Jackie Robinson as saying that Schott isrn”one simple-minded woman standingrnup to a mike and saying it’s all right tornhate Jews,” which Ms. Smith let standrnwithout correction.rnIn Cincinnati, which has long toleratedrnMrs. Schott’s eccentricities, the argumentrnof Marge’s detractors has beenrndecidedly more aesthetic than moral.rnThose who want her out see her as anrnembarrassment to Cincinnati whose lackrnof grace has earned her the opprobriumrnshe deserves. But many here maintainrnthat—right or wrong—Marge Schott hasrna right to speak her mind. In fact, localrnsports radio host Andy Furman says thatrncallers after Schott’s banishment werern”65 percent pro-Marge, maybe 70 percent.”rnWhy do so many support Schott?rnFurman thinks it boils down to thernsimple fact that the average sports fanrnsees Schott as the “little guy” being persecutedrnby the Establishment. “Maybern[Schott’s supporters] stick with her becausern—and that’s scary—maybe theyrnagree with her,” says Furman. But thernlarger sentiment Furman sees is one ofrnkinship. Whatever Schott’s views, thernaverage fan supports her because “she’srnfrom Cincinnati.”rnIn many ways the irony of MargernSchott is the irony of Cincinnati, a cityrnwhich—like Marge—prides itself on itsrnGerman heritage and its ability to makernand hold onto money, but whose provincialrnconservatism has more than oncernearned it the censure of some of thernmore progressive elements afoot in thernland. Winston Churchill called it America’srnmost beautiful inland city, andrnHenry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poemrn”Catawba Wine” immortalized it as thernQueen City of the West. But Cincinnatirnis perhaps less known today for itsrnscenery than for its efforts to maintain arnsocial atmosphere that some would termrnreactionary. Two decades after HamiltonrnCounty Sheriff Simon Leis instigatedrnthe landmark obscenity trial againstrnHustler publisher Larry Flynt, the city’srnofficial intolerance of sexual deviance remainsrnlegendary. In 1990, Cincinnatirnearned the undying enmity of the gayrnand lesbian community and the arts establishmentrnfor its criminal prosecutionrnof the Mapplethorpe exhibit, “the firstrninstance in U.S. history of a public artrnmuseum prosecuted for the content ofrnits exhibitions,” according to the localrnunderground rag Everybody’s News. Inrn1993 voters enacted Issue 3, a statuternbarring the city from enforcing legislationrnwhich would give special protectionrnto homosexuals, spurring gay rights activistsrnto call for a national boycott ofrnCincinnati as a convention destination.rnSchott is as legendary for her parsimonyrnas for her arch-conservative socialrnviews; but by all accounts the Reds ownerrnis often as impulsive with money asrnshe is with words. Schott, who inheritedrnan estimated $3 million in cash, real estate,rnand small companies when her husbandrndied in 1968, now has an estimatedrnnet worth in excess of $50 million, accordingrnto the Cincinnati Enquirer. ButrnSchott’s repeated battles with MajorrnLeague Baseball are hardly an anomaly;rnaccording to the Enquirer, Ceneral Motorsrnhas tried to take away her CincinnatirnChevrolet dealership three times sincern1987, citing mismanagement and abnormallyrnlow profits.rnThanks in part to one of the NationalrnLeague’s highest payrolls, the Reds annuallyrnfinish at or near the top of the NLrnCentral. But baseball observers agreernthat Schott’s refusal to invest in thernclub’s farm system has the Reds organizationrnteetering on the brink of disaster.rnAnd her slash-and-burn reduction ofrnfront-office personnel to fewer than halfrnthe league average and maniacal frugalityrnoff the field (an apocryphal tale has itrnthat Schott once distributed years-oldrnEaster baskets to her staff in lieu of arnChristmas bonus). Sports Illustrated’srnRick Reilly argues, has thrown her ballrnclub deeply into the red and left it unablernto market the team at a level wherernticket sales can compensate for playerrnsalaries.rnYet underneath all the talk of Schott’srnrefusal to retire player numbers or hangrnWorld Series banners lurks an animosityrnnot wholly explainable by Schott’s lackrnof reverence for decorum and baseballrntradition. Marge Schott may indeed be arnlonely old kook, but the media havernmade her out to be more than that, portrayingrnher as an agent—if unwitting—rnof evil. Which causes the casual observerrnto wonder: Where are all therndefenders of freedom of expression whenrnbaseball’s (late-night) material girl goesrnon a tear? Schott is certainly capable—rnguilty of the type of meanness one mightrnexpect from a vodka-drinking, chainsmokingrncar salesman. She is also guiltyrnof refusing to recognize that in times likernthese charity, not to mention prudence,rnrequires that one refrain from the exercisernof one’s right to free speech when sornmany are waiting to take offense.rnBut where are all the pundits who havernrepeatedly let the likes of “Minister” Farrakhanrnand Jesse Jackson off the hook?rnMarge Schott is railroaded for suggestingrnthat Hitler did some good for Germanyrnin the beginning. While the press expressedrnsuitable outrage at Farrakhanrnhenchman Khalid Muhammed’s justificationrnof the holocaust and his call forrnthe murder of whites in South Africa—rnremarks which Farrakhan refused to repudiatern—Farrakhan was not subject torncalls for a boycott; rather he was gentlyrnencouraged to move back toward thernmainstream and subsequently vindicatedrnas the architect of the Million ManrnMarch.rnAnd what of the legion of “gangsta”rnrappers who traffic in a hate so precise itrnillustrates just how cartoonish and illconsideredrnSchott’s remarks really are?rnLooking back at the controversies surroundingrn”artists” like Ice-T and SisterrnSouljah, one is struck by the media’srnLIBERAL ARTSrnTRIAL BY TEMPTATIONrnThe London Weekly Telegraph reportedrnin September that convicted childrnmolesters at a mental institution inrnDurham are being taken to themernparks frequented by tourists in orderrnto assess their ability to restrain themselvesrnin the presence of children. Escortedrnby nurses, the child molestersrnwatch children play in what is knownrnas a “trial by temptation.” The programrnhas provoked complaints fromrnoperators of theme parks who did notrnknow that molesters were beingrnbrought to their establishments, butrnPaul Kilburn, the nursing and qualityrndirector at the asylum, says that “It’srnseeing whether the patients have thernmaturity to cope with the temptationrnand I feel we are acting in a perfectlyrnproper manner.”rnAround the same time, TreverrnHolland, a 52-year-old convictedrnpedophile with a long history of violence,rnescaped from custody during arntrip to a zoo frequented by childrenrnin Sussex. Holland’s supervisors atrnthe Horizon NHS Trust, a mentalrnhospital in Hertfordshire, had allowedrnhim to take trips to the zoo becausern”they considered it was goodrntherapy as he was fond of animals.”rnFEBRUARY 1997/33rnrnrn