01/17/2006 01:57 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hot Chocolate

Almost every media outlet by now has covered the most provocative quotes in NO Mayor Ray Nagin's King Day remarks--the ones about God wanting NO once again to be a "chocolate city". Few have provided the context--this was an awkward attempt to address a real concern, the fear many black residents have of a conspiracy to deracinate the city (some commenters here have expressed that concern). Fewer still have drawn attention to the way this Creole cable-television executive chose suddenly to talk like a black preacher. And none have drawn the obvious lesson: if you're not a really talented improviser, better to not ad-lib remarks that will be broadcast, at least in part, around the world.
UPDATE: The Mayor has apologized fully and abjectly today, probably relieved that Hillary Clinton saved him from a much more acidic national media bath.
LATE UPDATE: Anderson Cooper spent the first 45 minutes of 360 tonight on Nagin's remarks--with a little time carved out for Hillary. The upside of thie controversy: we finally got to see Rev. Al Sharpton (on Hardball) and Rev. Jesse Jackson oon TV again. The journalistic downside: Cooper's show identified (my friend) Julia Reed as a "New Orleans native". Somebody buy CNN a subscription to Google. Check the first sentence of the first hit.