Life stole my joke—and all I got is this lousy blog post
By pascal on Saturday, May 12 2012, 00:22 - Permalink
On a recent occasion to visit the USA on a professional basis, I nearly declined. I had a lengthy explanation ready for my refusal, and it might even have become a rant-tagged blog post. I finally went, so that hypothetical blog post never became. Today, I feel I have been cheated: a really good bit of my explanation would, if I were to re-use it now in another rant, appear unimaginative; stale, even.
See, my explanation of why I didn't want to be a visitor in the USA included a passage on how schools everywhere in the world, at all levels, have bullies, but only in the US these get elected president. (You had to see it in context. There were tie-ins with culture and international politics. It was a beautiful rant)
The reason this bit is suddenly worthless is of course the latest mini-scandal in US election debates. Here is the article through which I first heard of it. My rant was about another person, who may or may not have been US president at some point in eir political career.
It is not my place to comment on foreign presidentiables. The following comments are intended only in the abstract.
- About the facts themselves, the fact that a brat bullied five homosexual fellow students does not in itself imply that the brat has a bias. If ey similarly bullied 95 heterosexual students, say, forcibly cutting the hair of 19 of them, and if 5% actually is the percentage of the population who recognizes itself as homosexual, ey cannot be blamed for being biased—although ey can still be blamed for being a bully.
- am I the only one to find “I [didn't think] the fellow was homosexual” a lousy excuse? It does not matter whether one “thinks”. From the point of view of the victim, it shouldn't be necessary to broadcast one's sexual orientation to be morally protected from harassment. A student who takes offence at any visible lifestyle choice of eir colleagues that aren't any of eir business is guilty of intolerance. If it later turns out that a relatively large proportion of eir victims are from a same minority, that's just bad luck for em, because it makes the crime more obvious. But even if the victims did not happen to be from a recognizable minority, the crime would still be the same crime.
- Finally, the only way I can imagine a kid doing the kind of “hijinks” described in the article and not being sent home for the remainder of the schoolyear is if ey is a very rich kid in a school/university that needs to worry where its next budget is going to come from. Since French Universities have begun to “gain autonomy” under our own previous president, are we now going to have the same system where rich kids get a free pass with discipline, even at the cost of the peace of mind of their fellow students? A few decades from now, will we have to elect them for the highest offices, too?
If told that this post is too off-topic for this blog, I plan to use the “but the link to the original article came from my colleague Eric Eide” defense. That, and something on the general topic of conference attendance and testicle massages.