Ethics Dunce: Marketing/Consulting Firm CEO Melinda Byerley

Shape up, you mouth-breathing, violent  bigots in Middle America, or Melissa won't grace you with her company!

Shape up, you mouth-breathing, violent bigots in Middle America, or Melissa won’t grace you with her company!

It takes a remarkable lack of common sense and fairness for a sentient person to go on Twitter and condemn half the country as stupid, violent, and racist, but Melinda Byerley, CEO and co-founder of a San Francisco marketing consulting firm was up to the challenge. For no apparent reason, she decided to take Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment to the next stage, and instructed all those lesser human beings in the fly-over states regarding what they had to do to become fit for association with superior people like her. You know: progressives. Or assholes, if she’s any kind of fair representative.

She wrote…

melinda_byerley

Ethics Alarms noted the inherent bigotry of the TV ads run by the dating service “Farmers Only”, spots that portray “city folk” as pompous, self-absorbed, nasty people who deserve to be abused and abandoned. Melinda and her ilk, and she does have ilk, were undoubtedly the templates for these grotesque stereotypes.

Byerley fulfills all of the worst assumptions those who gulped hard and voted for Donald Trump held regarding the “elites.” The places where “middle America” lives consist of nothing but bars and lousy schools!  What kinds of schools produce arrogant, ugly bigots like Byerley? (Let’s see…Cornell!) Who would want to make their community someplace that would draw people like her?

She decrees that anyone who isn’t in lockstep with her political views is a bigot. Everyone has to commit to tolerance and diversity, presumably not the kind of tolerance and and acceptance of diversity her insulting comments display, but then, hypocrisy and double standards are a hallmark of her breed.  Byerley’s confidence that her sentiments are completely benign could only be produced in an environment that is completely cocooned away from the complexities of life, morality, culture and policy. Her tweet is the manifesto of a bully with the certainty of an autocrat, the signature of a hateful aristocrat talking down to her inferiors.

On her ironic Linked-In profile, Melissa describes herself as “kind”—that’s some kind tweet there, Melissa!—and better yet, someone who would rather “stick pins in my eyes than work with jerks.”  What self-hate the poor woman must live with, then, since this tweet marks her as one of the biggest jerks to breach on social media in quite a while. Call her “Moby Jerk.”

Why is it that people who are allegedly intelligent keep writing self-damning sentiments on social media and don’t realize that they have exposed the worst aspects of their character  to the world? It is just amazing.

Byerley’s post quickly attracted criticism from all sides, leading her to return to Twitter and write, “I spoke about middle america – my birthplace – inartfully and disrespectfully. I’m sorry for that.”

I bet she is. Why would anyone hire a marketing consultant who markets herself by writing to the world, “Hey! I’m a hateful, narrow-minded fool!” In such a case, all an apology means is “I’m sorry I revealed what I really think. Please forget the whole thing.” Well, such an apology changes nothing: the tweet is signature significance Nobody but a mean, hateful, self-righteous and intolerant bigot would author such bile and press “post.”  That’s Melissa Byerley. She told us so herself.

File this one under “Bias makes us stupid.”

 

77 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics

77 responses to “Ethics Dunce: Marketing/Consulting Firm CEO Melinda Byerley

  1. Gawd, what a wasteland Melinda Byerley must be comfortable living in.

    • Live Free

      Let’s “consider the critic” and ask: “What training, experience, or expertise qualifies this woman to pass judgment on 80% of America’s geography and the people who
      live there?”
      1991 Graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in “Theatre Arts–Stage Management”
      2001 Graduated from Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School of Management with a degree in Finance and Strategy
      2002 K-Mar as Corporate Strategy Intern/Consultant
      2004 Ebay as Category Manager
      2005 PayPal as Senior Marketing Manager, Merchant Services
      2007 Iwin Corporation as Senior Marketing Manager, eCommerce
      2008 Worked for Zone Alarm as Head of eCommerce and Online Sales
      2009 Worked for Linden Labs as the “Head of Marketplaces”
      2010 Worked for PlantSense as the “Vice President, Marketing and Product Mgmt”
      2011 Using Time Off Wisely –position unknown
      2012 Worked for Poll Everywhere Inc. as “Chief Marketing Officer”
      2013 Founded Vendorsi corporation (business effectively ended in December 2014)
      2015 Founded Time Share CMO (PREDICTION: FAILS BEFORE YEAR’S END)
      She has published nothing. She has neither national nor international reputation. She cannot keep a job. Her first “start up” failed miserably. Her second “start up” appears to have minimal staff and low six figure sales. She is consumed with a hatred of “Middle America”, which includes the school where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in “Stage Management”.

      • Captain Obvious

        Illinois Wesleyan University

        Having lived near that campus, I can tell you that I need know nothing more about her to not be shocked she wrote this.

        It’s like Berkley for people who know what corn looks like.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Small point: That looks like Facebook, not Twitter.

    • Anonymous Coward

      Oh I see, after doing more research: looks like she posted it on facebook, then posted a screenshot of her post on Twitter?

      More from her today:
      Melinda Byerley ☠️ ‏@MJB_SF 10h10 hours ago
      A learning from today: the far right monitors the far left to know who to attack in the middle.

      Make of that what you will.

      • That’s what it was. Stupidity travels faster on Twitter: anyone can see the posts.
        I saw that last twwet, and couldn’t make anything out of it at all. She’s the one who attacked “the middle,” unless she’s saying that SHE is the middle.

        • Sadly, that’s what it looks like to me. That she thinks she’s the victim of being attacked by the far right because her post went up and was repeated by the far left (of which she thinks she’s not a member of). Just what I got out of it.

    • It’s twitter, according to every source….the long version. None mentioned Facebook…It was a screenshot she took, sent via Twitter, and I don’t know why…I cut out the “FOLLOW” button, but it was there…

  3. Was she writing about Chicago?

  4. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Hmmm, sounds like a “snap post,” speaking as someone who’s made his share of snap posts both here and on social media. By snap post I mean a post someone makes immediately after reading or experiencing something that makes him angry, offended, or disgusted. He gets so much so that he decides to react immediately, and responds with his emotions rather than his thoughts. The filters shut off, the thinking goes from 30 feet deep to 3, the stereotypes come thick and fast, and the name-calling and trash-talking dominate. It may feel good in the heat of anger or the cold of hatred (or maybe the dizziness of one drink too many), but eventually the feeling passes, and then he has to go back and reread the ugly words he splashed across the page or the internet. It’s particularly dangerous on the internet, because, eventually when cooler heads prevail, he is likely to want to remove what he wrote, either because he realizes how bad it was, or, more likely, because he fears the consequences when what he wrote gets back to his boss or his clients or potential employers. So he yanks it, but, by the time he does, someone has already screencapped it, and there is no taking it back.

    This has all the hallmarks of a snap post, as you’ve already pointed out. It’s clearly unfiltered (“shithole?”). Very little thought went into it (rural areas hate brown people and that’s why they voted Trump). It’s full of stereotypes (bars and a lousy school system). It’s probably 70% name-calling and trash-talk.

    I hope for her sake she doesn’t answer to a board of directors or anything like that. If she does and anyone on the board reads it, then she should be out, and justifiably so. We’re all human, I get it, and this election season was particularly fraying. That said, we’re all also supposed to be adults, which includes keeping control of our emotions and thinking things through before we do them, including the consequences of doing them. A CEO who publicly writes something guaranteed to annoy half the nation and a large number of potential clients just because she’s angry or arrogant is not worthy of making decisions that impact the lives and fortunes of others. Yes, I’ve spewed my share of venom too, and I’m not proud of it, and in 2017 I hope I can do better, even if the posts don’t come as thick and fast.

    P.S. While we’re talking dunces, I nominate Meryl Streep, for abuse of the public podium, punching down, and sore loserdom. If all Hollywood is going to take this approach, we’re in for a very long 4 years and probably a lot of crap on the silver screen as every filmmaker, both established and upcoming, tries to win his progressive wings by taking a dig at the president. It will give new meaning to the phrase “We’ve seen this movie before.”

    • Joe Fowler

      Steve-O,
      A while ago I saw a parody meme, which might apply here.
      “Love like crazy!
      Dance like no one’s watching!
      Post online like it’s going to be read into the record in a nationally televised hearing!”

  5. Other Bill

    I can’t tell whether she looks more like Flannery O’Connor re-incarnate or a character from a Larson cartoon. Maybe she’s a muppet throwing a Miss Piggy-sized hissy fit. “Ay-Yah!”

    In any event, her comment is not at all remarkable. This is what the coastal elites think of the rest of the country. “Contempt” is the word. I’ve been hearing it since college in the northeast. Ironically, there’s some self-loathing in certain areas of flyover country. Sparty can probably attest to this having roots in Michigan and having gone to both MSU and the U of M. When I was interviewing at Jones Day in Cleveland, everyone seemed to summer on Martha’s Vineyard and take pride in being in the Eastern Time Zone. I bet Victor Davis Hanson has already written a column featuring this woman.

    • Spartan

      I think it’s more complicated than that. Speaking just for myself, I did not like my hometown. Even in the 80’s and 90’s, the Klan was still active and gay bashings were common — my sister’s best friend was seriously injured one night. The town was very religious, and I had friends who had trouble accepting me because I was not. I remember one friend even gave me a Bible at school one day because she was honestly worried for my soul. (FYI — I never talked about religion, I was considered strange simply because my absence at church was noted.) There was a homogeneity in thinking which caused me to feel like a bit of an alien. And it had nothing to do with being “elite” — I had relatives who were millionaires (some self-made), and I had a good friend in high school whose family was crazy loaded (they even had a helicopter pad in the back yard). Lots of Michiganders have summer homes — just like rich people on the East Coast. It all came down to politics and religion. My hometown has changed since then — but it still has a long way to go. The entire county still is over 99% White — quite an accomplishment for being smack dab between Detroit and Flint. One of my high school friends (who was in the closet at the time although everyone knew) just posted about her engagement on Facebook. I started crying when I saw all the positive messages from my high school friends congratulating her. That never would have happened 20-30 years ago.

      I could see moving back to Bloomfield Hills or Grosse Pointe, but those areas are definitely more affluent. More importantly to my way of thinking, however, those areas are more diverse in people and thought.

      I do criticize people here in DC over their “fly-over state” comments — although they don’t happen that often. There are downsides to living on the East Coast, the main one being cost of living. We wouldn’t be as stretched if we lived in Michigan, even if we chose an area like Grosse Pointe, Birmingham, or Bloomfield Hills.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Parts of NJ are Klan country also, let’s not forget that south of Camden you are also south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Not all of us are NY-lite or Philly-lite libs, far from it. Once you move west of Morristown things get decidedly rural and conservative (houses are far apart and people hunt and don’t like trespassers). Once you move south of New Brunswick along the shore, things get decidedly conservative (the very hardworking business owners who don’t own the seafront property are often only one bad summer away from financial issues).

        My hometown has changed over the years from being mostly German to almost all Irish and Italian, to a melting pot, as upwardly mobile people of color have bought houses and moved out of the cities to someplace quieter and safer. Religiously it’s changed, as we’ve gotten a few Hindu medical and engineering folks, although a small Islamic center failed to flourish and closed.

        What hasn’t changed is the politics that much, as we are all solidly middle-class, working homeowners who have very little patience with pretentious liberal politics. Keep the streets safe, keep the streets clean, keep the schools orderly, be ready to respond to a fire or a medical emergency, and make sure spillover from the Meadowlands doesn’t result in idiots raising all kinds of hell till all kinds of hours. That’s about it. We don’t give a damn if anyone believes or doesn’t. If you don’t, just keep it to yourself. We don’t give a damn who you are with, as long as you don’t strut it. In that respect, though we are not that far from NYC, we are a lot closer in some respects to the people in “flyover country.”

        I honestly don’t associate any value with being progressive in your viewpoint, especially not socially, as long as you don’t harass those who don’t agree with you or make their lives miserable. I do not see what having so many of whatever color does for a community, as long as it stays orderly. I do not see the value in everyone kissing the right people’s rings, as long as your friend and her partner don’t get harassed.

        I definitely DON’T see enough value in those viewpoints that those who hold them can adopt the attitude displayed here, which is not just “you’re wrong and here’s why,” but “you’re evil and benighted, and us good and enlightened types are getting impatient, so you better catch up soon.” We just found out that attitude doesn’t work and why. The answer isn’t to get more strident and make ever more ridiculous demands. Elect a progressive city council? Why don’t you come run for council?

        Frankly most businesses moved OUT of the liberal places precisely because of liberal policies, and won’t come back until they see changes. I don’t want my business in a place where there’s graffiti all over the place that gets ignored, because that means law enforcement is lax and my employees might be in danger. I don’t want it in a place where the city council keeps upping the taxes to fund some program or another (i.e. buy votes) every year. It’s precisely the latter approach that killed the city of Camden here, as the major employers (Campbell’s Soup, RCA, a few others) pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere, and precisely that approach that’s going to send Connecticut’s economy into a tailspin as General Electric moves production south.

        • Other Bill

          Tiny point, Steve. I don’t know that GE has had much of a manufacturing presence in CT. They moved their HQ out of the city in the ’70s to CT. I think they only thing they’re moving to Mass right now is the HQ. I know they’re still fairly big in the Mohawk Valley and I think they still make jet engines in Lynne Mass, “over to the GE” as they say there. I think their execs were tired of CT income tax. But why they’d move to Taxachusetts is a mystery to me.

        • Spartan

          The “keep to yourself” comment is not applicable to my childhood. If I had to rank my hometown in terms of busy-bodyness, it would definitely fall in the “Never Kiss By the Garden Gate” category. Everybody knew everybody else’s business — and there is good and bad that comes from that. I feel far more isolated in the DC area. I know a handful of my neighbors, and that’s about it. I have a large group of friends here, but we are fairly spread out.

          • Other Bill

            Ah yes, the judgmental Midwest. I liken it to being in a canoe and hitting a submerged log and then sliding over it and wondering, “Did I hit something?” If you say something in conversation they don’t approve of, they won’t call you on it, or object, or argue, or say anything. They’ll just never speak to you again. “Was it something I said?” And of course there’s always “Minnesota Nice” too. Passive aggressive. Ugh.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            That’s not us. We look out for one another, and if your kid starts acting like a thug and I see it expect a call from me, but we don’t stick our noses in your home life. Now, if you don’t believe and you don’t want your kid singing Xmas carols with the school, you can opt her out, quietly please. If you kick up a stink, there’s going to be a problem. If you are a lesbian couple raising a daughter, you might get a few raised eyebrows and a reference to “the girls’ house” but that’s about it, and we won’t tolerate anyone harassing you. On the other hand if you’re gay and you act cheeky publicly, you have only yourself to blame if you get beaten up.

            • Chris

              On the other hand if you’re gay and you act cheeky publicly, you have only yourself to blame if you get beaten up.

              Well, that escalated quickly.

              I don’t know what “acting cheeky” means to you, but I can’t fathom any possible meaning that would warrant physical violence as a response.

              Is kissing one’s partner in public the sort of “cheekiness” that would cause you to blame someone for being beaten up?

              • zoebrain

                “Acting cheeky”? It means being “uppity”.

                As for broken windows and graffitti – it’s different when the football team does it, then it’s just high spirits.

                Not all flyover country is like that. Not even most. But there are many, many parts where it’s worse, and no corporation wants anything to do with them. Just as no corporation wants anything to do with urban areas that are blighted by crack houses and illiterates.

                At the risk of raising a Strawman, it appears to me ,- even if no-one else ,- that the common clay of the new west are resentful that hi tech companies want nothing to do with the flat earth and creationist gaybaiting neanderthals that so often run county courts and sheriffs offices in these snug little islands of decency. They really don’t like being criticised either, no matter how much they themselves constantly revile libruls in even more vituperative terms.

                However, until they can leverage their privileged votes, counting far more than those of city dwellers, into legislation ,*forcing* by law the high tech, wealth creating libruls into their areas, where they can be taxed to pay for decent folk, then these corporations will stay away.

                Somewhere, there’s a golden mean. A place where neighbours do help each other. A place where diversity may not be celebrated, but at least its accepted rather than grudgingly tolerated. A place where new age airheads and fundie bible bashers are deemed harmlessly eccentric, and both welcomed. A place where the obnoxious dolts and vandals are given short shrift, even if they’re star football players or “underpriviliged minority youth where society is to blame”.

                That place is not middle America. But it could be. Most places are not that far off.

                Disclaimer: I’m Australian. We have the same issues here, and maybe I’m universalising too much. While it’s an honest opinion, from this distance I can’t say I have too much confidence that I’m right.

                • Captain Obvious

                  As for broken windows and graffitti – it’s different when the football team does it, then it’s just high spirits.

                  Virtually none of that happens in the south/midwest. It’s the coasts/Dem Strongholds where you see cities burn after a championship.

                  At the risk of raising a Strawman, it appears to me ,- even if no-one else ,- that the common clay of the new west are resentful that hi tech companies want nothing to do with the flat earth and creationist gaybaiting neanderthals that so often run county courts and sheriffs offices in these snug little islands of decency.

                  It’s because they don’t like being called that merely because they happen to think crazy things like “marriage is between a man and a woman”.

                  As an example…

                  My grandmother was raised and lived life as an extremely devout Lutheran. Raised and lived almost her entire life in Kansas, she recently moved to a retirement home near my mom. Now, mom’s neighbors in the duplex is a lesbian couple that have over the last many years become her best friends. They call grandma “Betty,” make sure they have the right day off for a weekend celebration of her birthday, and just love the old gal to pieces. And they know that they are literally ambassadors for “their people.” Grandma quite possibly never even knew a gay person before meeting these two, and she thinks they are great. They are single-handedly responsible for changing how she views “normal” gay people (the people who hold those parades in CA don’t count, those dolts are freaks by any measure).

                  But she still thinks that marriage is a man/woman proposition. That doesn’t make her evil, or bigotted, but by the standards of the Modern Left she is Basically Hitler.

                  You see what I mean here?

                  A place where neighbours do help each other. A place where diversity may not be celebrated, but at least its accepted rather than grudgingly tolerated. A place where new age airheads and fundie bible bashers are deemed harmlessly eccentric, and both welcomed. A place where the obnoxious dolts and vandals are given short shrift, even if they’re star football players or “underpriviliged minority youth where society is to blame”.

                  Such a place already exists. We call it “flyover country.” The problem is that 90% adherence to orthodoxy is still 10% heresy, and thus earns you a burning at the stake.

                  • Steve-O-in-NJ

                    Acting cheeky means looking for attention and/or trouble. I don’t approve at all of what happened to Charlie Howard in Maine, but, if he hadn’t deliberately tried to attract attention by wearing makeup and women’s accessories, singing “I am what I am” and blowing kisses, I don’t doubt things would have played out differently. If you know someone, or several someones, hates you or your behavior, your best bet is to keep your head down, not try to stir up trouble. Others will tell bullies to leave a quiet person alone. They will say a big mouth brought it on himself.

                    Mmm, yes, Zoe, you’re raising a strawman. The situation isn’t that black and white, and hurling insults doesn’t help it. But I think Slick Willy really hit the bullseye on this. .

                    • Chris

                      Acting cheeky means looking for attention and/or trouble. I don’t approve at all of what happened to Charlie Howard in Maine, but, if he hadn’t deliberately tried to attract attention by wearing makeup and women’s accessories, singing “I am what I am” and blowing kisses, I don’t doubt things would have played out differently. If you know someone, or several someones, hates you or your behavior, your best bet is to keep your head down, not try to stir up trouble. Others will tell bullies to leave a quiet person alone. They will say a big mouth brought it on himself.

                      Or, if Howard’s murderers weren’t raised in a culture which told them that violence and murder were understandable and natural consequences of making men feel insecure about their masculinity, things would have played out differently. If you know someone hates you for no goddamn reason, that’s their problem. You tell bullies to go fuck themselves, and if they don’t like it, tough. Sometimes those bullies will be bigger than you. Sometimes they will hurt you. Sometimes they will kill you. But they can’t kill all of you, and eventually the people who care about you will outnumber the people who want to hurt you, and maybe, just maybe, some day they’ll stop blaming you for your own murder.

                    • There’s nothing victims can do that in any way reduces the culpability of their victimizers. In a perfect rule, women should be able to go naked without fearing rape; we should all be able to keep our doors unlocked and our savings on the kitchen table. Those who hurt us when we are too trusting, or naive, or careless—they are 100% wrong.

                      But as a separate matter, taking gratuitous risks is still foolish. We know it’s not perfect in the world, and we should try to change it. But pretending that known dangers aren’t there just doesn’t make sense, unless one is seeking martyrdom, or is certain that one has the resources to fight off the worst.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Exactly right. In the best of all possible worlds a lot of things would be different. Unfortunately this is the world we have to live in. It’s the act of a fool to court trouble.

                      Oh, and Howard died as much because of a lethal combination of alcohol, testosterone, and hate as anything else, but I don’t doubt his attackers would have let him be if he hadn’t made himself known as a flamboyant, angsty, pain in the ass. Go ahead and tell a bully to go screw himself, but if the guy is bigger than you, or has 2-3 of his guys with him, don’t be surprised at the consequences.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      “If you know someone hates you for no goddamn reason, that’s their problem.”

                      No one hates anyone just to hate them, Chris. Now, there are plenty of reasons people hate someone that may well be invalid. You’re not supposed to hate someone because of his color, or what name he calls God by, or who he likes to kiss, or who he voted for last November, or because he’s unfortunate enough to have a body that is atypical. Anyone who hates just for that IS a bigot.

                      It never stops there, of course. No one will say he hates blacks just because they are black. He will say he hates them because they are loud, obnoxious, blast their music, act like they are taking over the block, drink cheap malt liquor and leave bottles all over the place, etc. No one will say he hates Muslims just because they call God by a different name and work off a different book than Christians. He will say he hates them because they are unassimilated, act like they are still back in the Middle East, arrogant, act like they are going to impose their law here, and possibly dangerous. No one will say he hates gay people just because they are gay. He will say he hates them because they act in a disgusting manner, get in your face, talk weird, act weird, and will sue you at the drop of a hat. It’s never just who you are, it’s what you do.

                      Oh, and it may be my problem if I hate you initially, but if I hate you and we have to be in the same area a lot, I can very easily make it your problem as well. I learned THAT back in grade school. The authorities can’t be everywhere all the time, and everyone has moments when they are alone or vulnerable. Maybe I can’t do anything on the spot when you sass me or act up, but later on you might be waiting for the bus, or walking to the corner store, or something else, all by your lonesome, and it’s open season. A couple of my friends and I will teach you a very painful, maybe even deadly, lesson, and we’ll have long ago prepared an ironclad alibi so that when anyone asks, we’ll all say we were somewhere else and back each other up. We skate, you suffer. That’s how someone else’s problem can become your problem.

                    • Chris

                      It never stops there, of course. No one will say he hates blacks just because they are black. He will say he hates them because they are loud, obnoxious, blast their music, act like they are taking over the block, drink cheap malt liquor and leave bottles all over the place, etc. No one will say he hates Muslims just because they call God by a different name and work off a different book than Christians. He will say he hates them because they are unassimilated, act like they are still back in the Middle East, arrogant, act like they are going to impose their law here, and possibly dangerous. No one will say he hates gay people just because they are gay. He will say he hates them because they act in a disgusting manner, get in your face, talk weird, act weird, and will sue you at the drop of a hat. It’s never just who you are, it’s what you do.

                      I’m well aware of the rationalizations for bigotry; the ability to say “I don’t hate blacks because they are black, I hate blacks because…” is why virtually no one self-identifies as a racist. That doesn’t make such statements or beliefs ant less bigoted.

                    • Chris

                      The problem, Jack, is that the goalposts for what constitutes a “risk” keep shifting. Steve describes wearing makeup, singing, and blowing kisses as “risks.” I can see why the last one is rude and would anger people, but have no idea why the first two would move anyone to violence. I just don’t get it.

                      I also have no problem with the idea that we should minimize risk, but Steve’s posts give off the idea that he can relate more strongly to the attackers than the victims in anti-gay hate crimes, and that makes me (and should make him) deeply uncomfortable.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      I never described those behaviors as “risks” I described them as behaviors that you know or should know are going to attract attention. No one’s going to pay any attention to an ordinary-looking guy taking the same bus or shopping in the same store. If you decide to “sissy up” by dressing like a man but painting your nails, wearing eye makeup, wearing an earring, or carrying a pocketbook, all things that Charlie Howard did, other folks are going to notice. They’re also going to wonder what’s going on here, and possibly be uncomfortable with you, because that’s not normal. Singing when happy, mischievous, or defiant, especially an obvious “gay anthem” is odd, and will attract attention. Blowing kisses is out and out rude and baiting behavior, and you shouldn’t be surprised if it gets you a punch in the mouth.

                      As someone who was the victim of bullying during a rough-and-tumble semi-blue-collar childhood I can relate. As an Aspergian I can also relate. When you don’t have the tools to make damn sure you act normal most of the time, you’re going to attract attention. When you don’t have the tools to stop yourself from acting oddly and saying “what am I doing?” you’re going to make others uncomfortable. If you’re rude, even by mistake, others won’t take into account that you are “different.” That goes triple if you are thin-skinned. No one wants to be around the odd, the troublesome, or the creepy, and most authority figures will, rightly or wrongly, say anyone who acted like that brought a beat-down on himself.

                      If you survive and you become wise, you learn your lessons, as I did, and eventually you settle from the role of the potentially dangerous creep into the role of the harmless eccentric who doesn’t bother anyone and who no one bothers. If you are gay, you settle into being the otherwise ordinary guy who lives quietly with his partner and only brings out the weird stuff on pride day (which, come on, is SUPPOSED to be weird).

                      I am not necessarily on the side of bullying. I am on the side of being as normal as you can be and others holding you to being as normal as you can be. In big cities the standards are a little looser because there’s more room for, ahem, niche interests and gatherings of the odd, often hidden from those who want no part of them, for them or their families. In smaller cities, towns, etc., there’s a lot less room to avoid that sort of thing, and most don’t want it near where they are bringing up a hopefully well-adjusted family. I can introduce my son to Adam and Joe from up the street if they act relatively normally and we don’t have to get into what’s really going on until he’s mature enough to understand different orientations. If they act weird or make some flirty comment about my son, even as a joke, that comfort level vanishes.

                      The same applies to me, as long as I can keep on normal track with a conversation. If I take a sharp left turn out of reality, which I am capable of due to a huge imagination, or can’t get unstuck from a pet topic, anyone’s comfort level will vanish, and that’s on me, unfortunately. Usually I won’t get a beating for it, but if I don’t stop when I see the signs I am going to push someone over the line, whose fault is it if I end up in an alley with a broken jaw and a few cracked ribs?

                    • Chris

                      I can introduce my son to Adam and Joe from up the street if they act relatively normally and we don’t have to get into what’s really going on until he’s mature enough to understand different orientations. If they act weird or make some flirty comment about my son, even as a joke, that comfort level vanishes.

                      You keep using weird dichotomies and weasel words. What do you mean by “what’s really going on?” I wouldn’t tell my kid about Adam and Joe’s sex life, but I wouldn’t tell them about Adam and Kelly’s sex life either. Would you tell your son that Adam and Joe are a couple? If not, why not? Do you think your kid wouldn’t understand that? If not, why not?

                      What does “acting relatively normal” mean? Are Adam and Joe allowed to hold hands in front of your son? Are they allowed to give each other a quick peck on the cheek, as most couples do in public?

                      Why would Adam and Joe be any more likely to make a flirty comment about your son than Adam and Kelly? I’ve been around gay people all my life and not one has ever made an inappropriate comment to me. Wouldn’t your comfort level vanish if an adult woman made a flirty comment about your son?

                      Your comments raise so many more questions than answers, and it’s really confusing to navigate your anxieties about gay people when you speak about them so vaguely.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Including walking out to the car to go to a pride event in a bizarre costume that shows ah, a bit too much of your body?

                    • Chris

                      Including walking out to the car to go to a pride event in a bizarre costume that shows ah, a bit too much of your body?

                      What is this comment in reply to? It is *still* very vague. How much is “too much of your body?”

                  • Chris

                    But she still thinks that marriage is a man/woman proposition. That doesn’t make her evil, or bigotted, but by the standards of the Modern Left she is Basically Hitler.

                    Now this is a strawman, especially as a response to Zoe.

                    And yes, it does make her bigoted, at least in this respect. That doesn’t make her a bad person. It sounds like she’s led a sheltered life, which is not her fault. And her acceptance of her new neighbors is wonderful.

                    Her belief that gay couples should not be allowed to marry is a bigoted belief. This does not make her a monster. Normal, good people have held bigoted beliefs for centuries, and probably always will.

                    • I’d argue that it’s a lazy and ignorant belief as often as it is bigoted.

                    • Captain Obvious

                      Her belief that gay couples should not be allowed to marry is a bigoted belief.

                      Promise me that you will actively campaign for whatever candidate runs opposite my preferred choice.

                      What is and is not marriage is a subject on which reasonable people can disagree. To suggest that someone is evil (which is what you suggest when you call someone a bigot) because they don’t agree with you is at the very heart of the issue here.

                    • Chris

                      To suggest that someone is evil (which is what you suggest when you call someone a bigot)

                      No. It suggests nothing of the kind. That you think it does is the problem; it means that you cannot accurately describe bigotry when it happens, because you are afraid that in order to see someone as bigoted you must first see them as evil. Until you change that idea, that means normal, everyday bigotry perpetrated by normal, everyday people will always fly under the radar for you.

                    • Chris

                      I’d argue that it’s a lazy and ignorant belief as often as it is bigoted.

                      But most bigotry is motivated by laziness and ignorance, not seething hatred.

                  • zoebrain

                    Captain Obvious – re marriage. In 2004, as the result of all decent, God-fearing folks who believed that “marriage is between a man and a woman”, and who had the whip-hand of power then, our marriage of over 20 years standing was voided.

                    I’m Intersex, born neither biologically wholly male nor wholly female. In 2004, I presented as male, even though identifying as female, simply because I looked far more male than female. So male that, with technical help to extract gametes from one gland not completely dysfunctional, I was able after many miscarriages to become a biological father.

                    Our son was, after 2004, not permitted to have married parents. Because of those decent folks who believe ” marriage is a man/woman proposition. ” intersex people, and that’s 1 in 60 of the human race, are excluded. And those decent folks are intent on forcing that counterfactual view on everyone else, no matter who it hurts. Hysterics and special snowflakes who clutch their pearls while complaining they are the ones being persecuted, and “burnt at the stake”.

                    No US Trans or Intersex person was murdered by being burnt to death last year, but there were some the previous year, and it’s a pretty common method in many countrues. 3 have been slain so far this year though, and that doesn’t bode well for the coming year, usually it’s only 2 a month.

                    At some point, patience with these decent God-fearing folks runs out. After 13 years, I’m struggling not to reach that point now, to retain my belief that we have to talk to one another, and not to retaliate. To merely lay facts before others, trusting in their innate goodwill rather than arrogantly telling them what to think, or worse, using legal compulsion regardless of their beliefs.

                    As more states consider laws that would prevent those like me from using public restrooms, or at a Federal level, being employed by anyone in the US, as longstanding civil rights get abolished, well, this strategy can be said to have failed now.

                    At least in the US. Personally, the point is moot, intersex aliens with inconsistent ID like me have been banned from entering the US since 2011. A compromise to please the flyover folks.

                    That was a rather longwinded way of saying “F#$& You!” wasn’t it? But if one is to remain a rational animal, showing goodwill and respect to those of differing opinions, then it’s needed. Ok, in the Age of Trump, that’s failed completely, but I for one am unwilling to abandon it.

                    Best regards. Sincere good wishes. If I was better at communicating, maybe you’d change your mind, but if not, so be it. Good wishes regardless.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      1 in 60 have an actual physical problem, or 1 in 60 have gender identity issues? 1 in 60 having an actual physical problem sounds high.

                      There is a difference between being someone with a physical problem doing their best to deal with it and being someone choosing to play up one’s oddity either to get attention or to attempt some kind of stroke against ordinary people who aren’t totally OK with oddity.

                    • Spartan

                      Oh Steve, that’s where I have to disagree with you. The laws protect those who “choose” to be different. One can choose a religion (or not), choose a marriage partner (or not), choose to identify with a particular race (or not, see Obama), choose national origin (am I German because I am 50% German or am I British because I am 50% British?), choose to belong to a political party (or not), a union (or not). I am sure that I have forgotten a few off the top of my head.

                      My point is, why is there so much focus in the gay rights debate as to whether it is a choice or if it is natural? I personally believe it is the latter but, at the end of the day, the answer should be that it does not matter.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      I think you are kind of missing what I was saying, Spartan. All of the things you mention are indeed protected, and I don’t care if anyone chooses to believe or not, marry or not (someone should tell my dad that, who is still pressing me to marry), what part of their heritage they choose to identify most with (I look mostly Italian so I usually identify with that, but I pull out the Irish side if I go to a concert or parade), register as whatever, or join a union or not.

                      The question isn’t being different, but acting different to the point of making others nervous, uncomfortable, or angry. That’s part of why I LOATHE militant atheism, emphasis on militant. It’s perfectly ok not to believe, but for those of us who do, it’s not much fun reading or hearing mocking or insults, and a knock-down, drag-out fight over a voluntary Christmas concert at a school is just not fun. It’s ok to be gay, but it’s not ok to shove it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way. My issue is with how people act, not who they are.

                    • Chris

                      It’s ok to be gay, but it’s not ok to shove it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way

                      Do you realize that when you say things like this, you aren’t actually communicating anything to anyone? This means nothing.

                      Some people think having gay people on television or in the movies is “shoving it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way.” Some people think gay pride parades are “shoving it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way.” Some people think having an LGBT/straight alliance on a school campus is “shoving it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way.” Some people think the existence of the “Ellen” show is “shoving it in everyone’s face every hour of every day in a strange way.”

                      What do YOU mean when you use this phrase?

                    • I know what it means. It means that gay people make some people uncomfortable, so they should, essentially, hide, as if being who they are is inherently bad taste. The Niggardly Principles apply. All of them. Still, every American should be able to act as they are, or as they choose to act within norms of civility.

                      I thought this was settled in the Sixties. If I’m offended that you have long hair or a beard, I’m the jerk. Yes, I think having anal sex with a man in a supermarket while screaming, “Look at us! We’re gay!” is “shoving it in everyone’s face” and bad taste. Short of that? Clothes, mannerisms, attitude, make-up? Unless it is designed to offend, its fine.

                    • Spartan

                      But, respectfully Steve, that can’t be the test because it is a subjective one. What is in your face might be unnoticeable to me, or vice-versa. Is it okay for two gay men to exchange a respectful peck on the cheek in your presence, or is that in your face? If we permit subjective tests, it invites bigotry and violence.

                      Funny aside, I used to live in an area of DC that has a high gay population. When my mom would come to visit, she would constantly quiz me on whether or not strangers we would pass on the street were gay — including men wearing vinyl, nipple rings, and make-up. She was clueless (and I constantly had to remind her that it was rude to ask strange men what their sexual orientation was.)

                      For the record, I think nipple rings are gross. But I can simply choose to look the other way and not let it bother me.

                    • zoebrain

                      Steve in NJ

                      1 in 60 are technically neither 100% typically male in every respect, nor 100% typically female in every respect.

                      This isn’t a useful figure though. A woman can live her entire life from cradle to grave, giving birth and being indistinguishable in all respects – outside genetic testing – and not know she has the 46,XY chromosomes only usually found in males. She doesn’t have a “physical problem” as such, except possibly an anomalous response to certain medications, less propensity to depression but greater chance of heart disease.. subtle things lost in the noise.

                      She may have a Big Problem with decent folks who pass laws requiring those with 46,XY chromosomes to use male restrooms under penalty of being labelled sex offenders though. She has a Big Problem with RNC policy statements that state flatly that people like her do not and cannot exist.

                      1 in 300 men aren’t 46,XY. 1 in 600 women aren’t 46,XX. The majority of Intersex people though have anomalies that aren’t genetic in nature, just as spina bufida and cleft palate aren’t usually genetically caused.

                      Tell me, do you think I’m “uppity”? Attention seeking?

                      I agree that I am attempting some kind of stroke, an educational and informative one, against extraordinary people, the xenophobes. Those who arent totally OK with oddity (is anyone, completely? I’m not) and use that as a justification for nastiness and malice. But that stroke is only in comments where the issue has already been broached. Fortunately, though they think they are “normal”, most people aren’t like that.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Ah, now I see. Anomalous responses to medication and different issues with heart problems are not what I had in mind, and are, in any case both “invisible” and, one hopes, manageable. I can’t see why one would use a chromosome test to determine who could use what bathroom. I am thinking more of those unfortunate souls who have abnormal secondary sex characteristics, like the one other person I knew of who was mostly a woman but had a male voice and some male glands. They don’t fit in, yet they have no choice with regard to some things, like the bathroom, they must use one or the other. I have some sympathy for those who don’t fit in, especially those who don’t fit in for reasons they really can’t change, as someone who didn’t fit in himself but for other reasons. However, in the end those who don’t fit in are few and can’t expect those who do to cut a wide swath for them.

                      Accepting that there are limits goes against a lot of the typical lessons we are taught as kids, but the fact is that someone who was born with only one leg isn’t going to run a marathon, and someone who was born blind isn’t going to pilot a plane. Someone who was born with enough of a chemical imbalance (I use that term very broadly) to have a major issue living other than the gender they have the secondary sex characteristics of has a real problem, because it’s a problem that can’t be concealed and is very easily conflated with mental illness (which is intuitive, why should a man be considered nuts if he says he’s Napoleon but perfectly all right if he says he’s a woman?). It’s a question of them being comfortable or making everyone else uncomfortable, and usually society comes down on the side of not making others uncomfortable.

      • Eternal optometrist

        You just lived on the wrong coast! West coaster (originally) here! For those of you not native Michiganders, we refer to Michigan as east coast, west coast, and those crazy bastards north of the bridge.

    • Spartan

      I’d also like to add that this “regionalism bigotry” goes both ways. My family and friends back home like to make fun of East Coast elitists all the time.

      • Other Bill

        Thanks Sparty. Nice observations. I think any thinking, feeling person is conflicted by where they come from. It’s one of the problems with being self-aware. It’s why so many Americans move around the country so much. Trust me, I’ve got plenty of red-neck cousins I’ve fled. But in many respects they’re solid people who take care of themselves and their kids and pay their taxes and vote. It’s just important to see both sides. As you do. And yes, things are complicated. But unlike the woman in SF, you see the complexity.

        I’d also say Ann Arbor and suburban Detroit are probably the western edge of the East Coast, the U of M being the Harvard of the Midwest, and all. Funny how so many places have their own private Harvards. I think Chicago and Minneapolis St. Paul and St. Louis are more content to just be Midwestern.

        And yes, as Jack has pointed out with the Farmers Only ads, non-coastals love to make fun of coastals. But that’s been going on in the U.S. forever. See eg., any Clemens work. It’s as integral to the American psyche as guns. I’d say the attitude of the woman in SF is a more recent development and a little less benign.

        Get back to billing. It’s a long way to December and 3000 hours.

  6. Just as a complete non sequitur: Have you seen the latest announcement from the DNC?

    Donna Brazile has, on her way out the door, created a new department within the DNC.

    “What does it do?”, you ask. It’s ostensibly called “The War Room” and is basically an investigative journalist cubicle farm, meant to dig up dirt on opposition (Like Russians, only more American, and less effective.)

    “Is this a good idea?”, you might ask. Absolutely. It boggles my mind that they didn’t have a department doing exactly this. It makes me wonder how the hell they got opp bites in for the last ever.

    “But why are you bitching about it then?” You’ll demand. Because Brazille staffed it and Every. Single. Hire. Was a former Clinton Campaign staffer. Yup, you read that right.

    So Brazile was shitcanned from her job in the media for being caught feeding debate questions to Hillary. “That’s OK,” the DNC says, “you have a home here. You can take the job of Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who we just shitcanned for being caught rigging the primaries for Hillary over Bernie.” And to wrap it all up in a bow, when Her Majesty, the Queen of California loses, her serfs can work at the DNC too.

    Their first job, it’s being reported, is to investigate the Russian hack, and why Hillary lost the election. Well, buckos. I have a suggestion on where to start.

    • Other Bill

      Hah! I guess one could call San Francisco a shithole, huh? Guess they could use some infra-structure. The U.S. just doesn’t do public rest rooms.

    • Pennagain

      The problem is not so much brown as yellow, known in SF as the Yellow Level (somebody tried calling it the Yellow Peril. I think they put him in a BART elevator and made him lick the floor). This “elevated significant risk of urination attacks” started almost immediately after September 11, 2001 when all public toilets in the city were ordered closed, including those serving the now 420,000 Bay Area Rapid Transit incomers and the 128,000 local Muni Metro commuters on the average weekday. All the fast food restaurants followed suit. None were were reopened to the public; a few were set aside for the exclusive use of the employees.

      There was a run on signs to post elsewhere: Rest Rooms For Customers Only. Businesses like Starbucks boomed. For the price of a latte, you could pee for free. The few 25-cent forest-green self-flushing French-made kiosks (les pissoirs grands de Paree) are three to five blocks apart downtown and kept in apple-pie order . . . after the apple pie has been digested, eliminated, slapped on the walls without the panache of Jackson Pollock, and vomited over on the floor. Tourists from the midwest think they are a local invention. Little do they know that these products are coming to their town. Be warned!

  7. Is there a word for a bigot of this sort? “Snob” conjures up Frasier Crane. “Elitist” is thrown around a lot now, but it’s still flexible enough that it could reflect condescension regarding a specific subject, rather than contempt directed at specific people. Is the British “toff” the best word? I think “snoot” could be good, as it implies that the blessed person shouldn’t have to smell the object of his contempt. “Classist” doesn’t come off the tongue easily, but “uppist” might have some potential.

  8. Well, them there is this:

    jvb

    • Pennagain

      Where did you find that perfect likeness of Melinda?

      • The image is from “Monsters, Inc.” She is Roz, the district manager in the movie. She has to make sure that the monsters turn in all their paperwork, on time, and complete. She is grumpy and a brown-snail-like creature. (Don’t tel anyone, but she is really a secret agent for the Child Detection Agency).

        jvb

  9. Isaac

    Does this simpleton know that the fastest growing and strongest economies are in places like Tennessee, Nebraska and the Dakotas? And that California is an upside-down mismanaged trainwreck?

  10. Lets see how Texas (fly over country central) stacks up with Ms. Byerley’s assertions:

    “…Big corporations think about where to put [employment centers]…”
    Texas has THE growth economy for the last decade, and this is led by Tech and Biotech. Not just about oil anymore, although we recently found enough to fuel the entire nation for more than a century.

    “…if you want jobs, clean up your act and make your town a place people like us want to live in…”

    Please stay away. Our problem is People’s Republic of Kali refugees (“people like us”) who move here and bring the infection they were fleeing with them. Our state works because we are not like what you escaped. Quit bringing your failed ideologies with you! Oh, about those jobs: we have plenty, which is why we have the refugee problem. Texas has led the nation in growth for quite some time.

    “…Add fiber internet…” Yup. Our rural hill country has some of the most up to date fiber network (100 Gig residential service, anyone?) in the nation, let alone the cities. Not everywhere, of course, but a very large footprint, given the size and population density of Texas.

    “…elect a progressive city council…” no thanks. That fails everywhere we have tried it (and some Texas cities are still trying it)

    “…commit to not being bigots..” what? Like you? Notice we have a larger proportion of minorities in Texas than just about any state, and how many riots have you seen here? The tension we HAVE had seems to happen in places that they have elected those progressive city councils, too.

    “… many of us would… live a more rural lifestyle… but won’t sacrifice tolerance or diversity to do so…” You don’t know what rural life is, in the first place. You are thinking of the suburbs (which we have a fair share of, true) which are NOT rural at all, or at least not considered so in Texas. Remember that large minority population I mentioned? The places that ARE rural, don’t have the race issues like big progressive cities. We tend to get along, and care less about what color the Sheriff we elect is, and more how well he will do the job. Does race come up? Are there issues at times? Of course. But not as big a deal as you seem to think.

    “…majority of residents are still voting for things against their own interests…” like big city taxes and union dues that go to buy votes? How about quota systems based on race (affirmative action) or gender? Seems to me those came from progressives. Or were you referring to a strong military (which fly over country seems to dominate), balanced governmental budgets, and equal protection under the law?

    “…don’t want brown people to thrive…” Now you are being silly. Texas was founded by “brown people” (and isn’t THAT a racist filter you flaunted?) working with gringos (those are the ‘less brown’ people, in case you didn’t know) who were invited to the territory and ended up creating a state.

    “…[the} best and brightest would rather scrape by in SF than live in a huge house somewhere if it meant dealing with bigots and backwards ideologies…” Wow. Then why are so many fleeing your state? Perhaps you also have “bigots and backwards ideologies” there? This statement is just plain stupid on your part, Ms. Byerley. NO ONE chooses where they live based on this criteria UNLESS THEY ARE BIGOTS AND HAVE A BACKWARDS IDEOLOGY. This is the opposite of tolerance.

    I am not saying Texas is superior to many other spots in the nation. I just live here, so understand what is going on. I am sure others have just as much going for them in other ‘fly over’ states. San Francisco is a wonderful town, at least when I last visited two decades ago. If you like living in a tiny apartment, making huge salaries but with nothing to show for it because the cost of living is so high, then live there.

    Just quite telling us how to live OUR lives.

  11. Pennagain

    MOBY JERK needs to be added to the Ethics Alarms lexicon!

    Other than that, I’m feeling more adversarial than usual tonight
    Captain Obvious “…to suggest that someone is evil (which is what you suggest when you call someone a bigot)” needs a reference, please. It is not in any dictionary I ever heard of.

    Steve-O makes up his own definitions, so I won’t bother wrangling with “cheeky.” By any definition, including his, I say anyone who physically assaults a person who is being “cheeky” or “struts it” is both a criminal and a — possibly also evil: I’m widening the Obvious stand on this just to fit the scenario Steve-O boasts of — a bigot,

    And to most of the rest of you who so enjoy painting all Californians blue, and who should know that Ancient Maya would paint unlucky people blue and throw them down a sacred well as human sacrifices, be advised that there are 5,225,675 registered Republicans in the state (that’s coming up on 30% of the voters and growing) who managed to keep15 representatives in Congress, and who boosted Trump and dumped on Clinton, as noted on the map below, so do make an effort to limit your barbed generalizations to the west coast of the West Coast: San Francisco, Berkeley, Silicon Valley and La La Land (which, by the way, did not begin to deserve the number or kind of awards it got at the Golden Globes).

    http://abc30.com/politics/red-vs-blue-california-election/398766/

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Blue wasn’t always bad. The Scottish Picts used to paint themselves blue for battle.

      • Chris

        What’s always been funny to me is that “red” refers to both Republicans and Communists.

        • Now, you know this is a relatively recent thing, right? Before the disputed 2000 election, TV maps would use red or blue for either party, but NBC, the first illuminated map user in 1976, was the star of the night, in part thanks to Tim Russert’s mantra “Florida Florida Florida!” and because the map was on night after night, and because that year the GOP was red and the Democrats were blue, talk about “red” or “blue” states came to have a long term meaning, and it stuck.

          When I read your comment, I immediately thought, “Didn’t that just start in 2000?” because that’s how I remembered it. So I checked. And I think red was initially handed to the GOP because the party had no popular connection to the “reds,” while the “liberals” did.

  12. Grampy_bone

    Compare the crime and graduation rates of small american rural towns with the big cities, and see which ones are the shitholes filled with stupid people.

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