March 09, 2007

I'm Okay - You're Not

I'm glad to see that Ann Althouse is still talking about the Hmong students' hissy fit over at UW Madison. Most recently she quoted extensively from an Isthmus piece on same (the Isthmus is the weekly leftist paper up here).

Not too long ago cases like this got me all stirred up. I'm tempted to say that I'm older and wiser now but the truth is, crap like this happens far too often for me to get all apoplectic every time without running the risk of blowing out a major artery or something. I get steamed, but not quite livid.

The story is pretty much always the same: A professor tries to fan the dim and flickering flame of intellect he sees in his students and makes the tragic mistake of not using "I'm Okay You're Okay" language. The little Marlos and Phils get an attack of the vapors from hearing such hateful words and go whinging off to the dean who, typically, says, "There, there, my little lambs" as he announces to the world that such slights against their feelings will not be tolerated.

Cue outrage from the vast majority of Everyone Else In The World who can't believe that such weak-minded crybabies are going to enter the adult workforce so ill-prepared to co-exist with their fellow man without having somebody to whom they can run and blubber. The latter assertions, sadly, miss the point that these sensitive muffins will likely live and work their entire lives within arms length of any number of willing wet nurses who will file lawsuits on their behalf every time their precious feelings are bruised. Such a world does indeed exist.

It certainly exists in punk rock - and especially on the West Coast, where witch hunts of this type have been conducted with regularity as long as I can remember. Even in a subculture that on the face of it would seem to be a bit more muscular, these sorts of Romper Room antics thrive (at least in the fertile soil of the SF Bay area). You'd be right if you pointed out that punk is as much a fantasy world as college life, but one can conceivably earn a living in punk - it's hard to be a professional student.

As it is, nobody's career was ever on the line when some punk dingbat who read too much Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi decided that those of us who weren't gay were de facto rapists. And there were always enough people in punk who loathed such nonsense that it really was and is relegated to the absolute lunatic fringes. As many times as I've been targeted in the crosshairs of some delicate flower who didn't care for my choice of words and who tried to sabotage some this or that of mine, it's never actually worked.

Similarly, I doubt that Prof. Kaplan's career is in jeopardy, at least in terms of him potentially losing his job. What likely has happened to his career is that the joy has been sucked out of it. Henceforth, if he has any brains at all, he'll be tiptoeing through the tulips that populate his classroom. And that's what the whiners really want more than anything: they long to watch you go gently into that good night.

Here's hoping he tells them all to go to hell, and here's understanding when he doesn't...


Posted by benweasel at 09:02 AM