Friday, February 28, 2014

Sanctimony, Part I

I suppose that there is no percentage in this for me but I can't help myself. Here are two bits of silliness in the news.

John Schultze, a lawyer with the Department of Transportation has, essentially, been fired because a few years ago he sent around a joke press release touting legalized prostitution as an economic development idea for Wisconsin. Among the benefits of the plan would be job opportunities for W-2 recipients. The release included the undoubtedly offensive suggestion that men who frequent prostitutes probably prefer transsexuals to transvestites.

Now, I certainly understand that prostitution is frequently exploitation of poor women and that's not funny. I suppose one might say that the the bit about transsexuals was "hetero-normative" and we certainly can't have that.

On the other hand, humor often works by being transgressive in the sense that it flips our normal assumptions about things and treats its subject differently than we normally would. Doing so doesn't mean that the humorist endorses what he jokes about.  In this case, the joke was on the idea that someone would think prostitution in the Dells was a good idea.

I have never met John Schultze and wouldn't know him if he came into my office and started telling me the one about the farmer's daughter and the traveling salesman. The joke was executed in a tacky way and not very funny. It was, as we say these days, "NSFW" and, I assume, a violation of the terms of use of the state e-mail policy.

It was all of that and an offense and against good comedic discernment to boot. But was it a firing offense? Have we really become so incapable of exercising judgment about the multiplying third rails of public conversation that we have to destroy everyone who blunders on to something that makes someone - or at least officially protected someones - uncomfortable ? Have our politicians become so focus grouped that they can't stand up for the decent thing to do? No need to answer the last one.

I don't think the joke he forwarded was very funny and I understand that sending it around at work was not the best thing to do. He deserved a reprimand.

But fire the guy? Give me a break.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin


Anonymous said...

The Walker Administration's leitmotiv is "protect the Governor at all costs."

The real shocker is that the Professor is surprised.

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

John Mitchell said...

“The Walker Administration's leitmotiv is "protect the Governor at all costs."

Your partisanship is showing! Schulze LEFT the Walker Administration. Had Walker “protected” him, he would have been asked to remain on board. Now, perhaps you are referring to Schulze leaving his post--we do NOT know whether he resigned on his own accord or was fired--as a measure of “saving” Walker from further embarrassment. Who knows, who cares.

Regardless, should Schulze have resigned for something that was in bad taste close to 16 YEARS AGO that occurred under SOMEONE ELSE’S WATCH? Absolutely not. The professor, I believe, is correct in this assessment.

“It was, as we say these days, "NSFW" and, I assume, a violation of the terms of use of the state e-mail policy.”

And what is the consequence for such an offense, as specified under work rules or the law? IF removal from one’s position is indeed an option, then those in charge have discretion and justification to make the argument that his conduct was NOT “deserving a reprimand”. Just sayin’.

“Have our politicians become so focus grouped that they can't stand up for the decent thing to do? No need to answer the last one.”

Professor, you do realize you are criticizing one of your own kind. (Golf clap). That is, it would appear you believe Walker ought to have insisted that Schulze stay at his post despite the incident. Why did you not specifically make reference to Walker in this case? That is, why did you neglect to explicitly calling Walker out on his apparent lack of commitment to one of his boyzzz, rather than make the inference that Walker, in essence, left his buddy hang out to dry?

No need to answer that last one...

Dad29 said...

It does not occur to JMitchell that the DOT has its very own Secretary and its very own HR department.

JMitchell may learn this when he gets out of middle school.

John Mitchell said...

(Tsk) (tsk), now Dad29, insulting someone on Sunday? And, of all places, In church, texting with your cell phone? I suppose an extra Benjamin Franklin in the till will suffice, eh.

Sadly, it doesn't occur to Dad29 that the DOT is ultimately under the authority of the governor, who could have easily intervened and stated that Schulze remained in his post. But that would taken leadership. Moreover, Dad29, the professor is (indirectly) criticizing the Walker Administration for its decision.

Speaking of which, how is that election campaign there Dad29? The Tea Party needs such staunch Constitutional Catholics running for office rather than simply bloviating from a blog.

Anonymous said...

Look who just fell off the cabbage truck -- Daddy Zero!

Daddy-O, you don't know that Governors move these agency people around like chess pieces and actually think that the agency heads make the decisions?

Think back to when the powers that be decided that Lt. Governor Kleefish's Chief of Staff had outlived her shelf life. On Friday she is in the Lt. Governor's Office and on Monday she reports to work at DWD! You telling us that the folks at DWD made this decision?

Anonymous said...

Now that Dud29 prohibits postings on his "site," his proposed posts ought to undergo a similar academic evaluation. We think he may be a renegade gay priest.

John Mitchell said...

Anony 10:05 p.m., while Dad29 is most certainly a curmudgeon, making an unsubstantiated claim demonstrates poor character on your part.