It’s been a busy week here in the P.C. States of America, with everybody defending everybody else’s right to be offended, with the usual head-spinning results. Let’s start at Ohio State University, which just fired the director of its world-renowned marching band for allowing hazing and sexual harassment to go on amidst its ranks. (You may have seen the band’s halftime tribute to Michael Jackson on YouTube last year.) One practice decried in a university report was the assignment of nicknames to new band members — nicknames that the university deemed degrading, such as “Jizzy” and “Twinkle Dick,” according to the august Chronicle of Higher Ed. Among the objectionable monikers the report cited was “Jwoobs,” given to a female Jewish student with large breasts.
The woman nicknamed “Jwoobs” — she herself spells it “Joobs,” thank you very much — wrote an open letter to the university last week saying that she used to be very happy being called that — until her school “turned a lighthearted joke and rookie name given to me by my row mates with my full consent into something shameful.” In fact, she says, her best friends still call her Joobs. She’s not alone in her objections to the university’s action in firing the director: An online petition demanding his reinstatement has 7,000-plus signatures. His supporters have raised more than $13,000 for him, and a group of mostly female band alumni is marching across the state to demand that he be given back his job.
In her open letter, the alumna, Alexandra Clark, wrote, “Ohio State clearly had no interest in learning anything about these strong, intelligent women and instead decided that their delicate feminine sensibilities needed to be defended by adding their names to a list of things they feel the Buckeye community should feel disgusted and ashamed about.” Doesn’t sound like Clark needs much protection, but never fear: The university is sure to ignore alumni pleas for leniency toward the director, since the federal government stands ready to stomp down with heavy fines for such assaults on their sensibilities. Thank God we have people like Senator Claire McCaskill to defend Clark against the epidemic of campus sexual assault.
But that’s not the only discrimination the federal government is busy fighting. A course planned at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee has been cancelled after objections from some of the folks it was intended to aid. The course would have offered “accent modification” for the Southerners on staff, so they could be more easily understood in their highly technical field. Y’all can imagine how said Southerners felt about the possibility of their distinctive patois being “neutralized.” Which reminds me of the old joke about the Philly real estate agent proudly showing a Fishtown home to a young Southern hipster couple and declaring, “Now, here’s a house without a flaw!” To which the husband responded, perplexed: “Then what do y’all walk on?” Ba-dum-bum.
Not to be ignored in this week’s summation of political correctness is the news out of Salt Lake City that a teacher in a private English language learning center was fired from his job for a blog post he wrote about homophones, which are, of course, words that are pronounced the same but spelled differently, such as “bare” and “bear.” What was wrong with the post? Bare with me. The blogger says his boss told him it would cause their school to be “associated with homosexuality.” That’s right! When a reporter contacted the boss to get his side of the story, he just dug the hole deeper: “People at this level of English,” the boss, Clarke Woodger, said, ” … may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.” Which puts us in mind of all the folks who’ve gotten in deep doo for using the word “niggardly.”
So, there’s Joobs, rubes and boobs, which Woodger assuredly is. What about the “newbs”? We were delighted to learn, while the forces of good continue to strive so earnestly against the forces of evil in this world, that a 9-year-old boy from Union City, New Jersey, who got separated from his parents and sister at the Central Park Zoo, wandered around Times Square, and wound up at the Port Authority Bus Terminal a mile away two hours later called the experience “the greatest day of my life.” It gives me faith in human nature to know that even when we bubble-wrap our kids as tightly as we can, every now and then, one is going to escape and have a helluva time.
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