Exorcist IV: Pazuzu And The School Board
In the “funny but wrong” category:
Raymond Cote resigned as the head of the Mahopac Board of Education in the Putnam County school district (in upstate New York) after an open microphone at a meeting caused him to be overheard saying, “Oh I know, I know. This one here, ‘Chubby wubby.’ She gets fatter and fatter at every meeting. She really does!”
This isn’t political correctness. This is a leader demonstrating contempt and lack of respect for his constituency. Denigrating parents based on weight and personal appearance makes Cote untrustworthy as a school board member obligated to be responsive to parental concerns. He also announced he would not run for re-election. to the board. He got that right, at least.
His apology, however, was ridiculous: he embraced the Pazuzu excuse, in which someone who says something horrible claims that he was somehow not responsible for the words that cane out of his mouth, as when Linda Blair served as the ventriloquist dummy for the demon Pazuzu in “The Exorcist.” Cote emailed an apology to parents:
“I would like to apologize for my choice of words after the close of the board meeting on April 8, 2014, which are regretful. My words were inappropriate and do not reflect my feelings or attitudes. I will strive to regain the trust and respect of the community.”
1. If the words didn’t reflect his feelings, whose feelings do they reflect? Of course they are his feelings. Why would he say something completely alien to what he thinks…unless…it was the demon Pazuzu!!!
2. It wasn’t his choice of words, it was what his choice of words expressed. Is there a choice of words that would be a, kind, civil, respectful and acceptable way to say the parent gets fatter every meeting?
3. The words may have been regrettable, but they were not “regretful.” Maybe finding a literate, English-speaking head of the school board is an idea whose time has come.
Pointer and Facts: ABA Journal