Lead photo via Youtube user Boston City TV
A Boston, Massachusetts zoning board meeting took a strange turn on Tuesday, when discussion about the proposed site of a new medical marijuana dispensary was interrupted by a not-so-funny comedian, who used his time on the public mic to — in what he would later call "satire" — disparage combat veterans suffering from PTSD, wheelchair-bound Bostonians, and women recovering from breast cancer.
In a rant that would only seem appropriate on a 4Chan message board or e-gaming flame war, Oliver Curme, a Back Bay resident and retired venture capitalist, caught the entire zoning board meeting by surprise, with multiple board members attempting to cut off Curme’s diatribe.
"All of my friends and I are against this because it will bring undesirable elements into the neighborhood,” Curme said. “There are Army vets with PTSD and we don’t want them in the neighborhood; just give me a break, they can get over it. The second thing is people with wheelchairs, with MS or whatever. And the third one is women with breast cancer. They always have that cadaverous look and they wear those ridiculous turbans…For goodness sake, Newbury Street is our high end shopping district. We don’t want people like that scaring off the clientele."
And while written down that may seem like a joke, Curme failed to change his tone to fit the sarcasm, and refused to hint at his allegedly satirical aims until after the meeting was over.
Because the dispensary was being proposed on Boston’s Newbury Street — the city’s wealthiest retail block — a number of real comments at the zoning meeting carried a similar, but serious tone — minus the cancer and MS comments, of course.
“We believe that such a use would not be in the best interest of the neighborhood…We have serious concerns about traffic, deliveries, and the precedent this could set for the neighborhood of Back Bay,” said a woman who spoke immediately before Curme, before referring to the proposed location as “arguably Boston’s premier retail street.”
In context, Curme’s satire makes a little more sense, but with Donald Trump and the alt-right bringing bigotry back en vogue on a national scale, we just wish he would have let someone in on the joke.
After the zoning board meeting, Curme told reporters from NBC Boston about his real intentions with the off-color speech.
"The point that I was trying to make is a marijuana dispensary is going to bring in people who really need this — people who are sick, people who have cancer or some other thing, and this is the only choice for them," Curme said. "If you listen to what I said it was so over the top that I think it’s the only way (my comments) could have been construed."
Whether they thought it was sarcasm, satire, or just the ramblings of an old man trying to “make America great again,” the zoning board was not down with marginalizing veterans or breast cancer survivors, approving the Newbury Street dispensary location in a unanimous vote.