Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Previously on This Just In…
Back when I was a working journalist 24/7 and got a “fun” assignment, I considered it to be just that, a “fun” assignment, so I tried my best to have “fun” covering, and hoped that my final coverage conveyed the “fun” I had.
Let’s see, there were so many. A koala bear landing at the airport before heading to the Milwaukee County Zoo. Interviewing celebrities (Miss America kissed me). The 1982 World Series. The Great Circus Train. To name a few.
“Fun” stuff. Certainly not stories that would evoke bitterness.
Last week, London hosted the 44th World Irish Dance Championship.
I’m Irish. Like millions of others I love Irish dance. My little girl began Irish dance lessons last year. So of course I was interested. It’s also why I was stunned at this headline in the Telegraph:
My idea of hell? 5,000 Irish dancers – and me
What kind of old crotchety, grumpy guy could possibly be the author of such an article?
OK. He’s a she and she’s not old. Sarah Rainey works on the Feature desk at the Telegraph. Rainey attended the World Championship and decided to cover from a totally different perspective. Totally.
"In the Monarch Suite at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, west London, it is hotter than hell. Hell being an apt description: the airless conference hall is bursting with shrieking youngsters. On a stage at one end, two tiny dancers are bobbing up and down in outfits so shiny they hurt the eye. Watching them are hundreds of rapt parents, clucking with delight as one perma-tanned offspring after another takes the floor. The air is thick with the smell of hairspray, perfume and chips. On a loudspeaker, a piercing Irish jig is playing over and over and over again."
And that's just Rainey's lead paragraph.
“And what a spectacle. Everywhere you look, doll-like competitors are tapping toes, doing the splits or practising thigh-kicks in shimmering costumes of silver, luminous green and phosphorescent purple. Smiling beneath identikit poodle-curl wigs, held in place by a salon’s worth of hairspray, their faces are made up in Oompa Loompa orange so that each looks unnervingly like a miniature Dolly Parton, complete with stick-on eyelashes and red lips. A hotel worker confides that they’ve had to provide special towels so their linen doesn’t get ruined by fake tan.”
“The stakes are high and on stage sabotage is not unknown, as some dancers aim kicks perilously close to their rival’s face.”
No, the young girls pictured above didn’t lose the competition. They just finished reading Rainey’s column.
To be fair, negativity doesn’t run wild throughout Rainey’s entire piece. But it’s clear she was testy as she drove to her assignment and knew she would come out swinging as soon as she returned to her computer.
I’d personally invite Rainey to Milwaukee’s Irish Fest, the biggest Irish festival in the world where I volunteer. But if 5,000 Irish girls are her version of hell, what would over 150,000 Irish Fest fans be like?
Photos: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images