WUSS EPIDEMIC

At regular intervals Americans work themselves into a frenzy about the insidious creeping Pussification of America. The evidence is everywhere: the Political Correctness police have taken away our god-given right to use ethnic slurs, schools are now concerned exclusively with inclusiveness (the grammatical irony of which is underappreciated), violence is unfairly slandered, and so on. Essentially, everywhere one turns there is mounting evidence that Americans are a bunch of whining, emotionally fragile wusses. Some college sophomore getting upset over a word someone used is the harbinger of the downfall of Western Civilization. In the glorious past, by contrast, people were Tough and didn't stand for This Nonsense. People had strong backbones and didn't let mere words hurt their feelings, and if someone insulted you, you (choose one: Took the high road and won through your superior principles / Punched them in the nose, an act roundly approved of by onlookers since the speaker Had It Coming).

You know the narrative.

There is no doubt that examples can be mined in this age of limitless information and habitual exhibitionism of individuals being Too Sensitive. The problem is the broad conclusions drawn from these incidents about Society writ large and the failure to recognize that finding the balance between free expression and an environment of hostility toward people of certain social categories is one that takes time and some trial and error. Few Americans seem capable of agreeing upon the point at which forms of expression become harmful to others, but there is more or less unanimous agreement that most of us need to grow thicker skin.

Except cops. Cops can react like histrionic preteens to the slightest criticism without anyone telling them to Grow a Pair or stop Overreacting or Man Up or Quit Whining or any of the other comment section favorites. The rules for non-police are clear: Whether someone uses a word that makes you uncomfortable or plants a burning cross in your front lawn you must shrug it off. For cops, conversely, any comment consisting of anything less than fawning praise is not only to be brought up repeatedly until the end of time but is justification for reacting like an inconsolable toddler.

In any other context something as utterly irrelevant and insubstantial as a Super Bowl halftime show would bring forth a torrent of words lecturing us about how easily offended we are and if you don't like it, just ignore it and all that. But we are now entering week three of police unions wailing about how badly their fee-fees were hurt by the mean singing lady. Where are all the old white local newspaper columnists telling them to shut up and grow a pair? To ignore her if they don't like what she has to say? Where are the philosophical defenses of her basic right of expression? Isn't this the advice routinely given to people who have the temerity to point out when things are, you know, racist or whatever?

If the tables were turned – and if cops had the heroic toughness we are obligated as a nation to point out regularly – it seems that the police union would be instructed to respond along the lines of "I guess she's entitled to her opinion" or "We're professional public servants, we do our job protecting people who don't like us as well as we do for people who love us." Or maybe something nice and flippant like "Who's Beyonce?" or "I didn't watch her show, it was too boring." There might even be scattered calls to take the high road and make no response at all to underscore her insignificance. Isn't that how Tough people would respond, in the traditional narrative?

Instead they're still bleating about how terribly their feelings were hurt by a song-and-dance number characterized as "anti-police" by people who seem to believe that without constant, lavish praise a police officer cannot perform his or her professional duties. To its credit, the media is not giving the non-story of their outrage much in terms of legs, but it would be nice if somebody pointed out, for example, how different the reactions were when University of Missouri students dared to complain that pickup trucks full of white students were driving around campus screaming racial slurs at black students who were such whiners for trying to make such a big deal out of it.

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24 Responses to “WUSS EPIDEMIC”

  1. mago Says:

    It's always high school en los estados.

  2. El Spirvo Says:

    Perfect spanglish summation, ftw.

  3. Buckyblue Says:

    Yeah, no shit. When I point out that I've lost over $1000 take home each month and that the central office morons are now really in charge I'm told to STFU and quit my whining. But when the police union whines about only getting a 4% raise compared to my pegged to the CPI $200 for the year we're all supposed to go give the nearest cop a blow job in recompense for the temerity to suggest they be treated like every other public employee.

  4. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Rush Limbaugh's true, shameful legacy is pioneering Conservative Victimhood, the perfect example of having one's cake and etc. I imagine most of these hypocritical toddlers have spent some time at the feet of the master.

  5. Anubis Bard Says:

    Back in the aughts the President of Georgia fired the nation's entire traffic police force (something like 30,000 people) – eventually hiring back only a tiny minority of non-corrupt officers. Maybe once Bernie's in as President for Life, he can take that on.

  6. Major Kong Says:

    I'd the same goes for the military these days.

  7. Well mostly Says:

    If toddler antics were all it came to it would be pathetic. But after a full dose of this poor me yacking the officer goes out on patrol. What could possibly go wrong?
    The agreement about cop's feelings is like our old Cuba policy, designed to make a few old men feel better because……really just because: cue flag waving.
    The typical sales rep deals with more resistance every day and yet retail folks.
    Ain't it awful!

  8. quixote Says:

    It all makes perfect sense if might makes right, doesn't it?

  9. postcaroline Says:

    Another irony: people who complained about race/trans/gender insensitivity in Superbowl commercials were branded as whiners. So it turns out they were just sensitive about the wrong things:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/08/superbowl-50-invaded-by-political-correctness/

    Also, heaven forbid you extend a middle finger or have a wardrobe malfunction during a halftime show. Because American football is all about decency, goddamit!

  10. Ursula Says:

    As with nearly every other example in this country, this course of events demonstrates how we've turned the intent of our founding documents upside down. Police might as well start wearing red coats.

    It isn't referenced in this article, but I'm sure you've seen it around – has anyone noticed that police now refer to non-police as "civilians"? I seem to remember that once, police WERE civilians, and the only people that weren't were the military.

  11. Mo Says:

    Authoritarian minds basically worship the 1%, a classic suck-up strategy.

    If I hear one more time about corporations having a duty only to their shareholders, or how about protection of property is one of the few things a government has to do, I may have to pull the rubber chicken out of its holster. Rich people used to have to pay for fire and police and military
    protection, but then they conned the booboisie into paying taxes to do that for them.

    Because, y'know, if you agree with whatever self-justifying crap the the oligarchy spouts, you're just as good as they are. Only much poorer. Which poverty is, of course, the fault of Those People, the Takers with Brown Skins.

  12. Skipper Says:

    @Mo. I agree with your sentiments. However, most people don't realize that corporations DO, in fact, have a duty only to their shareholders. That is actually written into corporate law. Their sole duty is to maximize return to shareholders. That supersedes any other consideration.

    If they don't maximize return, they can be, and have been, sued by shareholders. If the Sultan of Brunei has a major stake in Corporation X, he doesn't care if the company poisons the river or uses slave child labor, as long as the result is that his investment is maximized.

    If we want that to end, we need to change the law.

    @G&T. As far as the always erroneous use of "grow a pair," its best to follow Betty White's advice: “Why do people say 'grow some balls'? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

  13. Mo Says:

    Alas, Skipper, the phrase "take a pounding" is what no one wants to do.

  14. Mo Says:

    OK, last post, I swear (coffee if nearly finished).

    … if the company poisons the river or uses slave child labor, as long as the result is that his investment is maximized.

    If we want that to end, we need to change the law.

    Or ensure that lawsuits about child labor and environmental destruction result in gigantic, financially painful settlements.

    Yeah, I know, a boy can dream.

  15. Skipper Says:

    @Mo. Again, you're right, but that's what happens when the country — even people nominally on the left — has fallen for the propaganda about "out of control juries" and many people actually buy into the propaganda about "greedy plaintiff lawyers" screwing the decent hardworking corporations. Way too many people think punitive damages should be capped at $250,000 — which most corporations can find between the sofa cushions in the executive waiting room.

  16. Strawberry Shortfuse Says:

    "Their sole duty is to maximize return to shareholders. That supersedes any other consideration."

    This is why I lose my mind every time somebody tries to argue for the privatization of education and access health care, which are essentially long-term public investments–you don't see the return on dollars spent in those for decades, generally, and it's generally a CEO's job to recognize returns by quarter. The incentives involved are just grossly misaligned.

  17. Brian M Says:

    Skipper:

    My understanding of the history of the corporation is that they were given their privileges at least significantly because there were supposed to be major public benefits. Hence, limitations on liability, etc. etc. etc.

    Corporations were chartered at least in part because they provide public benefits beyond making their investors wealthier.

  18. Brian M Says:

    As a side note, due to environmental changes (including the increasing contamination of the environment by estrogenic plastics and chemicals), today's men ARE less testosterone-poisoned than in the past.

    In exchange, we devour mass media creations like "300" (the gayest movie of the past two decades) to make up for perceived inadequacies.

    ((tongue in cheek))

  19. Jon Says:

    To be fair, police union leaders have always been the worst possible human beings on the planet.

  20. Bitter Scribe Says:

    For me, the all-time winner in the Ridiculously Sensitive Police Reaction Sweepstakes was the kerfuffle in response to a children's book that used different animals to depict different roles. The cops were depicted as, you guessed it, pigs.

    They denounced the book in press releases and tried to start a boycott—meaning, I don't know, the cops weren't going to buy the book to read to their kiddies? Anyway, nothing much came of it IIRC.

  21. Buckyblue Says:

    In a somewhat related note, security detail for Scott Walker were just awarded $550K in overtime pay. That's for nine guys. Since they sued the state of WI I'm on the hook to pay for Scooters presidential run, if it can be called that. Plus, they should know that the only people who want to do him harm live in the state. He's perfectly safe out-of-state. In state, the fucker better watch his back. Which he actually does.

  22. fledermaus Says:

    "The cops were depicted as, you guessed it, pigs."

    To be fair, they might have had a point on that one.

    But I think it is a matter of hearing how important you are from politicians, prosecutors, wealthy white people etc. Everyone sympathizes with how hard your job must be and even looks at you with a bit of awe because you wield the power of the Law. Look how movies idolize the rouge cop who doesn't play by the rules but always gets his man.

    It's not every ego that can keep perspective in that environment.

  23. Edward Says:

    This reminds me of a chapter in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy where Zaphod & Co. are cornered by two galactic policemen who lecture them about what sensitive cops they are while shooting at them. Perhaps Douglas Adams encountered this police whining in his time.

  24. Interrobang Says:

    I can't imagine why black students might feel unsafe when being threatened by white students in Missouri…

    Maybe the white people need to grow a pair and accept that black students can go to their school too. How 'bout that?