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A man and a gender studies professor walk into an elevator...

 
 
Reply Tue 8 May, 2018 05:05 am
You know this isn't going to end well.

The elevator was crowded, someone offered to push buttons and asked what floors. The man said "woman's lingerie"... an old joke, and not that funny, but it breaks the ice and shouldn't offend anyone.

The gender studies professor was offended and went to the International Studies Association to seek sanction for this grievous offense. The ISA asked the man for an apology (covering its own ass). The man said, there's no offense here. This is "frivolous" and I am not apologizing. This time, it was the man who took this kerfuffle public (after the ISA feel politically motivated).

Have we come to the point where mentioning "lingerie" in public, or making stupid jokes, is now an unforgivable offense?

The point here is that there should be nuance. There is some behavior that is truly unacceptable when it threatens or demeans other people. Reasonable people should be able to make this distinction.

But now people are going out of their way to look for outrage. In my opinion this is ridiculous.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/he-makes-a-joke-she-isn-t/243350
 
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 May, 2018 06:53 am
@maxdancona,
I agree with you.
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 08:02 am
@maxdancona,
His comment did, in fact, offend someone.

There's a comic Steve Hughes who explains how being offended works. Basically he said nothing will happen if someone is offended. Although it's funny, it does take aim at how unkind some people are.

A simple apology.

Acknowledgement of being aware that a comment or a gesture or a behavior made someone uncomfortable would make a world of difference.

Ever been in a grocery store and have been in line to check out and somebody's unruly children are right behind you? You turn around, scowl at the accompanying parent and you look at their face. The look tells a picture of exasperation and fatigue but you just want to scold that person. Then that person catches your eye and they quickly mouth "I'm sorry" for their children.

A simple apology.

In your example here, all it would have took was a very quick acknowledge of a comment that went awry. Yet he couldn't bring himself to do even the simplest of tasks to apologize, even when he was called out on his behavior.

It goes both ways. People are going out of their way to look for outrage.





maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 09:19 am
@neptuneblue,
I find your use of the word "mansplaining" (in the other thread) to be offensive. It implies that a man expressing an opinion is inferior to a woman. I don't expect an apology from you. In fact, I suspect that you disagree that what you said was offensive.

Imagine how you would feel if your boss told you that I had searched out your place of employment to complain about this offense.

It would help you to step out of your bubble and think about this from the other perspective. (If you do apologize to me for offending me, I am going to feel awfully stupid Wink ).

Under what conditions will you apologize for offending someone?

neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 09:26 am
@maxdancona,
I do apologize for using that term"mansplaining" with you. I understand how it feels to have an opinion seem under valued in context. Therefore, I will be a bit more understanding your viewpoint as a man.

It costs nothing to apologize. The reward is priceless.




maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 09:40 am
@neptuneblue,
Thank you Neptune for your gracious apology. I don't feel the same way about apologies. If I apologize for something for which I am not actually sorry, I feel insincere (I am not saying that your kind apology was insincere).

Let me give you a more important example. People have been offended at my daughter speaking Spanish in public... a couple of times they have said something. I would never want her to apologize for this, in fact I told her it would be completely appropriate for her to tell them to "**** themselves" as long as she did so in English. She is a teenager, and on a recent trip to a Republican area of upstate New York she was jokingly speaking Spanish loudly just to get the opportunity to swear with my approval.

I generally only apologize when I actually agree that I have done something wrong. I might occasionally give an insincere apology if a social circumstance calls for it, but it feels dishonest. If someone went above my head to pressure an apology from me from a professional organization... I would be furious.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 09:57 am
@neptuneblue,
I have never felt the urge to scowl at kids in a grocery store... and if I did, I feel like I should be the one apologizing. That might be because I have kids. I would apologize if my kids did something that was actually harmful such as spill something. But, kids in grocery stores is a fact of life.

The point being that people choose to be offended by different things. What I am offended by says more about me then it does about the people around me.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  4  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 10:05 am
@neptuneblue,
neptuneblue wrote:

I do apologize for using that term"mansplaining" with you. I understand how it feels to have an opinion seem under valued in context. Therefore, I will be a bit more understanding your viewpoint as a man.

It costs nothing to apologize. The reward is priceless.

If we have an a2k Posting Hall of Fame, I shall nominate this post as one of the best posts I have ever come across here.
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 10:09 am
@maxdancona,
I see it as an act of perception. What ever I say and do, does affect the people around me. Maybe I say something stupid to a friend or someone who knows me. They'll excuse my minor indiscretion because they care about me even though they don't necessarily agree.

Strangers aren't like that though. It takes effort to understand what I said may be construed as offensive. And I apologize. It's not a matter whether "I" feel I was right or wrong, it's the other person's perception that I was wrong.

No, I don't go around apologizing every time for every thing. I think in your example, the man made more of an issue by not just admitting a silly joke was in poor taste, apologizing and moving on with his life. A simple solution to a very simple request.

You asked me for an apology, it meant something to you for me to admit an indiscretion. There's no shame to admit I may have offended you, to recognize an error and to seek a resolution. What is a shame is to hold that indiscretion over someone's head and beat them to death with it even when an apology has been offered and accepted.


I have issues trying to engage in meaningful discourse when different scenarios keep appearing into your replies. I cannot comment on your daughter's use of Spanish, it really has no impact on your original post. If you'd like to make a different post on that, please feel free to do so.



maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 10:33 am
@neptuneblue,
The discussion of when to take offense, and when to apologize, is an interesting one. You and I have very different perspectives on this. I think that looking at different scenarios is interesting.

1. To me receiving an insincere apology is worse than a non-apology. I would rather have you be honest. This is more important for people with whom I have a relationship than a stranger (an insincere apology from my brother would really bother me while one from some random person in a grocery store wouldn't bother me at all). I suppose this is personal preference... and if I knew someone in my family or group of friends appreciated insincere apologies, I would likely give them.

2. I don't want to apologize when doing so violates a principle. Apologizing for speaking Spanish in public is an example of this. In this case, by apologizing rather than standing up for what I believe is right, I am making things worse.

3. Sometimes offending people is valuable. One of my favorite figures in history is Alice Paul. She was a Suffragette; and one of the people most responsible for winning women the vote. She was rude, defiant, nasty, underhanded and brilliant... and she single-handedly backed Woodrow Wilson into a corner to win the vote. She was offensive without apology, and that is the reason she won.


If you get an apology from me, it is likely a sincere one. I give out apologies when I am actually sorry and I truly believe that I am in the wrong.
neptuneblue
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 11:01 am
@maxdancona,
I think you're comparing apples to oranges.

Quote:
Have we come to the point where mentioning "lingerie" in public, or making stupid jokes, is now an unforgivable offense?


It would be a forgivable offense had the man offered an apology.

Moving on to your example of speaking Spanish is much different. We are experiencing a backlash of discriminatory practices which goes way beyond simple protocol. I watched videos of a middle age white man at Jack in the box threatening to buy a plane ticket for Maria to go back "home" because she had to wait for a manger's approval to validate a coupon. Another, a woman physically harasses a transgender person for using the bathroom. And another, a mother & daughter were in hijab's at Macy's and a woman harassed them saying she deserved to be waited on first because she's white.

Again, apologies are not needed here when dealing with these types of confrontations. It isn't a simple remark or a careless joke. It's downright disgusting and yes, I will stand on principle.


maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 12:26 pm
@neptuneblue,
We agree in the case about principle. We disagree on the case about "simple remarks and careless jokes". Here are the reasons I disagree with you.

1. I don't accept the idea that anyone has an obligation to apologize. If apologies are obligatory (even for minor offenses) then they are meaningless.

2. I don't like the idea that someone can be pressured to apologize. In this story, the offended person didn't just ask for a personal apology, she went to a professional organization to apply pressure.

3. There is risk in confusing of offense with harassment.

There is a legitimate need to prevent harassment and abuse of power in the workplace. We recognize special protections for people in a workplace (which I agree with). When I am in my workplace, I can't just leave when I am offended (without real economic consequences). I am impacted by the social organization and a hierarchy that gives people the ability to impact my career.

Arguing about off-hand jokes mentioning lingerie being made in a public elevator as "harassment" is a distraction from important issues around creating decent working environments.

These protections in a workplace are special. They limit expression and regulate behavior that are perfectly acceptable elsewhere. I can tell jokes in a bar that I can't tell at work. The importance of creating a fair workplace warrant these limits. But expanding them to other public spaces is dangerous to the freedom of expression.

4. In the past, freedom of expression was a core part of being a liberal. The defenders of the First Amendment used to be liberals. Now it is liberals who are saying ridiculous things about "hate speech not being free speech".

Freedom of speech remains one the principles that is most important to me.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 12:31 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

1. I don't accept the idea that anyone has an obligation to apologize. If apologies are obligatory (even for minor offenses) then they are meaningless.

2. I don't like the idea that someone can be pressured to apologize. In this story, the offended person didn't just ask for a personal apology, she went to a professional organization to apply pressure.


I could not agree more.
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 01:15 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

1. I don't accept the idea that anyone has an obligation to apologize. If
2. I don't like the idea that someone can be pressured to apologize.


Really...

All because you don't like it doesn't mean you won't do it. You don't think you pressured me into a corner to apologize? You were mad from another post so you brought it into this one. You purposefully put me on the spot. I'd say you DARED me to. It was an IN-YOUR-FACE maneuver.

I, in turn, had an obligation to defuse a situation in order to move past whatever slight you may have felt. Or not. It all depends on the character of the person.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 01:32 pm
@neptuneblue,
Now you are just playing games. You apologized because you chose to apologize.

I do not believe you had any obligation to apologize to me. I do think that the term "mansplaining" is insulting, but I also made it clear that I fully support your right to be insulting. I wasn't truly hurt by your use of the term, nor would I have felt upset if you just told me to shove it. I appreciated the apology, but if you didn't mean it, then you shouldn't have done it. If you were being insincere to win an argument, that's on you.

But you know all of that. Tsar thinks you were being sarcastic anyway.... his reaction made me laugh.


neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 01:39 pm
@maxdancona,
And which point is that, exactly.

The truth is, you were still MAD and brought it into this post. You could have pm'd me. You could have kept it between us and that would have been that. So, all because you did the exact same thing as the gender studies professor makes YOU right and that person wrong?

And who is playing games?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 01:48 pm
@neptuneblue,
I didn't know you were a mind reader. Cool!

I think you are being silly.
neptuneblue
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 01:52 pm
@maxdancona,
Explain why you're right and the gender studies professor is wrong for doing the EXACT same thing.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 07:52 pm
@neptuneblue,
You are absolutely correct. I shouldn't have hunted down your real name and reported your offense to people in your profession to publicly shame you in your career. That was wrong of me to do to you.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 May, 2018 08:04 pm
@maxdancona,
I'm asking you how your actions differ from the gender studies professor.
 

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