Newspaper editor and publisher Jeff Ackerman caught some crap for using the word “pansy”; accordingly, he is tired of pansies.
A “JEFF ACKERMAN MUST GO” bumper sticker is a personal reminder of the ongoing assault on free speech under the guise of political correctness.
As you may have discovered, I am not Politically Correct. …
I have developed a recent distaste for pansies, however. I don’t like whiners or snivelers or “poor me” complainers.
A pansy is someone who is probably offended by the term pansy. In fact, someone like that would probably run out and print a “JEFF ACKERMAN MUST GO” bumper sticker just because I used the word in a column … the pansy that he is.
The guy who printed and distributed the “JEFF ACKERMAN MUST GO” bumper sticker at my last place was kind of a pansy and did that because he didn’t like what I had to say and wanted to shut me up. That seemed better than … say … writing a letter to the editor, or maybe reading something besides my column.
In other words, he wanted to censor me.
If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of censoring going on in the name of hurt feelings. …
It’s gotten so bad that the University of California at Berkeley now has six possible answers under the enrollment application that asks for gender.
It used to simply be “Male” or “Female.” Now the options include:
- Trans Male
- Trans Female
- Gender Queer
- Different Identity
I’m not sure I want to know the options under “Different Identity,” but my guess is our colleges will need to start building a lot more bathrooms.
Might be good to pause here, in case anyone is offended by what I just detailed.
Un-wad those tighty whiteys and let’s continue, shall we? …
A Harvard law professor detailed an example where she was unable to teach about rape laws because it caused some students stress. In fact, one student had a problem with the term “violate” (as in, “that violates the law”) because it was also stressful.
It’s why I’ll just stick with pansies. The only one who could possibly be offended by that is a pansy and … as I said … I really don’t care what a pansy thinks.
Jeff Ackerman’s paper wants you to be a paying subscriber to comment on their site. Screw that. So I sent Jeff Ackerman a letter. It said:
I don’t know if you are, in fact, a pansy. I suspect so, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. But I’m pretty sure you’re a jackass.
As any newspaper publisher worth a damn ought to know, freedom of speech means only that the government can’t censor you. It doesn’t protect you, legally or practically, from any other consequences of your speech, including but not limited to:
- opposing speech
- name calling
- calls for you to be fired
- your actual firing (except in the case of an employment contract that gives you a shooting license, speech-wise).
- canceling subscriptions to your paper.
- boycotts of any companies/products/services/advertisers with which you are affiliated
None of these things constitutes violation of your freedom of speech. In fact, they’re currency in the same marketplace of ideas in which you’ve offered your thoughts for sale.
As for political correctness, take it from this Southern Republican: 99% of what people like you call “political correctness” is just good manners. Manners, as my mother and grandmother from Charleston taught me, are the art and skill of making other people feel comfortable. That’s all.
So the fact that you defend your bad manners as “being politically incorrect,” rather than rudeness that you somehow think is justified, makes you a jackass, not the victim you claim to be.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, being a jackass is not always a bad thing — or, at least, not the worst option available. I myself have been a jackass many times in my life, but since escaping college nearly 35 years ago, I’ve tried to limit my jackassitude to situations in which there are more important things than manners and civility. And I’ve known in advance that my jackassitude would not be well-received at times and I’ve taken the response like an adult. Calling out war criminals would be a good example. Making fun of other people’s gender identities — and, more broadly, their desire to be treated equally and decently — not so much.
Yet instead of taking the blowback like an adult, here you are whining and sniveling about the treatment of your ideas in the marketplace of ideas — the very behavior you decry. That makes you a pansy by your own lights. By my lights, the lights of a guy who spent 25 years in your line of work, it also makes you too goddamned dumb to be a newspaper publisher.
Grow up and stop sniveling, son.