
Apparently, a substantial number of people who read the Tri-City Herald didn't know that they were reading such an arbiter of social mores.
Although the Herald didn't mention it, some serious thought went into the editorial process about whether to include the phrase, "witch burning" in their editorial.
Another media voice crying out, "Come on! This is 2008! Everybody's doing it!"
Apparently a substantial number of people in Arlington, Ore., have never been to the beach or the mall.
Some of the little town’s citizens said they were shocked when Arlington Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist posted on her MySpace site a picture of herself in a black bra and panties, standing next to a fire truck.
"Resign!" cried some citizens. And, when she wouldn’t, "Recall!" was the threat.
Less easily outraged citizens may see this as 19th century values trying to claw their way into the 20th century while the rest of us are in the 21st.
Bikini-clad women at any beach and models pictured in the windows of Victoria’s Secret shops at any mall are far more revealing than the mayor’s photos.
Mayor Kontur-Gronquist obviously works out and it’s no surprise she wants her friends to see what she’s accomplished.
The offended citizens of Arlington have no more reason to complain, however. The mayor restricted access to her site to her friends.
Puritanism lives. Not on MySpace, but in Arlington.
Readers in the Tri-City area who have opinions about what is--and isn't--acceptable behavior for a town employee on city property are guilty of Puritanism.
And they said it couldn't happen here.
How is it that the worst sins some people think can be committed are "Puratanism" and being "judgmental"?
Isn't it being "judgmental" to judge people guilty of those sins?
ORIGINAL DBKP story:
MySpace Mayor Poses in Bra and Panties on Town Firetruck
--pictures, story and video report of the original controversy and the town's attempt to recall Carmen Kontur-Gronquist.
* Arlington Residents Confront Mayor Over MySpace Photos
* Another Paper's View
* Arlington Mayor Deserves Support
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