An amazing scientific achievement was recently realized when a small probe semi-successfully landed on a comet. But that’s not what I’m going to discuss today.
What I am going to discuss is the silly, completely disproportionate and irrational response of some to the shirt worn by team member Matt Taylor at a press conference announcing the event. For reference, here is the shirt:
It’s a custom made shirt, crafted for Mr. Taylor by a close – female – friend, and it depicts a bunch of comic-book women, some in a state of semi-dress.
Which, by the way, is nothing unusual in the comic book world.
Thanks to the screeching of humorless, vapid nonentities, Mr. Taylor was forced to go before the cameras again, to apologize for the shirt.
Now, in most of the businesses in which yr. obdt. does consulting work, the now nearly ubiquitous business casual dress code would balk at such a shirt – as it would balk at a shirt showing male comic characters, as lacking the decorum required in a business environment. But that’s not relevant here; what is relevant is how the peripatetic-ally thin-skinned are so quick to screech their outrage at the silliest provocations.
There is only one proper reply to such screeching, and it is most eloquently put by the South Park anti-hero Eric Cartman:
Mr. Taylor was wrong to apologize. He should have adopted what I will henceforth call the Cartman Gambit in reply to the hysterical outrage – “Screw you guys, I’m going home.”
Another example, from a few years back; in 1999, an Imperial City mayoral aide, David Howard, was forced to resign his position after using the word “niggardly” in a private meeting. (To be fair, Mr. Howard was later rehired.) For those who do not know the word, here’s the definition from Merriam-Webster:
: hating to spend money
Again, the Cartman Gambit was not invoked. But there can be no rational response to the irrational. Apologies, though, should not be tendered. This only serves to feed the beast, and then the next hysterical cry of outrage will be over something even more inoffensive.