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Mitch Perry Report 4.7.16 – Gay Talese, meet Twitter

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Gay Talese is one of the great American reporters of our time. Now 84, Talese was considered part of the New Journalism that took the country by storm in the 1960s.

I’m going to write about his new book in a moment, but I confess that I’m a little late to the party regarding the contretemps he started up last weekend. That’s when he was asked at a conference at Boston University about women writers who had inspired him and replied, “I didn’t know any women writers that I loved.”

Well, you can imagine how that went over.  The New York Times labels the onslaught of social media opprobrium against him as going thru the Twitter Wringer.”

But that’s not what I wanted to write about this morning. No, it’s about Talese’s upcoming new book, “A Voyeur’s Motel,” which is excerpted in this week’s New Yorker.

It’s about a man named Gerald Foos, who owned a motel in Aurora, Colorado for decades, and where he admits to spying on hundreds of guests as they had sex, by peering through fake vents he installed in the ceiling above the motel rooms.

That’s pretty sensational. However, this Foos guy saw a lot of other things over those decades of Americans relaxing in motel rooms, which he wrote about in voluminous journals and ultimately gave to Talese to do with what he wished.

It’s not very optimistic about human beings, based on some of the other things that Foos saw about middle-class Americans.

“Some of it is crazy,” said Talese, “and some of it is insightful.” Based on the excerpt in the magazine, I’d agree.

The book will be published in July.

In other news …

April 27 is the night when Hillsborough County Commissioners — or should we say Victor Crist?— decides whether or not the voters in the county will get the opportunity vote “yea” or “nay” on a half-cent transportation tax.

Both Rick Kriseman and Bob Buckhorn are making their pitches to North Carolina businesses who are not pleased about that “religious freedom” bill that is considered to be most LGBT-unfriendly. Buckhorn sent out a tweet and did an interview calling for PayPal to consider moving a new operations center from Charlotte to Tampa.

Meanwhile, Kriseman penned an op-ed calling on PayPal and other businesses in the Tar Heel State that St. Pete is a much open and friendlier place to do business.

Does former federal prosecutor Andrew Warren have a fighter’s chance of knocking off 16-year incumbent Mark Ober in the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s race? Hard to say at this point, but the 39-year-old Warren is doing well in accepting campaign contributions.

And three days after the Final Four ended in Houston, the Frozen Four starts up tonight in Tampa.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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