…At about 10:20 a.m., Lebow stepped into the Hilton’s crowded elevator a moment before Sharoni. Someone near the front of the elevator (he says it was a man, she says it was her) asked what floors everyone wanted, so that they could push the appropriate elevator buttons. He responded with the comment (he says it was “ladies lingerie,” but she heard “women’s lingerie”), resulting in a chuckle from some of the elevator passengers. Sharoni says she froze, and did not respond in the moment, but that she made note of his name tag.
And the offense level goes from 0 to 11 in a heartbeat? Is that what the #MeToo movement has fostered, that ANY action or phrase is immediately grounds for expulsion and shame (reformatted, emphasis mine)? And as comedians have complained, no one on the Left seems to be constitutionally capable of humor of any kind.
When Ned Lebow, 76 and a professor of government emeritus at Dartmouth College, spoke that two-word phrase on a crowded elevator at a professional conference in a San Francisco hotel, he meant it as a joke. But when Simona Sharoni, 56 and a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, heard the comment from within the confines of the elevator, she interpreted it as harassment. That basic disagreement, which carries with it all the baggage of both zealously applied political correctness, and the persistent deleterious effects of discrimination against women, has led to a sanction against Lebow, and a public backlash against Sharoni.
After all, no one can ever say anything that would in the slightest way give anyone offense. That is what Political Correctness is supposed to do – silence you, me, or anyone. What’s worse is that being PC is ambiguous – you can NEVER know what is verboten in a given situation, on a given topic, at a given topic, in a given place. Why?
Because the PC ThoughtPolice are constantly changing the rules. What was good yesterday is a hanging offense tomorrow. What raises an eyebrow today may mean a figurative shooting squad next week. What used to be funny years ago (anyone remember Polish, Irish, Swedish, German, Puritan jokes, or the type that almost anyone knew was a put up or stereotype? Gone – unless you are white, middle-aged, Conservative, or Christian and then it is jokes galore – except they aren’t jokes at all) are viewed as horrifying nowadays.
Political Correctness is removing any sense of proportion about anything from anyone ever offended by something – even if it happened 1,000s of years ago it seems.
And remember Sharoni noted Lebow’s name tag? The offended can’t let go, either.
After Sharoni filed a complaint with the International Studies Association, which was hosting the April 5 conference, the group agreed with her. The group found that Lebow had violated a clause in the organization’s code of conduct against “unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of people or individuals.” Mark Boyer, the executive director of the ISA, sent Lebow a letter that called the comments “offensive and inappropriate,” and ordered him to submit an “unequivocal apology” to the executive committee for review.
Yeah, Free Speech – out. Mao’s Cultural Revolution – back in! At least right now, the ending isn’t physical death – but certainly this is sounding like career death – over two words. Like I said, the outrage goes from 0 to 11 in a heartbeat. And I think Lebow has the right of it:
On Monday, with only eight days to go before the group’s May 15 deadline for the apology letter, Lebow, a part-time resident of Etna, doubled down on his refusal to comply with the sanction.
“If I say, ‘I’m sorry,’ I legitimate her claim to being offended,” he said, adding, “I refuse to do that because it only encourages people to be speech police, to act this way.”
PCness only continues while people kowtow to it. We here at the ‘Grok refuse to bend a knee to it and good on Lebow to recognize that if he were to feed their anger, he would ALWAYS and FOREVER be subjected to the same behavior. Today’s environment is just overbrimming, due to the Left’s identity politics (aka Cultural Marxism meant to split us apart in ways that classical Communism couldn’t do on their traditional socioeconomic basis). One would think that Academia would be smarter than to fall for this but nopers; if anything, they sucked it all in like kids using Juul vaping rigs and at the slightest spark, go off like a mile long string of firecrackers.
Like Sharoni did:
…“He is a distinguished professor. He should know better. It’s not rocket science, (it’s) basic civility,” she said. “If you say something that others find inappropriate, you apologize. I continue to be amazed at how many male faculty are unaware of what constitutes inappropriate and unprofessional behavior.”
Sure – let everyone else determine what you can say? Look, being civil should be on-going but it seems that no one can ever agree on what is acceptable in being civil any more (see above, ambiguous). She plays the victim card – and continues on on. Just because SHE thinks he should “know” doesn’t mean he does – she gives him no slack, no wiggle room, no ability to LET him apologize. Instead, like the secret police in the former Soviet Union and its satellite countries, she took his name down and then turned him in. Sure, I’ll say it – she KNEW what would happen.
Over two-words. What she doesn’t want to admit to is that there were a couple of folks that took it for what it was – a simple joke (“resulting in a chuckle from some of the elevator passengers”).. Not a four letter one, not a ribald one, and not even one that exists in fantasy. In a lot of ways, those two words demonstrated, even if 76 years old, men and women are wired differently.
Am I condoning it? No, I’m not condoning either one. And with this next bit, I’d be a bit harsher on Sharoni than Lebow:
Then, Lebow and the male passengers exited the elevator, leaving Sharoni and another woman, who she did not know, to acknowledge to each other that they both had felt the comment was inappropriate, and wish that they had corrected Lebow in the moment. A few hours later, Sharoni filed a complaint with the ISA in which she said that “as a survivor of sexual harassment in the academy, I am quite shaken by this incident.”
Does sexual harassment exist and is a real thing? Yes. Does two words rise to that level – a smart alecky line? A one time utterance? By someone she didn’t know? But isn’t the definition include that it is behavior that is repeated by a given person over time and actively done even after being told “no is no”? Again, the sense of proportion both in the slight and here, the sense of punishment:
After the ISA notified Lebow of the complaint, he sent Sharoni an email in which he described himself as an advocate for women. “It seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal,” he wrote. “By making a complaint to ISA that I consider frivolous … you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.” In the email, Lebow did not apologize, but said he had “no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable. I am struggling to understand why you were offended, and perhaps you can enlighten me in this regard.”
Sharoni said on Monday that the email was unwelcome; she characterized it as being “both offensive and threatening in tone.” Lebow, dissatisfied with the ISA’s decision, went public with the story, which has been reported in several national media outlets, beginning with the Washington Post. In its letter sanctioning Lebow, the ISA said that Lebow’s email to Sharoni “is a more serious violation than the elevator incident itself,” and took particular issue with his characterization of her complaint as frivolous.
The perpetually aggrieved. Sense of proportion. Seeking to understand. Refusal to accept.
She is upset because he violated her cultural norms – but what about her to his?
He says the comment was a reference to the days when department store elevators used to have human operators, who would announce each floor by listing the goods on offer there. Though that practice has not been common for decades, the listing of goods and services associated with a particular floor on an elevator is a popular culture trope that’s been repeated to comic effect in everything from the Harry Potter book series, to the television series Mythbusters. Lebow said that he was, as he occasionally has done in other elevators throughout his life, repeating the “ladies lingerie” line that he’d heard elsewhere.
I’m not as old as Lebow and a bit older than Sharoni but I remember those times as a child. My Mom used to occasionally take us into Boston to the larger department stores and I remember the first time I rode in such a contraption – the operator was in almost a livery suit, would close the “cage” door when the car was full, take off the break, and then move the handle for up and down and call out the floors as they past by. When the car stopped and the operator opened that cage door, the call would go out as to what was on that floor.
And this is called looking for, running toward, and jumping off the rhetorical cliff and into the PC chasm; not everything is meant with evil intent unless you want it to be:
But to Sharoni, the comment presented as harassment, in part because, in a confined space with a group of men she didn’t know, it conjured images of women in a vulnerable state of undress. She also said the comment implied that she, as a professional academic, was being characterized as an elevator operator, a less prestigious occupation. Supporters of Lebow say Sharoni’s formal complaint was an overreaction, while supporters of Sharoni say simply apologizing would bring a welcome end to the dispute.
But she didn’t give him that chance at the time. Instead, she went full 11 and attacked him professionally by complaining to the professional organization.
Both Lebow and Sharoni agreed that, at its core, the issue is whether a comment should be judged by the intent of the person who says it, or the harm it causes to the listener. “When it comes to guidelines concerning behavior in the workplace, the issue is not the intention of the person whose words or actions offended others, but rather the outcome,” said Sharoni.
Go read the rest of it – I’ve spent too much time on this already, and in looking back, a waste of time. The moral is that there are those that will always take offense even at trivial things. We all hear things that offend us – but it only seems that for years, only the Left decided to excoriate and destroy those that offended them. Now they’re upset that the Right is now starting to use the same techniques (a la Alinsky Rule #4) against them.
Simple – just stop doing it in the first place.
There is seemingly no discernment between the real horror actions of Harvey Weinstein (or now, FORMER NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman) versus a small quip.
The Left hates any jokes. Like this one – “Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” Sharoni would take offense at that. Howe do I know? Look back for “less prestigious” and that’s all you need to know. In her eyes, the phrase “all work has dignity” is a falsehood.
(H/T: Valley News)