Arts & Entertainment

Amid Trump's Garden State Vacation, Rutgers Professor Blasts Anti-Jersey Jokers

Brian Murphy, a Rutgers professor, defended New Jersey this weekend in a national column. Credits: Rutgers University

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers University may tout its global reach, but this weekend one of its professors went to bat for its Jersey Roots.

Brian Murphy, a history professor and director of the Honors College at Rutgers' Newark campus, wrote a column for Politico Magazine on the Garden State, its presidential history and its rich—if often mocked—culture.

The sharp-tongued story didn't come without provocation.

Sign Up for E-News

National media began throwing jabs at New Jersey after news of President Donald Trump's two-week vacation in Bedminster, down the road in Somerset County, hit the airwaves. Most notably, the Boston Globe tarred the state, labeling it “the land of spray tans” and quoting befuddled public officials who couldn't imagine why anyone would turn their cheek to the pricey and exclusive shores of New England. The piece was just one of several condescending attacks on Jersey in the press and social media.

But Murphy wasn't having it.

Channeling anger expressed by many New Jerseyans on Twitter, Murphy quickly noted the state's long history as a presidential getaway. He counted James Garfield, Ulysses Grant, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford Hayes, William McKinley, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln and, of course, Woodrow Wilson among the nation's leaders who once vacationed here.

The Scarlet Knight history buff also listed some of the state's impressive history. John Philip Sousa, he noted, wrote the “Congress Hall March” after playing a week of concerts in 1882 with the Marine Corps Band in Cape May.

Yet perhaps the most powerful part of Murphy's takedown centered not on academics and history, but on his own Jersey grit.

He wrote that he believes Trump is breaking norms and undermining faith in institutions and “probably doesn't really deserve a vacation” based on his lack of accomplishments.

“But the idea that a president vacationing in New Jersey is itself a sign of national decline? Please spare me,” Murphy added.

“The real point [the Boston Globe writers] are making isn't really a historical one about presidential travel,” the Paterson native said. “Instead it's about how exclusive some of these past retreats have been.”

The problem outsiders have with New Jersey, Murphy argues, is that it isn't etched into the American consciousness as some ritzy, glamorous hideaway. Its “beautiful state parks” and public beaches are affordable and often easily accessible, he said. Diners can opt for high-end seafood dishes or a greasy cheese steak, and they can put 'em down while binge-watching “The Sopranos,” one of TV's all-time greats.

And Murphy's opinion on spray tans, muscle shirts and the MTV show “Jersey Shore” and its cast? No biggie. Most of them are from out of state anyway.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Details Emerge about Nutley Resident's Rally to Add Armed Guards to Public Schools

March 19, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Details of the 'Rally to Protect Our Children,' a citizen organized effort to add armed guards to all Nutley Public Schools are emerging. The rally will take place at the same time as the '#NeverAgain March for Our Lives' taking place in cities across the country. 

TAPinto Nutley first broke the news of the rally March 13 in a report about ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

March 18, 2018

March 12, 2018 – March 18, 2018

On March 14, 2018 at 11:41 a.m., Ptl. Christopher Heck stopped a vehicle after observing that the operator was not wearing a seatbelt. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of a 23 year old female passenger from Woodland Park for possession of marijuana. She was processed and released with a summons to appear in municipal court.

On March 14, 2018 ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 19, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other

Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Financial Seminar

Business & Finance

Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Understanding Liver Disease

Health & Wellness

LEGO Drive Benefiting Kids with Cancer

March 16, 2018

A good friend of mine lost his son to cancer at age 10 a few years back. His name was Paul Jimenez aka "Paulie". Since his loss, the family has started a foundation called "Paulie Strong" to help raise awareness and donations for those in need. This March, they are holding a LEGO drive for children with cancer. 

All LEGO sets collected will be donated to the Pediatrics ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...