The Oracle was a shill!
Residents of famously liberal Park Slope awoke on Election Day to find that the large neon sign atop Pintchik Hardware on Bergen Street was no longer blaring out advice for the lovelorn or telling fortunes from the corner of Flatbush Avenue.
This time, it urged people to vote for the mayor.
“Eliminate illegal guns,” read one of the half-dozen pro-Bloomberg messages.
“Works for $1 per year!” said another.
“Right guy to end pay-to-play,” added a third.
The political partisanship in such an important race is a change for the Oracle, which is known around the city for its sober predictions and even making wedding proposals. It is long rumored that its words are furnished by the greatest writer of his generation, Jonathan Safran Foer, who lives nearby.
But the militantly vegetarian Foer has not revealed if he is supporting the third-term-seeking mayor.
Either way, passers-by immediately noticed the change in the Oracle’s tone.
“I think he — it? — should be non-partisan,” said one customer, who declined to give his name lest the Delphic prognosticator turn on him. “It defeats the purpose of an oracle if it’s picking sides in something so earthly as a political race.”
But the Oracle dip its diodes into politics last year, when it endorsed Civil Court candidate Devin Cohen over Roger Adler, who was dogged by his links to disgraced party boss Clarence Norman.
In that case, the endorsement was likely made by Oracle owner Matt Pintchik, who also runs the Park Slope Volunteer Ambulance Corps and is a well known, jovial political insider in the neighborhood.
Late on Election Day, Pintchik confirmed that he was the man behind the curtain this time, too.
“I took a position,” said Pintchik, a lifelong Democrat. “I don’t usually do it, but we need strong leadership, and Mike has that over [Bill] Thompson.”
He differentiated his political endorsement from the prior work of the Oracle.
“Today’s message was not the Oracle,” he said. “The Oracle comes from a different place.”
©2009 Community News Group
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