On the Cancer of Campus Political Correctness

flowers-pansies-morguefile

I’m not going start this essay by reviewing the definition or history of the term “political correctness.” A fellow named Jesse Walker did a fine job of that a year or so ago.

I’m generally not a politically correct guy. In my writing, if I’m staring down a choice between milquetoast PC conformity and a what I consider (if I say so myself) a clever, pointed, funny, and possibly offensive jab at someone or some group that violates the tenets of PC, the un-PC will usually prevail. It’s not that I violently disagree with PC ideals…but I do have priorities.

More than that, I consider the current brand of PC conformity (or at least the demands for it) on America’s university campuses to be an abomination. Back in my grad school days at UC Davis when PC-ism was just beginning to be taken seriously—if mostly in the liberal arts departments—I was initially of the mind that it was a great idea. It seemed like an attempt to adopt new folkways designed for conversing in ways that were more respectful.

But even then, the dark side of PC was evident. My rude awakening: Walking into a building on campus with one of my über-feminist female grad student colleagues on my heels, I opened and held the door. She stopped in her tracks, backed up a few steps, and fixed a hateful death-glare on me. It took me a second to get it—I was a patriarchal oppressor who, by holding the door, was saying that she was weak and in need of my help. I let go of the door and when it clicked shut she reopened it and entered, still glaring at me.

My immediate reaction was embarrassment—I was literally red-faced with shame. My faux pas was worse than un-PC language…it was un-PC action. I had been exposed as the hayseed west-slope Colorado working-class shit-kicker that I was, with the smell of dung lingering on me no matter how long it had been since I’d kicked a cow pie. I could hear the voice of my people—“My how he growed!”—and imagined that I sounded exactly like that in every conversation with my peers and profs. Forever doomed to be an unsophisticated rube.

But upon reflection—and it didn’t take long—I decided that my grad school colleague was a gold-plated jerk. I had held the door for her just as I would have held the door for anyone, male or female. If PC meant that we had to abandon being nice to each other, I wasn’t going to fully engage.

It got worse. In one animal behavior grad seminar, during a discussion of mating strategies, a fellow grad student claimed that rape didn’t occur in non-humans. This was obviously put on the table to suggest that within the animal kingdom, human males are particularly vile—and believe me, I’m fully on board with that assessment—but I just couldn’t let the untrue factoid stand. I pointed out that forced copulations were well documented in other animals, and that I and another participant sitting at the table had once looked on in shock as three drake mallards drowned a mallard hen while trying to forcibly mate with her, right there on campus. That earned an immediate accusation that I was an advocate of rape. Let me repeat: An advocate of rape.

I turned to the female grad student who had co-witnessed the horror at Putah Creek Pond and gave her a look: You going to say anything? She looked away. Already, in my cohort of grad students, there was a perceived price to pay for taking on academia’s PC proponents.

Finally, the female professor who was proctoring the seminar said, “Forced copulations are well documented in other species. So let’s talk about that.” Bless her…but she was old school.

Reportedly it’s only gotten worse, what with “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” and all of that horse manure. Various forms of “privilege” certainly exist, but you’re not even allowed to ask, “How much does it weigh in a given context?” without violating PC-ism. In my day it was primarily feminists demanding PC conformity. Now everyone needs special treatment. Hell, even angry white males portray themselves as victims these days—everyone needs coddling and protection from being put-upon and offended. Victimhood is the current zeitgeist.

(Please note: I’m not denying that there remain victims of systemic discrimination, but I’m distinguishing that from today’s insidious, destructive, overarching culture of victimhood.)

But there’s hope for academia yet.

This fall, the University of Chicago issued a letter to incoming freshmen that the school does not condone “trigger warnings” prior to lectures so that students can opt to retreat to “safe spaces,” and the university does not cancel talks by visiting lecturers simply because the lecturer’s worldview clashes with those of some students and faculty and may be controversial. The letter says that students should expect to be confronted by lots of ideas, some of which may make them very uncomfortable.

In summary, the letter says that the university the students are entering is a university, not an echo chamber full of cuddle pillows.

Are you paying attention, my beloved University of California system?

Now then: I wrote all of the above fully cognizant that I might be viewed as just another white male whining about political correctness—pining for the days when we could say any rude thing we desired about women, minorities, homosexuals and competitive bird-listers—and not risk a thing. But I’ve been setting the table for the main course that I’ve intended to serve all along:

  1. Bros, you’re right. PC is bullshit. You should be free to say most anything you want.
  1. Dudes, buy a clue. You don’t get to say whatever the heck you want and risk nothing.

What the anti-PC crowd gets right: When the ideals and tools of political correctness fall into the hands of self-appointed censors of ideas, we’re in trouble. Our universities and our news media sheltering us from opinions that might offend us? That is deeply messed up.

What the anti-PC crowd gets wrong: The notion that spewing offensive opinions and abusive insults should have zero consequences is silly. One of our candidates for POTUS regularly denigrates liberals, large women, Mexicans, Muslims, and anyone else his unfocused mind happens to settle upon as a target for his scorn—by last count in August he had insulted 258 people and places on his Twitter account. When he’s criticized for it, the yowling (mostly from my fellow white males) begins: “Political correctness! Thought police! We’re being repressed by the PC crowd!”

No, you flowerbed full of heat-stressed pansies—you don’t deserve or get special protection from the consequences of your noxious proclamations. Nor does your supreme leader, Bonny Prince Flo-Yellow-Silly-String-Weave Tiny-Hands Jerky-Pursed-Lips. Every time I throw an un-PC dart at someone (referring to anti-PC whiners as pansies, for example), I recognize that there may be a price to pay in the currency of offending and alienating many of those pansies—maybe even an important royal-purple-wearing pansy or two.

You and Donald H. Snarkzilla need to recognize that same potential cost. Grow up, broskis.

Steven Towers
Steve Towers is co-owner of a local environmental consultancy. After obtaining his Ph.D. from UC Davis and dabbling as a UCD lecturer, he took a salary job with a Sacramento environmental firm. Sitting in stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50 one afternoon, he reckoned that he was receiving 80 hours of paid vacation per year and spending 520 hours per year commuting to and from work. He and his wife Elise sold their house and moved to Redding three months later, and have been here for more than 20 years. His hobbies include travel, racquet sports, taking the dogs on hikes, and stirring pots. He can be reached at towers.steven@gmail.com
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43 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    Trump is a loud mouth shoot from the hip braggart that makes many of his supporters cringe, despite free speech.  Why is he even close, by many polls, to being competitive with Clinton?  Because Clinton is the quiet behind your back, my non-PC opinion, that spews as many different offensive statements as Trump but she, admittedly, is more refined than Trump as she picks who to offend.  These two are our choices for president.

    And campus PC has snuck onto all campuses of all universities including the University of Wyoming who did beat UC Davis football team a couple of weeks ago, had to throw that in.  All the PC language, good and bad, in the state originates in Laramie.  Sanders rally at UW overflowed the auditorium which gives even more fuel to the “Clinton stole the nomination” feeling in Wyoming.

    And for all those Jill Stein supporters.  Nobody pushing petitions in Wyoming was as pushy as Stein petition gathers shoving their petitions in everyone’s face at gatherings.  While the NORML people quietly walked around with a clipboard and never approached anyone unless asked the Stein crowd would chase people around.

    I think, in my opinion, that this election has brought out the evil twin in everyone.  Can it get any worse?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Cheyenne — My Aggies aren’t what they used to be back when I went to all of their home games. In their defense, two days ago they beat your neighbors to the south, University of Northern Colorado, for their first conference win. (Greeley, you’ll probably recall, is the town of my birth—my dad was a UNC alumnus.)

      As for Clinton spewing as many offensive statements as Trump, I confess I don’t understand your math. But for sure, she’s usually far more selective regarding who she insults (with the exception of the “basket of deplorables” statement, which still stands out because it’s not the norm for her. Trump seems to be raging in all directions at once—he’s like the love child of Don Rickles and a Tasmanian devil.

       

      • cheyenne says:

        Steve, I think you just posted the best name of all.  Tasmanian Donald.  As far as holding doors open, wasn’t it just a couple of years ago a video of a man on a rampage in a Redding fast food because people didn’t thank him for holding the door open was making the rounds.  Or was it because they didn’t hold the door open for him?

        As far as the leaked Clinton emails it seems a lot of Clinton supporters want to dismiss them because Russia supposedly hacked them.  One thing that was public was how the Clinton Foundation helped sell an uranium mine by Gillette to a Russian company.  If Clinton sees no wrong in selling uranium to Russia what can we expect from her as a president.  It’s not what Clinton says so much as what she does.  I don’t trust her.  But if the other choice is Tasmania Donald, America is in a rough spot.

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m a 38 year old woman that opens/holds the door for everyone. I’m just happy when someone says “thank you”. You’d be surprised how many people don’t.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared to speak my mind as I am in this election. I’m an opinionated and passionate person but nobody would know it because I avoid any and all political talking points. It’s just too damn hard. And people are too F-ing judgmental.

     

     

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I, too, am a door opener/holder for everyone.  Just last week, we were traveling and stopped at a restaurant.  I held the door for a group of six who were leaving as we were arriving.  Not a single thank you.  So I said, “You’re welcome,” as the last one passed by.

      We’re attending a neighborhood potluck this afternoon.  Most of the neighbors are voting for X supervisor candidate.  Both of the candidates are friends of mine, and both are very qualified; so I’m still vacillating.  However, because the incumbent did some excellent behind-the-scenes work for her constituents, I wrote a thank-you to her.  My note appeared in her newsletter which was absolutely OK by me.  But now some of my neighbors have taken exception to my giving her credit — as if my compliment could sway anyone’s vote.  So your comment about people being so judgmental has hit home with me.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Ladies — Nothing freaks me out like the drumbeat we’ve been hearing for about 25 years regarding political opponents:  They’re crooks, traitors, war criminals.  They need to be impeached, imprisoned, shot.  That kind of poisonous rhetoric has in turn poisoned the political landscape such that running for office is about as attractive as voluntarily submitting to a public vivisection.  Maybe worse, it makes good people like yourselves afraid to speak your opinions, for fear of being ostracized, and maybe even for fear of retribution.  When people are afraid to speak up, it suggests that we may be quickly lurching toward totalitarianism.

        I blame the proliferation of news media outlets, in large part, for the divisiveness and intolerance.  I mentioned echo chambers above—more than ever, people choose to get their news in the form of spittle-flecked opinions from sources that affirm their current (often fringe) beliefs, and that lead them further into the woods.  When I was young, the local newspaper and Walter Cronkite weren’t encouraging people to be rabidly partisan to the point of craziness.

        • K. Beck says:

          “Ladies?”

          All of what used to be “news sources” are owned by “media companies” like Disney. Companies that sell entertainment, and do not report news. We no longer have “news” we have “entertainment.”

  3. Rod says:

    Political Correctness defies definition.  Look it up.  Everyone knows about it and can state an opinion of the definition relative to what does it mean to myself.

    In as much as the topic operates below the radar of understanding,  What exactly is political correctness?

    A short version might be……Correctness has absolutely no base in politics.  Correctness seems to be the mental state of things being good and wholesome.  Politics (today) is junk.  By my memory, never have I been so disappointed with the presidential campaigns.  I’m not alone on that.  It boils down to possibly meaning –worthless dreams.

    When PC is used to influence an American Presidential Election, as it is being used by both Hillary and the 1st Lady,  dignity and self-respect are non-existent.  Fear and loathing of an accused male for being a male,  gets perverted beyond common sense.

    I like lockerroom banter between like-minded people,  I sure wouldn’t want it making headlines.  We’ve all heard plenty of he said/she said.  How that becomes interesting to anyone escapes me.

     

  4. Barbara says:

    Wondered about the picture of pansies. Love the connection. (Although they might be Johnny Jump Ups.)

    Always enjoy your columns.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      You’re right—those are Johnny Jump-Ups (violas).  As a biologist, though, I’m a taxonomic lumper.  All of the pansies and violas are members of the genus Viola.   Bedding pansies were developed by hybridizing wild Johnny Jump-Ups (Viola tricolor) and mountain pansy (Viola lutea).  To me—the lumper—they’re all violas (or pansies).

  5. Denise O says:

    When all else fails, at LEAST be polite, I would suggest. Past that, it is getting weird out here in TV Land.

    We are so blessed to be alive at a time of great awakening, that is the Truth that I center back toward every time I try to ponder all this.

    I’ll be 60 this coming spring and  things are changing in a big way.  My formative years were the 60’s so it’s so cool to flow with it.

    I’VE changed in big ways and I’m so glad. I see others, men and women, in different colors (rainbow to sienna) so much differently than how I was socialized to think of them.

    For me, it’s about holding the picture of who we were meant to be. I actually laugh when I hear the Make America Great slogan, because we’re so much better now. It’s time we knew that.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      It’s pretty clear that “Make America Great Again” is code for “Put Things Back The Way They Were.”  And not in a good way, in many respects.

      For those who have zero sympathy for Trump’s supporters, though, I suggest you read this opinion.  It makes some cogent points about what it’s like to know that life is steadily growing more difficult for you and yours, and nobody seems to give a hot damn, or pays any attention except to occasionally tell you that it’s what you deserve, and/or to mock you.

       

      • K. Beck says:

        All of everything said in the opinion you asked us to read could be said about Redding and many other cities in the central valley of CA. It all has to do with poverty. An no way to get out of poverty. And having those people who are able to get a half way decent job treating you like you are scum. You don’t have to go to a “red state” to see this. Just look around you in your very own city/county.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          The article that I linked does make the point that it’s not red vs. blue states, but red vs. blue census tracts. We may be a blue state, but most of Shasta County and the surrounding counties are decidedly red, and our local economies reflect those of other rural red areas. In our case, the single industry that went down the tubes is the timber industry—the lumber mills closed.

          Just last week while driving through Weaverville, I wondered aloud to my wife how it would impact the town if the big SPI mill were to close. I assumed that it’d be devastating, but if online info is to be believed, the mill employs just 5-9 people. That boon to America’s productivity but enemy of the working class: robotics.

          • Denise O says:

            That article!!!  Y’ouch. I identify with the writer in that I too am from a flaming red county in Illinois. I have other related thoughts.

            Back in my small town, most everybody WAS Democrat, except for the people who lived in the big houses along the river. It was the 1964 Civil Rights bill, heavily carried by Dems that changed a lot. Read into that however you want, but stats will back me up. In the few years following, lots of previously Democratic working class became Republican.

            That time period was the start of the scramble for resources, along with Big Business (usually Republican) demon-ization of unions. Which, ironically, was the working man’s ticket out of the Dust Bowl. Bye bye Unions bye bye working wage.

            The other big message in that time & place was, “Go to college, I did and look at me, I own a corporation”. So lots more people did, then found out later we can’t all be landowners, accountants, lawyers and teachers.  Turns out we need laborers.

            The other thing I’ve realized when people live in non-urban settings is they are not rule followers, which is not a bad thing always. Certainly, it helps me begin to understand a Trump supporter. Some of them are very good friends who I don’t find fit the profile of the deplorables at all.

          • K. Beck says:

            Give up the “red” and the “blue,” give up “PC” and not “PC.” All of this is about the haves and the have nots. As long as we fight about titles nothing will ever be resolved. We “needed,” past tense, laborers. The jobs that have been outsourced since the early ’80s are gone forever. Those jobs are being replaced by robots. We are looking at a whole new world order. Somehow, I do not believe the US Government is up to the task of dealing with this on any level. No matter who is President. Seems to me things are going to get a lot worse (more have nots, less haves) before anything gets better.

            I am tired of hearing about the timber industry. They created their own demise. Clear cut until every tree is gone and what do you have left? Nothing. Trees can be replanted and harvested. They didn’t, and still don’t, want to be bothered with such things. Slash and burn. That is their motto. They are still at it: http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2016/08/19/norcal-timber-conflicts-flare-up-environmentalists-call-for-relief/ I feel badly for the people who lost their jobs, but have absolutely NO sympathy for the lumber barons. Why no other industry came to the area is an open question which still has not been answered.

          • JeffG says:

            The mill may only employ 5-9, but how many truck drivers deliver the raw material and carry the finished goods away?  How many mechanics fix those trucks?  How many loggers cut the trees?  How many survey the land ahead of time?  How many landowners enjoy a royalty for their timber harvested by hired hands?  How many boots and jeans and pickups are sold to those indirectly working for the mill?

          • Boojum14 says:

            Steve, the mill in Weaverville is owned by Trinity River Lumber Company, rather than SPI. Though it is a modern mill, I’m confident it employs many more than 5-9 people; a 2009 Searchlight story about a fire that destroyed its previous incarnation indicated that 130 people were temporarily out of work due to the fire. SPI has a small office of foresters and other folks that manage its lands in the area – that is probably where the online figure of 5-9 employees came from.

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            Boojum14 — Yeah, the 5-9 people employed at that mill really doesn’t pass the sniff test, right? You could probably drive by on any working day, count how many pick-up trucks are parked inside the gates, have yourself a decent estimate of how many folks work there. And yeah, I found out after I’d posted that the mill is owned by Trinity River Lumber. You’re almost certainly right about the SPI headcount.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I actually linked the second part of that article entitled How Half of America Lost It’s F***ing Mind, and I can’t correct it, so the link in this sentence gets you to Part 1.

      • Amanda says:

        Thanns for that link Steve. That was a very good opinion piece. I agree wholeheartedly. The only thing I think he left out were the many voters voting Trump because Hillary is the alternative.

  6. A Brady says:

    My talented daughter that quilts created a beautiful wall-hanging with pink-flowered fabric and subtle lace trim that says: **** the Patriarchy.

    I am a proud mother. But if a man holds the door for me, I thank them and then hold it for the next person.

  7. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    One of my favorite Nietzsche quotes is, “Suppose truth was a woman. What then?” What Nietzsche meant was, suppose the then male-dominated world of truth-seekers began pursuing truth like they chase women. The history professor who introduced me to the quote warned the class in advance, because by then, 1992, feminists had turned all such phrases into an a priori insult. I should have been born in the 19th century.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      One of my friends suggested on Facebook the other day that we’re far too negative, because we live in the best era in history (because technology? He didnt’ elaborate.) He can have it. In my fantasies, I’m a biology professor at UC Berkeley in the last decade of the 19th century and first two decades of the 20th century. You took a ferry to get to San Francisco. To get to Sacramento, you took a paddlewheel ferry up the Sacramento River. From there, you packed into the high Sierra where you pitched a camp for the summer. There are pictures of those guys—the UCB naturalists—sitting outside their huge canvas tents in their field suits, looking very Indiana Jones, smoking pipes and sipping bourbon, writing up their field notes from the day for later publications as monographs. You can’t convince me that it’s ever been better.

      • trek says:

        Give a guess as to how many workers got those “pansy” ass biologist up them mountains and into those fancy tents. I’m pretty sure they didn’t walk, cut wood, hunt, cook or clean for themselves. Not saying they weren’t paid labors but modern day man would most likely die out in the wilds of their times for any extended duration. One can dream through.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Workers? They hired packers to get them in and out, and maybe there was a camp cook. For the rest, it’s a long-standing tradition—grad students do all the hard, boring work, for free. Even so, I think you underestimate the toughness of those old-school naturalists—they were the grad students once, and paid their dues.

  8. cheyenne says:

    America still needs laborers, but skilled ones.  Caterpillar in Illinois made the news because it was spending $15,000 to a head hunter agency to find skilled factory workers.  Students at LCCC here in Cheyenne that are in the two year diesel mechanic courses have jobs waiting for them when graduating.  Wall Street 24/7 estimates employment in the wind industry will increase 108% in the next ten years.  LCCC has windmill classes to graduate windmill laborers.  With all the windmills around here and the new ones proposed, a 300 unit windfarm was just approved for the northeastern Colorado plains, wind employment will increase.  24/7 estimated the solar industry employment will increase a third in the next ten years.  The beetle killed timber here has reopened closed sawmills.  The reopened sawmill in Saratoga received a $50,000 grant to train sawmill workers.  Laborers will always be needed but they have to learn skills to work in the new economy.

    When the unions died the apprentice programs did too.  The new apprentice programs are the community colleges.

    • K. Beck says:

      “Skilled laborers” are not “laborers.” If you look at the definition of  “laborer” you get this: a person doing unskilled manual work for wages: a farm laborer.

      Community colleges are EXPENSIVE!

      Why isn’t Caterpiller willing to foot the bill for training it’s employees instead of paying a head hunter?

      Virgina is correct, “Not everyone is geared for college of any kind.” Especially those with learning disabilities, kids whose first language is not English, kids coming from families in poverty, with parents who didn’t finish high school, etc. No two people are alike. DNA has shown us not even “identical twins” are identical. I have been collecting stories about people with dyslexia who have been able to get good jobs, many of those jobs they created themselves because in school they were considered dumb. Many didn’t even finish high school. We need to start treating people as individuals, one size does NOT fit all!

      • cheyenne says:

        Laborer or labourer works in the construction trade, ie; carpenter, roofer, plumber, etc.  Outside of construction laborers do road paving, snow plowing, dig graves, repair vehicles, etc.  Laborers use blasting equipment, hand and air and power tools and small heavy equipment

        Before the unions demise an uneducated person straight out of high school could start at the bottom as an apprentice and learn a trade into a better secure future.  Now the apprentice programs are the community colleges and there are grants, loans, to pay for the costs.  Trucking companies will train CDL drivers free in return for a commitment to work for the company for at least a year, my son did that.  For college there are scholarships, my youngest daughter did that.  For others there is military service, my oldest daughter did that.  All three graduated Anderson High and like many of their classmates left to further their education.  All three returned to Shasta County only to find a nothing job market.  They left for Seattle, Omaha and Phoenix.

        The problem in Shasta County is no jobs for laborers or educated workers.

  9. Virginia says:

    Not everyone is geared for college of any kind.  They may not have the desire, the will, the motivation, or the smarts for “book” work.  In my day and my son’s day, there were high schools who were technical high schools.  They taught the basics and the trades.  They kids could leave with a high school diploma, and then they could get a job when they graduated at 18.

    What is coming out now is not kids who can get jobs out the door, but they have to go to community colleges to learn what was taught in a tech hi.   We pay a fortune for education, but not the right education for most of the kids.  Also, one hears they are too good to work in the trades.  That is for the over the border people!

    How “not smart” of the P.C. or anyone else who thinks kids today need college to get a job that pays well, if they had the “old days” of smarts they would change some things back.  Sometimes new is not “new”, but old revised to work today.

  10. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    That’s for a thought provoking article R.V.  I embrace Political Correctness for how it has changed the work place for many people.  The sorts of insults I experienced early in my working life are no long accepted.  Being glowered at because you make a PC faux pas isn’t the same as being hounded out of a job because of being ….different.  Or being judged at your job not by your performance but by your difference.  I haven’t heard a ethnic, sexist or racial joke in the work place for years.  And that it a good thing for the victims of jokes and comments and for the people who may be learning that disrespecting other people is wrong.

    I’ve loved reading your articles for some time.  You may write about the stupidity of someone’s behavior or poke fun at someone for something for which they are responsible,  but you have never resorted to language that denigrates someone for something over which they have no control.

    By the way, in the U.S. Oriental refers to carpets and food.  Asians are people.  Except in the U.K. where Asians are people  from China, Japan and neighboring countries and Orientals are people  from the middle east.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Joanne—I accept your confusion as a high compliment.  I wrote the piece.

      • Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

        I do apologize to both you Steve and R.V. for my error.  The second to last paragraph applies to you too, which is why I read everything you write.

        • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

          Well, as I said, I took it as a compliment. And I’m guessing R.V. appreciates your apology following the insult. :::winks:::

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I embrace civility, too—though I don’t typically bite my tongue when an uncivil person is in the room. I certainly accept all of the changes in the workplace that you describe as important progress. And you’re right—being glowered at didn’t harm me in any substantive way. The target of this essay was the brand of PC-ism that attempts to shield people from ideas that they may find jarring, shutting down legitimate discussion.

      I’m a strong believer in feminism. At the same time, I’ve more than once attempted to participate in online discussions where every single thing I say is dismissed as “mansplaining.” It’s not that I can’t take a dissenting opinion—if you know me, you know that I seek good debate and I enjoy playing devil’s advocate, even with the like-minded—a curse that I inherited from my Dad. My problem is that the term “mansplaining” as it’s often used is intellectually empty, cheaply dismissive, and lazy. It’s a sledgehammer way of saying “STFU.” I’ve seen it used properly to good effect—against yours truly, included—to describe a man explaining something to a woman in a condescending way. But a useful neologism has increasingly come to mean, on the internet, “men saying things to, or about, women.” When the word is used at every turn to censure a guy because he’s taking issue with ideas expressed by women, the term is reduced to pure bullscheisse. ”

      From another angle:  If I were to engage a woman in a conversation in which I responded to each salient point she made with, “You’re just being emotional, honey,” and she eventually said, “You’re right,” and threw her glass of red wine in my face, I’d have earned it.

    • K. Beck says:

      Joanne: I agree about the work place. I grew up in the 50’s, got my first full time job in the late 60s after graduating JC. Things are better now, but I think all the “woman as objects” thoughts, racist/ethnic/sexist  jokes have gone underground and are not really “gone.” At least not from our generation of men. I think that is why we have the resulting firestorm  from the “Trump  Tapes.”

  11. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    “However, in the U.K.”

     

  12. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thanks for a great article Steve.

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