Category Archives: WTF?!

Micro Aggressor Dramatic Overreaction Syndrome

Envard Munch’s “The Scream.” Description from the BBC: Beneath a boiling sky, aflame with yellow, orange and red, an androgynous figure stands upon a bridge. Wearing a sinuous blue coat, which appears to flow, surreally, into a torrent of aqua, indigo and ultramarine behind him, he holds up two elongated hands on either side of his hairless, skull-like head. His eyes wide with shock, he unleashes a bloodcurdling shriek. Despite distant vestiges of normality – two figures upon the bridge, a boat on the fjord – everything is suffused with a sense of primal, overwhelming horror.My first blog post* — presciently titled “In which I start my new blog by offending everyone” — discussed the fact that ostensibly right-thinking people, who have banished from their vocabulary epithets based on race, gender/identity, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation are still more than willing to toss around epithets based on disability.  And when you call these paradigms of liberal open-mindedness on this insulting inconsistency, you get a very consistent reaction:  that’s just one too many interest group’s feelings to keep track of.

This is such a consistent reaction it needs a name:  Micro Aggressor Dramatic Overreaction Syndrome.

Yesterday, I had this email exchange with a well-respected older, white, male, lefty plaintiff’s lawyer — let’s call him “Joe” because, I promise you, that’s not his name — starting with a post to a listserv about what one person might have known about another:**

Joe (to listserv):  I know that love is blind, but I don’t think it’s blind, deaf and dumb.  (Apologies for use of non-PC references to visual, auditory and speech disabilities.)

Me (in a private email to Joe):  C’mon Joe: “ I know that love is blind, but I don’t think it’s blind, deaf and dumb.  (Apologies for use of non-PC references to visual, auditory and speech disabilities.)”   You know we love you, but that’s really not OK.  I always try to do the protected-class switcheroo:   would you have said something demeaning about a person of color, LGBTQI person, etc, and then excused it as “non-PC”?  Thanks.

This, of course, would have been a good time for Joe to say “oops, I fucked up” or “sorry, I didn’t think about it that way.”  Instead, he doubled down and displayed a classic case of Micro Aggressor Dramatic Overreaction Syndrome:

I was trying to inject a note of levity, although that note might have been flat.

Of course, I did not mean that love is literally blind.  Obviously, the term “blind” is a metaphor.  So is the word “blind” in the saying, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”  That refers to people who will not see, in a volitional sense, not to those who cannot see, who have a severe vision disability.

My use of “deaf” and “dumb” was also metaphorical, although in this case it might have been volitional as well.  [Did the witness choose not to know?]**

Maybe I’ll just swear off metaphors.  They can be treacherous.

“Oh poor me!  Instead of thinking about people with disabilities as human beings instead of metaphors for failure, I’ll just swear off metaphors!”  Micro Aggressor Dramatic Overreaction Syndrome.  And of course, it’s the metaphoricalness (metaphorocity?) that’s the problem:  he invokes disability as a negative quality of someone who apparently refuses to recognize a bad fact about someone else.

I responded:

You don’t have to swear off metaphors; only those based on negative associations with protected classes.  I’m guessing you wouldn’t metaphorically call someone an “Indian giver,” or use the term “Jew him down,” or “n****r in the woodpile.”  All of these are metaphors that we have long ago left behind – with good reason.  Disability metaphors are some of the last to go, but I think it’s time to leave them behind too.

Thanks for thinking this through.

No response, which I suppose is as it should be:  we’d each said our piece.  I said this two years ago and I’ll say it again:

I’m done. I’m done being polite.***  I’m done shutting up about good liberals who seem to get every sort of civil rights and civil liberties except the equality of rights, respect, and dignity of our brothers and sisters with disabilities.  I’m done with disability rights as a “when we get around to it” right.  I’m done with people who are willing to use respectful terminology except — *big sigh* — avoiding using the word “retard” is just one step too far toward thought control.  And I’m done with “civil rights” law firms in inaccessible offices and “civil rights” lawyers who don’t hire interpreters.  I’m done.

Still done.  Even more done.

***************

*Not actually THE first blog post — which was, of course, “Hello, World!” — but next after that one.

**Eliding any information that might actually relate to the case in question.

***Yes, I know, there is clear and convincing evidence that I was done with politeness, as a general matter, a long time ago.

Patriotism as political correctness

New Orleans is finally doing the right thing and taking down statues of famous traitors.  The linked story relates that “opponents see this as suppressing or rewriting history in the name of political correctness.”*  Says one such opponent:

This is American history, whether you like it or not.

I find it curious that the only way these opponents can see to preserve history is through monumental statues of traitors and enemies of our country.  (Side question:  how many of the opponents have American flags on their cars or sweaters or lapels?)

On the opponents’ theory, the only way we can learn the history of World War II would be to erect a statue of Adolph Hitler; avoid suppressing or rewriting the history of the Cold War by installing a statue of Stalin (perhaps the Russians a few extra lying around); tell the true story of all of the brave boys of the revolution by putting up a statue of George III?

No one is preventing anyone from learning about the history of the civil war, individual sacrifice and brutality on both sides, or who these guys were who used to be displayed greater-than-life-size in the middle of traffic circles.  Books — and movies and TV specials, for those less inclined to read — abound for learning just about everything you’d like to know about those awful years.  Hell, even our ignorant president seems curious about what the heck could possibly have caused the Civil War.  But the people we honor through giant carved slabs of rock should not include those who tried to rip our country apart in the name of enslaving our fellow humans.

Preview of coming blog posts I may or may not ever get the energy to write:  Conservatives don’t understand hypocrisy because you have to (1) be capable of rational thought (“one of these things is not like the other”); and (2) give enough of a shit to engage in it.  And, I suppose, (3) not have your entire worldview and sense of self defined by the need to reject it.

*******

*I also deeply love this use of political correctness:  now simple loyalty to country is dismissed as “PC.”

Discipline before rule of law

As most of you know by now, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last night.  He commissioned a rationale from the Department of Justice, which he presented to Comey with a cover letter from Attorney General Sessions.

Here is the first sentence of Sessions’s letter:

As Attorney General, I am committed to a high level of discipline, integrity, and the rule of law to the Department of Justice.

Discipline first; rule of law third.

This is inconsistent with the oath of a civil servant, whose first duty is to the rule of law:

I, ——–, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

The attorney general takes that same oath.  (TW:  This links to the swearing in of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which may cause fatal levels of nostalgia for the decency, fairness, and the rule of law.)

Hell, even the oath Sessions took to become an attorney in Alabama requires him to support the United States Constitution (albeit second to the Alabama Constitution — I suppose just in case they secede again) and nowhere speaks of “discipline.”

I, ————, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will demean myself as an attorney, according to the best of my learning and ability, and with all good fidelity, as well to the court as to the client; that I will use no falsehood or delay any person’s cause for lucre or malice, and that I will support the constitution of the State of Alabama and of the United States, so long as I continue a citizen thereof, so help me God.

I was interested to learn that Sessions has also sworn not to “delay any person’s cause for lucre or malice.”  Let’s see how that plays out in the Trump/Russia investigation.

Ultimately, Sessions is a mean, insecure, racist punk.  His need for discipline reveals a lifetime spent fearing independent or abstract thought, essential to support and defend principles instead of people.  He’s the one of those little shits who always surround the school bully, egging him on.  Vincent Crabbe or Gregory Goyle to Trump’s Draco Malfoy.

Image: four wizards from Harry Potter, middle school-age kids in black academic robes. All white. Second from left is Draco Malfoy, blond and sneering. To either side and slightly behind him are his sidekicks.

Ignorant, Evil, or Both?

The Trump Administration’s latest trainwreck, via the NYT:

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, set off an intense backlash on Tuesday when he suggested that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler and said incorrectly that Hitler had not used chemical weapons during World War II or against his own people.

Is he ignorant of gas chambers?  Or did he mean to imply that German Jews were not Germans?

White/class/athlete privilege at its most vile.

Brock Turner raped an unconscious woman.  He got a six-month sentence.  That’s enough white privilege right there:  how many people of color are serving 5- and 10-year sentences for non-violent crimes?  Actually, how many working class people?   How many stoners of all colors?

That wasn’t enough, though.  With the lowest sense of self-awareness outside the Trump campaign, Turner’s father argued in a letter to the Court that

incarceration [was] not the appropriate punishment for Brock [because it would be] a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.

Seriously?  Let’s count up the other crimes that can be committed in under 20 minutes that will still get you a significant sentence.  Stealing a car?  Burgling a house?  Hell, you can kill someone in less then 20 minutes — a gunshot takes under one second.   Who will stand up at the next murder trial to argue that life in prison is a steep price to pay for 0.20 of a second out of 20 plus years of life?

The letter goes on to parody itself by complaining that Brock no longer enjoys eating “big ribeye steak[s]” . . . or “his favorite snack.”  Seriously?  We have represented a class of inmates in solitary confinement.  They are no longer enjoying ribeyes with their dads.  Shall we calculate how long their crimes took and let them out?

I have no words.  OK, maybe a few.

 

 

Ivanka Trump Flats with Spikes

There is just so much right, wrong, and weird about these shoes:

{Image:  Ladies flat shoes in black with a row of spikes around the opening.  The are called "Ivanka Trump Cecille."}

  1. I like them.
  2. It pisses me off that I like them and they bear the name Trump.
  3. They are deeply weird.
  4. They are totally badass.
  5. I would wear them with the intent of looking like the lady lawyer equivalent of a biker gang member but would probably only succeed in running my nylons.
  6. Yes I still wear nylons.  Dowdy and proud!
  7. I might just buy them.

Poll:

Verizon customer support — verbatim

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet that I don’t really take anywhere; when I travel, I just take a Kindle for reading, and otherwise use my Surface Pro, which can be a laptop or a tablet.  It finally dawned on me that I did not need to pay Verizon $10 per month to never connect this device to the internet, so I decided to delete it from my account.  I thought I could do this little transaction online, but could not find a “disconnect this device” option.  There followed this customer service chat/epic upselling effort with “Charlie”:

Thank you for contacting the Verizon Wireless Chat Team regarding your account. How can we help you today?

Me:  I would like to remove a device from my bill

Me:  I figured out how to “suspend” it but I would like to remove it permanently.

Charlie: Just to make sure I understand you correctly, do you mean switching the device on the line or removing it permanently?

Me:  removing permanently.

Me:  a tablet I no longer use

Me:  and have not replaced

Charlie: Oh my! It’s saddening to hear that you want to remove a device from your account. I will go over the account details to check all available options and fees before processing your request.

Charlie: Let me first pull up the account, may I have your name and mobile number?

Me:  ###-###-#### Amy Robertson

Me:  that’s the number on the account; not the tablet

Charlie: Thank you Amy.

Charlie: May I also have the mobile number assigned to the Tablet that you want to cancel to check its details?

Me:  ###-###-####

Me:  it’s month to month

Charlie: Thank you Amy.

Me:  i thought i had canceled it long ago; so i just want to stop paying the monthly cost

Charlie: Got it.

Charlie: May I know who was originally using this Tablet? What change occurred that made you not use it anymore?

Me:  Long story.

Charlie: If you won’t mind, I am here to listen to make sure we get to the bottom of this and provide you with out best recommendation.

Me:  Seriously, I’m good. All set. Just want to remove this device from my bill. Thanks.

Charlie: I understand. Just before I make any changes, you might be interested in upgrading this tablet to an Ipad. We got a variety of Ipads available and for a limited time, I can give you a $200 discount on any new iPad.

Me:  You are doing a GREAT job upselling me, and I promise I will give you 5 stars on any follow up survey, but I’ve made up my mind: I would like to remove this tablet from my account. Can I ask you to do that now? Thanks!

Charlie: I completely understand. Let me start the process for you now.

Charlie: Please stay online with me.

Me:  No problem. Thanks.

Charlie: Thank you.

Charlie: I am starting the process now.

Charlie: While processing this disconnect, would you happen to know anyone who might be willing to take over this line? It can help someone get crucial and reliable cell service while avoiding startup activation fee of $40.00. It can also help someone get into a brand new device since it’s an out of contract line, like a new iPhone 6s Plus or S7 Edge.

Charlie: Also, if you don’t know someone off the top of your head who might be interested in taking over this line, I can help you get it suspended without billing for up to 3 months so you don’t have to pay for it in the meantime.

Me:  I don’t know of anyone to take over this line. Would like to just remove it from my bill.

Charlie: I completely understand and thank you for giving us a chance of laying out all available offers for you. I already have the validation result. Checking here, we have to wait for your billing cycle date which is on the 22nd so we can avoid the prorated charges on your final/ next bill. Since we already gone through the process, when you call us back on your billing cycle date, all we have to do is hit the disconnect button and the line will be totally removed from your account.

Me:  No, seriously, disconnect it now.

Me:  I’ll pay this month’s charge. I don’t want to have to call back.

Me:  That way I just pay through 3/22 and not after.

Charlie: Got it. I can finalize it now so you won’t need to call back by the 22nd. The line will automatically be canceled once it reaches the end of its cycle.

Charlie: Yes. That will be the case.

Me:  Perfect.

Charlie: 🙂

Charlie: Almost done submitting the request now.

Charlie: All done! I’ve submitted your request to cancel and the line #### will automatically be canceled once it reaches the end of the cycle. No need for you to do anything from your end.

Me:  Thanks very much!

Charlie: You’re welcome! I’m glad I took ownership of your concern today by submitting your request to cancel the tablet line since it is no longer being used.

Charlie: Do you have any further questions or concerns I may assist you with?

Me: Nope.  All set.  Thanks!