"The icons are falling."- Dean Kemph on 9/14/2016

GA is very, very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of local genius/political humorist, Dean Kemph.

My sincerest condolences to his family and those who knew him, loved him, respected him.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

In tribute to Dean below, GA will republish one of his brilliant, hilarious takes on Hoboken politics that Grafix Avenger originally published on April 27, 2010.   It's called, " A word of political praise from Citizen Dean..."   In my last Facebook exchange with Dean 11 days ago, I recited a line from his piece and wrote: "See, I remember that line 6 years later, that is how good it was."

The subject of Dean's wry observations was Hoboken411 political ghostwriter Lane Bajardi; specifically, Bajardi's appearances at Hoboken City Council and the Hoboken Board of Education to protest content on this blog.

Dean's commentary addressed how Bajardi carried around color copies of a political graphic* he had downloaded from Grafix Avenger to public meetings to pass out to Councilpersons and BoE Trustees.  (In 2012, Bajardi and wife Kim Cardinal, would sue almost 2 dozen Hoboken Reform bloggers claiming to be "defamed" by their political free speech.  They lost and were ordered to pay their victims' enormous legal fees).  
*the illustration protested BoE candidates' call to let a federal stimulus grant expire instead of using it to buy laptops for students.
Dean Kemph's 2010 essay responded to these two unhinged public performances:

Here is it is:

A word of political praise from Citizen Dean...

While my candid comments on the Hoboken political scene have been deservedly cast as generally critical, often questioning the judgments and motives of competing factions, I do feel compelled upon occasion to give credit where it’s due. So today I extend congratulations to Lane Bajardi, who recently garnered the coveted Disorderly Person distinction from local law enforcement authorities; thereby gaining official recognition for the title he has informally held for the past year. The events leading to this honor were generally inspired by his obsession with his latest raison d’excrement, the poop pics which he now carries on his person like a naval officer with the nuclear codes. Unfortunately, his efforts to display the offending graphics have not met with widespread enthusiasm; rumor has it that he has even been unable to convince Beth Mason to take a gander. His inability to impact the indignation index at the Council meeting only fueled his outhouse outrage, and he barely had his hand into his briefcase/surrogate toilet before he was unceremoniously dumped from the BOE meeting. Understandably, he has fared even less favorably setting up his overhead projector on the dinner party circuit.

While I applaud the courageous imperviousness to crap that Lane displayed during the mayoral run, I also caution Mr. Bajardi that others are not always similarly inclined. Regardless of the public’s sensibilities towards the subject graphic parody, it may be time to realize that his campaign has not demonstrated much citywide…er…movement. The townsfolk seem to be suggesting that the last thing they need is Lane Bajardi intentionally attempting to trigger the collective repulsion reflex; possibly feeling that he has done that enough inadvertently. With so much left to complain about, the town needs his undivided attention focused on general criticism before he tailspins forever into the bowels of this one issue. Despite this setback, I remain confident that Lane will be able to flush it from his system and come up smelling like a rose.

Dean Kemph

Nobody wrote sharper, funnier political satire than Dean Kemph.  

R.I.P., Dean.


  1. Well this is terrible. I am so sorry for his wife and family.

  2. I didn't know him personally, but I'm sorry to read of his passing.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Wow. I thought Horsey's comment was totally appropriate. All he said was that they got along even though they disagreed which is a tribute to Dean.

      In my opinion, it is this diatribe that is inappropriate in a tribute to Dean, not Horsey's benign comment here.

    3. What I wrote, and decline to see below that hot mess:

      I loved Brother Dean and it didn't matter whether we agreed or disagreed on any number of issues.

      Mostly we agreed on the importance of Constitutional freedoms and he was a staunch supporter of the First Amendment and political speech.


      Of all days to show intolerance for honoring democratic values. Shameful.

    4. "I will probably regret unloading like this..." I do and have asked GA to take down my post. This is only about Dean, even though I still stand by my comments,just for another time and place.

    5. I stand ready to take on all comers, anytime, anywhere, especially face to face.
      Brother Dean will be a witness. God bless his soul.

  4. I am grateful for those who can see and express the humor in the often highly charged politics of Hoboken.

  5. You have to hand it to him. The man could wear a Hawaiian shirt. It's a skill.

    There was this joy about Dean that transcended the differences, most of them anyway, which he freely acknowledged between himself and others.

    Not stupid, unearned joy, but a real acceptance that there is enough of a reservoir of good in the other person to make the conversation worth continuing however sharp the discord; and that the world had given him more than enough so that some forbearance was only fair.

    As satirists (to be honest, I prefer 'wise ass' myself) we overlapped in the window of peak lunacy in Hoboken, Dean writing his last few pieces as I was writing my first few. One never needed to look very hard for material (woe is you). It was all a matter of what we made of it. Dean's work was polished, lean and hilarious. It was also the work of a man, who unlike a lot of us, had his name out there. When Dean tweaked a pol or a pol's flak, he signed it. He wasn't going to keep two sets of books. It was something that came with those Hawaiian shirts.

    Though we pinged a bit on FB, I think I only met him once - at Dawn's celebration in Columbus Park in November 2009. I had recently written a piece that included a giant malevolent dog named Buster. Dean's first words to me, seeing my little waifish 15 lb jack was, "Is this Buster?" I said something like, well I had to extrapolate a little. It was very cool to be read and recalled by Dean. If you haven't written, you really wouldn't know, but it is. Kind of like Derek Jeter saying, nice play, kid.

    I can't believe I am now having to write this. But here we are with something very sweet and fine and exemplary and funny as hell taken away even as we are barely ready to guess how we'll get through the next four years with our full complement of sweet, fine, exemplary, funny as hell souls. But I know how I'm going to start. I'll see you at the memorial. I'll be the one in the Hawaiian shirt.

    1. Gorgeous. I well remember that meeting in the park, post-inauguration. (I may have even brokered it, because I s-o-o wanted the two of you to meet.) I will see you Sat. In Hawaiian shirt-inspired colors, to honor beloved Dean.

  6. Dean was a hilarious, witty, brilliant and courageous writer. Whenever there was a new issue bubbling up, I often waited with baited breath for the essay I knew was coming, that was percolating and forming in that hysterical head of his as his fingers flashed across the keys while laughing at his own jokes, I'm sure. On a more personal note, Dean was a friend to me during some very dark times, and his compassion was profound, genuine and generous to a fault. He was the kind of friend who showed up, who bore witness when others abandoned, and who stayed as long as necessary. He could be a great and witty orator, but he was just as good a listener. Oh my dear friend of 30 years, I am going to miss you just so so much. I was going to call you last week but I procrastinated. But I know you forgive me, wherever you are. I love you and am devastated that you are gone.

  7. I find it wonderful that especially in these incredibly polarized times, that the commentators here can get over their acrimony and act like human beings. InfotainMe's comment about the reservoir of good in people we may disagree with is something we should all keep in mind as we interact with others.

    1. But it is sad that "Trump" has come be the new swastika symbol for his white nationalist, kkk, anti-semitic basket of deplorables.

    2. I guess Anon.10:43 still is hanging on some acrimony.


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