Humans are interesting creatures and language is even more interesting. We socialize in groups and clusters, as we become more familiar with our groups our defenses lower and our language changes. We say things to close friends we would never say to a complete stranger, inflection, tone and context take on substance and hold weight. If I tell my close friend he is “being an asshole” it holds a completely different meaning than if I call the guy who just cut me off in traffic an asshole.

We’ve managed to make it this far through history navigating the pitfalls of socializing and language. While it isn’t always pretty, I think it has worked out pretty good in the big scheme. The chances that you go through life without being offended are pretty slim, the chances that you will get over it, are pretty good……or they used to be.

In an interesting evolution of culture and language, society is experiencing a quirk (at least I hope it is a quirk) of super sensitivity. While we have become more “social” than ever before, we are more isolated than I have ever seen. I can’t point to a specific time or place where things changed, but in my lifetime alone I have seen a major shift in how we interact. From face-to-face, to telephone to text and social media it seems we are moving backwards faster than we move forward and yet we label this constant sharing as progress. Cat videos aside, the social experiment that has been labeled “social media” seems to be driving the collective “US” further apart than ever.

e8d5d05a_shutterstock_80726956.xxxlarge_2xPeople are offended by EVERYTHING, and somehow that has become society’s new problem. Suddenly we need to stop language which “might possibly” offend someone, somewhere. Now if I call my friend an asshole and someone over hears my comment and they either know an asshole, or happen to be an asshole they can be offended by my micro-aggression even though it was not directed at their personal asshole issue in anyway shape or form.

WHAT THE HELL? Today I saw this article on the Washington Examiner about the new website launched by the University of Michigan-Flint where “students who experience any form of bias or micro-aggressions whatsoever” can report like a bunch of little assholes. The phrase “Orwellian dystopia” gets thrown around too often, but holy crap, this is it writ large.

We will now have to monitor our language to avoid these pitfalls. Public language will need to morph into some sort of “newspeak” to avoid any transgressions. Pronouns will need to be modified or excluded to avoid offending the gender sensitive. More and more reporting websites like the one at UM-Flint will pop up at campus’ and work places across the country allowing people to report offenses. To enforce the offenses and right the wronged “thought police” will likely form to investigate each and every transgression and punishment will need to be severe in order to stop these flagrant offenders.

In the end, casual conversation will be forever changed, the trust and understanding which develops among close friends will vanish out of necessity and survival as the world descends into a gray monotone fog of superfluous non-offensive words. In short, you wont be able to tell your friend he is an asshole even if he is being one.

What Kind of World Do We Really Want?


Last week a professor at Yale University (another college I would never send my children to) was shouted down by a student who felt this professor had not done enough to create a safe and comfortable environment for her.  Besides her profane tirade, she spoke to this man, this professor, and her elder in such a disrespectful tone I had to wonder first, where did she learn to treat others this way and second, who, in the real world, would want to work with her or better yet, have her as an employee?  Then I started to wonder…what is the real world anymore?

I have had jobs I’ve loved and jobs I’ve hated.  I have had bosses I’ve respected and genuinely cared about and who I knew cared about me, and I’ve had quite the opposite.  In every case, except one, I never quit a job without having another and I never treated a supervisor with such blatant disrespect without being called on it…and deserving the reprimand that followed.  For those who have known me for a long time, you know I have been known to speak before I think and while the words may have been truth, they were also unnecessarily acidic and sometimes hurtful.  Luckily I have had mentors who have pointed out these flaws, sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently and sometimes I listened and other times it was years later the lesson sunk in.  My point being, at the core of who I am was an individual who recognized I just may not have all the answers even though it may have felt  like I did (as all 20 years olds do).  I may not have admitted it, but I quietly acknowledged I may not be all that superior after all.  The core of who I am developed over time, by family, friends, teachers, co-workers, mentors, our culture, church, and my children (those creatures who sprang from my womb knowing more than I did…about everything).  Entwined in all of these is culture, the world we live in, the society our founders created and we have amended to adjust for progress (end of slavery, women’s right to vote, due process, etc).  At our foundation, we are a society that believes in self-reliance and self-direction and a people not born into a caste system, but of individuals who can achieve anything we desire if we work hard, don’t give up, and endure the failures along the way.  This is the world I grew up in and over time I recognized it wasn’t perfect and some people were given a leg up where others were not, and no, life is not fair.  However, even in its imperfection, I would take this system over any other because there is freedom in the process, I am always free to keep trying or give up.  In other words, I am not pre-destined to work in a factory for my entire life.  The problem is, this world is not the world everyone wants in this country anymore.

Occupy Wall Street used the greed and the debauchery of Wall Street to solicit support from generally concerned citizens of this country who truly want to see a change in our banking system.  I’m not sure I disagree with the premise, our banks need regulation.  We all felt the effects of their avidity in 2008 and 2009.  The problem is, Occupy was never really all about big banks.  They were about blowing up our way of life.  They were about eliminating those things we count as success, such as an education, a first job (not for a livable wage, but for the opportunity to work and learn), a first job out of college that barely pays for our rent and our bar tab, and finally, the idea that if we work hard and endure failure we might succeed.  Occupy was about taking away the work, the angst, of our 20’s so we could “enjoy” immediate gratification.  Our loans forgiven, an income (probably go fund me or Soros money) so we could take out our anger on the “man” who made the rules in the first place (you know…the rule where you can’t learn everything in college, but you actually have to live in the world, get knocked down once in a while in order to truly figure it and yourself all out).  Oh and let’s not forget about marijuana whenever we want, because you know it’s just like a glass of wine.  All of this of course leads to disaster.  Occupy failed, because in time the world saw what their real message was, in the form of rape and defecation on police cars…even my liberal friend wouldn’t go for that one.

Occupy part II is the Black Lives Matter movement.  However, since these are generally the same people, they have learned from their mistakes, mostly allowing the media to actually see them for what they are.  BLM dictates how and when they are documented.  You will rarely catch interviews of the actual participants, but instead specially groomed academics that laugh off their real intent and coyly answer questions about their focus on communities and police relations.  If you actually read many of their “requests” they are truly ridiculous, such as un-arming some patrol officers, “soft uniforms”, and of course not entering certain areas called “safe zones”.  Full disclaimer, there have been some incidents involving cops that have not been pretty.  Use of force is never pretty.  But like the twit at Yale, the disrespect for police officers is just as great and more deadly as their foes don’t just shrilly chide officers, but will fight, stab, and shoot at them.  The important thing to remember is, BLM, Occupy, and the twits in these colleges are really not interested in changing the system, or improving the system, they want to destroy the system.  This segment of our society,(remember BLM is not about African Americans as many Blacks in this country DO NOT identify with them) wants to destroy the system, because they either can’t or don’t want to succeed in it…and they don’t want you or your kids succeeding in it either.  They want to obliterate what we have because it is the only circumstance in which they can obtain power.  Yes, this is about power…it always is.  For the Bernie fans out there, even in some utopia socialist society do you really believe there aren’t those in POWER in order to distribute the resources?  For the Hillary fans out there, do you think there is any paradigm in her presidency where she and her ilk aren’t in power of EVERYTHING?

Today, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri (another school I would never send my kid to) resigned due to not addressing alleged racism within the college.  The problem is, none of the allegations were ever proven and in fact were anecdotal.  While I have no doubt racism exists and needs to be dealt with as it emerges, I have serious doubts about whether or not there was a systemic problem at this university.  Instead, it is probably more likely these adolescents found an opportunity to be powerful and they seized it…like a 3 year old in a grocery store that knows you need basic necessities and will exploit your need for their gain.  I don’t believe they have any interest in working within this system, they don’t like it, and so no one will enjoy it.  We have allowed to proliferate a group that has no interest in the exchange of ideas, in fact, no interest in any idea they didn’t cultivate or was fed to them.  This is what we allow on our college campuses, no original thought, and the bullying of those who think differently, and policy which has been dictated, not by facts, but by innuendo and anecdotal evidence.  I would make a Hitler reference, but it really should be obvious…Jews were at the heart of all of Germany’s problems (no basis in fact) and now it’s the American way of life as we have known it.  Is this freedom?  Does this make US better?  Of course not, but that’s not what anyone is interested in now is it?  Just keep in mind those protestors today in Missouri did two things.  First, they wrapped themselves in chains on stage, no one did it to them and second, they allowed no press, instead creating a “safe space” between the protestors and the media, why is your cause afraid of the light?  Only evil lurks in dark corners.

We should stop looking at these so called movements as a means to work within our society and recognize them for what they are which is a desire to destroy what we have for the creation of something else.  Except, we don’t know what that something else is, and I doubt they do either.  These are the same people who poop on police cars, and yet we seem okay with them being the architects of a new world.