Reasonable men, redux
In response to my earlier post on the firing and suspension of ESPN employees over the use of a common idiom, deadrody — momentarily turning his indignation for my support of big government phony Santorum into indignation for my move into hermeneutics, consensus-questioning, and a rebuke of the political power vested institutionally in “interpretive communities” once we lend legitimacy to certain linguistic assumptions — writes:
[…] Normally I am right on the anti-PC bandwagon.
But in this case, the idea that a “headline writer” at ESPN wrote “Chink in the armor” about Jeremy Lin and it WASN’T supposed to be a joke – is ludicrous.
Furthermore, unless you KNOW that he didn’t then you are doing nothing more than guessing. And for that, ESPN must be attacked ? Please.
So. Per deadrody, then, here’s how we’re to look at the situation: Both the headline writer and the broadcaster are to be considered guilty until proven innocent — except that, of course, there is no need to investigate guilt or innocence now that the problem was rectified by a firing and a suspension.
And sure, both parties to the punishment deny they meant the use of this common idiom as an Asian slur. But, per deadrody, unless you can show me inside their heads and souls that they didn’t mean to intentionally disparage Asians, they must be punished — and this must happen, and is justified entirely, so that those who didn’t use that particular idiom in that particular context can get their OUTRAGE on, thereby showing themselves to be tolerant and pro-diversity and, hey, look at us: we’re better people than those bigots!
Again: I’m constantly astounded at the people who’ve read this site for some time who simply will not learn that once you allow the language to be taken from you this way, you’re all but done as an defender of individual liberty and autonomy.
Interestingly though, deadrody’s argument here doesn’t really bother my own on the linguistic level: note, he’s still talking about intent; but he’s saying that in the absence of any exculpatory evidence showing no ill intent (none of us being gods, we’re really just “guessing,” all of us equally, with liberty and relativism for all), the best thing to do is to err on the side of just firing the fucker.
After all: it’s better to take the easy way out than to defend the employee, particularly if doing so means having to deal with the PR headache from some ethnic grievance group looking for cheap publicity over a pretend outrage; while not doing so earns you praise for your very public show of tolerance and your very public obeisance before the altar of identity politics.
Which, hey, it’s the American way!