Monday, November 19, 2007

The tragedy of a dead irony warning buzzer

Katie's column this morning contained this paragraph:

Today, a favorite college pastime is fanning the flames of grievance. Victimhood is a tremendous source of moral power, and being outraged and oppressed is a sure bet to get your picture in the paper -- displaying a look of grave concern for all humanity.

Oh Spotty, that must have been another column on how conservatives are such victims on college campuses, like the president of the College Republicans. They sure play the victim card.

Not exactly, grasshopper. Today's victim is the fellow at the MCTC who put up a noose as a prank:

Does anyone still wonder why college culture is the laughingstock of the larger community? Our campuses seem to lurch from one politically correct knee-slapper to the next.

Does anyone crack a book at these places anymore?

Meet Gabriel Keith, an aspiring journalist who attends Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Keith has served as news editor of the campus paper, volunteering many hours and even quitting his part-time job when it interfered with the paper's needs.

Isn't the noose kind of symbolic of, well, lynchings, Spotty?

Yes it is, grasshopper. And some people are kind of sensitive to it. Here's Katie writing about the incident:

We join Keith sitting in the college newsroom one afternoon last month.

He is lamenting the headache of student reporters' missed deadlines with fellow staffers. The group jokes about various tongue-in-cheek motivational messages -- an ice pick, a bloody knife and other fanciful instruments of discipline. Keith impulsively sticks a mock noose made from his sweatshirt drawstring to the ceiling, with a note about the hazards of missed deadlines.

The drawstring was there a few minutes, he says, and he tossed it in the wastebasket before he left.

Keith's antic raised the curtain on the politically correct circus-of-the-month at MCTC. Someone flipped the "I'm outraged, simply outraged!" switch, and Keith found himself at center ring under the Big Top after two black staffers filed complaints.

The day after the incident, an astonished Keith got a call from the paper's editor, who fired him. At a meeting set up by college authorities, he apologized profusely to staffers. He called the noose joke "unprofessional" but explained that it was a misunderstanding.

One wonders—Spot doesn't know—whether any of the black staffers who were the object of the message were black? But it hardly matters. A lot of people in the African American community are sensitive about nooses. And it is undoubtedly a racist, hate symbol.

Reacting to the display of a noose is hardly a "knee-slapper" as culturally tone-deaf Katie says. Unless you're the kind of person who enjoys singing the Horst Wessel song on Kristal Nacht!

Anyway, Keith got canned, and Katie is surprised and miffed that anybody got bent out of shape about it at all. Why, where's you sense of humor?

Keith has the distinct advance over Katie, in Spot's opinion, of being genuinely sorry for what he did. Spot has observed humans for a long time, and one thing he has learned it that they are really a bunch of screw-ups.

One of the things that the liberal Spot would recommend is the application of a generous spirit to Gabriel Keith and giving him a second chance.

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