Column: Latest antics make Prinzing a worthy recipient of criticism

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Poor Malcolm Prinzing.

He spent his Social Security check on a mass mailing to District 241 residents, and all for nothing. The excess levy passed anyway. He’s being sued by State Sen. Grace Schwab for defamation of character, and he may have to send her a lot more of his Social Security checks. With all that postage, his legal bills, and all the taxes he has to pay, perhaps we should take up a collection for him, so that he can afford to buy some cans of Spam, a bag of pinto beans and some rice. We wouldn’t want him to starve to death.

But then again, if he gets into financial difficulties because of his actions in this community (an improbable reality), perhaps it’s only just. His use of false and misleading information to attack the levy at the last minute was not fair. Which isn’t to say that sort of thing doesn’t work. How much responsibility for the defeat of the excess levy in the Glenville-Emmons School District lies with the last minute mailing from the Mayor of Glenville? Last minute negative campaigning can bring short-term results, but in the long run, it brands you as someone who isn’t interested in free and fair public debate.

Email newsletter signup

In Albert Lea, though, despite Prinzing’s propaganda about the Ford facility and the quality of education in District 241, the levy did pass &045; both questions, even, with comfortable margins.

Now normally, someone who isn’t a politician (or a journalist) doesn’t get criticized in public by me. But Prinzing has made himself into a public figure with his antics. His latest mailing was only the most recent example.

And what about the information in that mailing? He insinuated that school systems that get more money don’t perform well. Are we supposed to accept the opposite as true, then? Does less funding mean better schools? Minnesota’s statewide school system is regularly ranked among the top three academically in the United States. We didn’t get there by putting the interests of taxpayers like Malcolm Prinzing before those of children and society.

Prinzing also complained about pretty much everything the local schools have done or are doing. When you look at his basic stance, however, he mainly is obsessed with taxes; from what he has said in public, I’m guessing he doesn’t really want to make any financial contributions to the quality of life in the community &045; just his own private quality of life. But since his businesses seem to be doing okay despite the &uot;heavy burden&uot; of taxes, maybe taxes aren’t as big a problem as he believes.

But there’s something else about Prinzing that is significant. Only rarely is a person’s livelihood noteworthy, but Prinzing’s businesses are components of the sex industry in the United States. And his &uot;business&uot; interests are quite relevant when discussing his opposition to school funding.

Many of the women (and men) who work as &uot;models&uot; in the sex industry do so because they don’t have any other options. All they have is their beautiful bodies. It’s in the economic interest of those involved in the sex industry to increase the supply of women (and men) who aren’t particularly well educated, who have few to no job skills, but who are desperate enough for work that they will take off their clothes in front of other people. Prinzing referred to hiring employees with graduate degrees in his mailing about the levy. They probably have good jobs. But I don’t think that many of the people whose bodies appear in pornographic magazines or who &uot;act&uot; in adult videos have masters’ degrees or PhDs. I doubt they even have college degrees.

The human body is a marvelous thing. In the creation story in Genesis, when God finished making the human body, it is described as &uot;very good.&uot; There is nothing to be ashamed of in nakedness; our bodies are part of who we are. But that doesn’t make displaying human nakedness for profit right &045; no matter how much money we can make by doing it.

So Prinzing is welcome to his opinions on school funding. But the next time he raises his voice on anything about schools, consider the source.

David Rask Behling is a rural Albert Lea resident. His column appears Tuesdays.