Today’s Dispatch From The Great Stupid: The Nazi A’s Coach

Because, in the course of trying to communicate to his players while following MLB’s pandemic protocols, he made a gesture that might be taken as a Nazi salute if it weren’t on a baseball field in 2020 and if the supposed member of “Hitler’s Coaches” was insane, Oakland A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson was accused of deliberately giving a Nazi salute.

I didn’t need to see the video or learn anything more. I knew he wasn’t giving a Nazi salute, just as I wouldn’t need to check if someone told me a baseball player laid an ostrich egg on third base. The man was gesturing for some reason to explain something. Maybe he was saying, “Hit the ball out there!” and used the flat of his hand rather than pointing. I don’t know; I don’t care. There are no laws about gestures, and I always presume good will, not bad will and insanity.

But the usual bunch of cancel-hunters saw that they might be able to destroy someone, so they tried. This is like the equally ridiculous “OK” sign outrages. If these terrible, terrible human beings can’t get someone fired, at least they get a notch on their metaphorical belts if they can make someone grovel. Here they hit the jackpot: first the poor coach apologized, explaining that the A’s do something they call “the karate chop” instead of a high five (which is banned as part of the MLB protocols, and he was being schooled on the safe way to do it. He had reached out to do the  chop with someone who said “No, no, no straight arm!” and Christenson took a second to realize what he meant. By all means, the coach should be fired. Heck fire both of them. Ban the team. Continue reading

The Black Jack O’ Lanterns

In Nyack, New York, a law firm purchased some designer black jack o’lanterns from “Bed, Bath, and Beyond” as office decorations. Some residents complained to a local TV channel and to the law firm, claiming that the decorations were “racist.”

The law firm, Feerick, Nugent, MacCartney, immediately removed them, and soon thereafter, the household accoutrements chain pulled the item from its inventory. Now the law firm is busy grovelling, especially after the local NAACP accused them of “extreme lack of sensitivity.”

I think he meant “a lack of extreme sensitivity.” Isn’t that more accurate?

“We understand that someone complained about them and so once we got word of that we immediately took them down,” said Mary Marzolla, a partner at the racist firm. “We represent people of all colors and faiths, and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community,” she added,

What? How do black painted or colored pumpkins exclude anyone from the community? Is she really saying that if an individual, no matter how foolish or addled, complains about anything, then the firm is ethically obligated take remedial action? Is that the standard?  Let’s test it: I’m complaining about the firm’s conduct in capitulating to an idiotic and manipulative claim of racism. OK, Feerick, Nugent, MacCartney, the ball’s in your court.

Satisfy me.

Is there no way in 2019 to tell a hypersensitive wacko, “I’m sorry, but you are a fool. There is nothing to be offended about. I do not have to cater to your paranoia or contrived sensitivities, and I will not.” Continue reading

My Involuntary Evolution On “Never Apologize…It’s A Sign Of Weakness!”

“Never apologize…It’s a sign of weakness!” is one of John Wayne’s many famous quotes from the characters he portrayed on film, though no one ever wrote a song about it like Buddy Holly did after he watched “The Searchers” and couldn’t get “That’ll be the day!” out of his head.

The line was given renewed life when NCIS leader Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) repeatedly cited it to his team of investigators on the apparently immortal CBS procedural “NCIS,” as he taught them about life, their duties, and ethics. “Never  say you’re sorry…It’s a sign of weakness!” is #8 (on some lists, #6) among  36 “Gibbs’ Rules” that include “If it seems like someone is out to get you, they are” (#30) and “Never date a co-worker” (#14).

Once, not very long ago, I regularly referenced #8 in ethics seminars as one of Gibbs’ worst rules when I discussed “Dr. Z’s Rules,” social scientist Philip Zimbardo’s tips for girding oneself against corruption in the workplace. One of the points on that list is,

“Be willing to say “I was wrong,” “I made a mistake,” and “I’ve changed my mind.” Don’t fear honesty, or to accept the consequences of what is already done.

I would tell my students that Gibbs and the Duke were wrong, that apologizing for wrongdoing is a sign of strength and integrity, signalling to all that you have the courage and humility to admit when you were wrong, and to move forward.

Then came the advent of social media bullying and Twitter lynch mobs, and I saw how I had underestimated the noodle-content of the  spines of politicians, celebrities, CEOs, and others… Continue reading