THE GOLDEN AGE OF GRIFT

A few weeks ago a Florida K-12 teacher was fired for refusing to call a transgender student by that student's preferred name. While certainly a high school needs to have some basic limits on the idea that students can be called – No, the teacher is not going to call you "Fuck Machine" or a racial slur – this teacher's decision is otherwise perplexing. At least on the surface.

As a teacher, literally nothing could be less important than what the students prefer to be called. Steve. Mary. Cipher. Iron Man. Ming the Merciless. Question Q. Mysterio. My Little Pony. Like, there is no conceivable reality in which what a student asks me to call them (whether it is a proper name or some infantile nickname) matters. We just work together. I am paid to do a job, and that makes some things about the students my problem – whether they do the assigned work, behaviors they may engage in during our brief time together in class that violate school policy, assigning them a grade, and that's pretty much it.

Their personal lives? Irrelevant, unless I have reason to think they're being abused, harming themselves, or in danger. The matter of what they want other people to call them, as long as it's not "Lil Dago" or some shit, is so far beyond being worth my time and effort to care about at all, it can't be expressed properly within the limits of English. Frankly I consider it a win if I learn everyone's name (in college, we don't see them but an hour or so per week).

In that light, the Florida teacher's choice of hills to die on makes little sense. But look at it another way and we can see that he is simply behaving rationally in response to current incentives. He figures the meager salary of a teacher pales in comparison to what he can make emulating other right-wing self-made martyrs. The book deal! The spots on Tucker Carlson! The GoFundMe! Hell, he can probably get his teacher salary covered overnight with the right publicity. Get Jordan Peterson to retweet that link and he'll wake up rich.

A more obvious example is that Kent State girl who posed with an AR-15 in her graduation picture. I refuse to link her or use her name. She is engaging in Twitter attention-seeking behavior so over the top, shameless, and obvious that an Officer Darren Wilson sex tape can't be far off if she doesn't get a book deal soon. You have a person who fundamentally is not interesting at all but as a woman under 50 is savvy enough to realize that the bar on the right is so very low that she still could make a very lucrative career out of it. Tomi Lahren Tryouts, live on Twitter.

I don't begrudge anyone earning a living, but it's pretty pathetic to see people openly resume-building to get in on what is nothing but an enormous grift. Take some idiotic "moral" stand and you too can cash in Kim Davis style. Kick some gays out of your failing diner and wake up rich. Regurgitate talking points a child can see through and end up with one of the easiest jobs on Earth. Beats the hell out of teaching or looking for a job with a BA from Kent State.

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24 thoughts on “THE GOLDEN AGE OF GRIFT”

  • John Magoun says:

    Well, OK, but this line of thinking sounds close to that of conservatives who are convinced (or say they are) that liberal protesters from an underprivileged or oppressed group are only doing it because they've been incited to do so by "outsiders".

    Maybe that teacher did what he did out of a cold-blooded calculation that his career in education would make him less money over the rest of his active life than would being supported and glorified by conservative media as a 'martyr' for a few months. I have to say, that would never have occurred to me as an explanation for why someone would take a stand for their conscience even if it meant getting fired, anymore than did the explanation that the protests of the people of Ferguson or the NFL players, for instance, were due to 'outside agitators'.

  • " I have to say, that would never have occurred to me as an explanation for why someone would take a stand for their conscience even if it meant getting fired, anymore than did the explanation that the protests of the people of Ferguson or the NFL players, for instance, were due to 'outside agitators'."

    Well, there is one obvious and glaring difference between the people of Ferguson, the NFL players taking a knee and the teacher and others like him.

    There is, afaik, NO organizations that receive tax exemptions AND outright gummint $'z to agitate for kneeing MurKKKa in the balls during the Sacred Hymn to Patriojism or wilding on the hard-working, unsung heroes of Ferguson Sherriff's Dept. OTOH, there are LOTS of them supporting Trumpligulamygdala–openly, in direct violation of the Johnson Amendment.

    According to this

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/how-many-churches-in-america-us-nones-nondenominational.html

    there's north of 350K churches in this country. That's one per/m gunz +/- and prolly 2-3B copies of the various versions of the Wholly Babble.

    So, no–not even a Holistic Vibrational level of similarity.

  • Honestly I don't necessarily think that's it.

    On some level, more freedom on how people are allowed to refer to themselves and wish to be addressed is deeply, viscerally threatening to people like this teacher. I was watching a youtube video a while back involving an entirely different subject when the author went off topic to rant about a recent trip to the Red Cross to donate blood, and was angry that he was offered the choice of 'other' on the form for gender, and how horrible and stupid that is.

    This set off a host of commenters railing about (among other things the 'chemical hormone stew' circulating in trans people's blood…note, donated blood is only sorted by blood type, not gender, so if you get blood, you're just as likely to get that 'chemical stew of hormones' because the donor happened to be a woman…), and this stupid thing that you can just change how you were made, it's anti-God, etc etc.

    They kept circulating back to there's only two! boxes! for! people! and I realized that these boxes are how they classify people in order to interact with them.

    Men you treat one way, women another. If you're something else they're truly baffled "How am I supposed to treat you if I don't know which box you are???"

    These are the deep roots from which sexism (and with other boxes, racism) springs.

  • Well, OK, but this line of thinking sounds close to that of conservatives who are convinced (or say they are) that liberal protesters from an underprivileged or oppressed group are only doing it because they've been incited to do so by "outsiders".

    As stated already, you can find literally dozens of places and ways rightwingers make money out of these stands; find even one on the left. So what's suggested in the post is possible, easily possible, and often done (Joe the "Plumber" anyone?); what's suggested by the rightwing is unsupportable BS.

  • The names thing – (obligatory "here in China" anec to follow) Chinese students give themselves English names. Many of these are either silly, non-sensical, or even inappropriate. A lot of the girls take stripper names: Cherry, Candy, Sweetie, Sugar. Boys sometimes take "girl's" names: I've met males named Fancy, Poppy, Melinda, Aerial. (Before the slings and arrows come, I agree that names should be gender-neutral, but they aren't. And these kids are going to have a hard enough time when they get to the west. Why let them carry an extra burden if we can prevent that?) Other names I've encountered include Hyperion, Important, Spaghetti (seriously…he just liked how it sounded) and Period. We try, and sometimes succeed, to get them to change to something more appropriate, but if they won't I just shrug and go with the flow.

    Re. the more important part of the post I think all those doing the "get rich by being infamous" thing are short-sighted. Hopefully we will return to a more sane and civilized society at some point (faint hope indeed, I know) at which point the assholery they did will be a real millstone that will follow them forever.

    Hey – a girl can dream.

  • "As a teacher, literally nothing could be less important than what the students prefer to be called."

    Maybe nothing could be less important than a dangling modifier these days, but it's still irritating. Not that I pay for your line editor, either.

  • "Not that I pay for your line editor, either."

    Not, that I pay for your line editor, either, also too!

    OR

    Not, that I pay for your line editor, either, without I don't go no money to do that AND get my "Xoxynil*",also,too.

    * Xoxynil is a mixture of some parts each of "Ecstasy", oxycodone and fentanyl. It's often adulterated with rat poison, mannitol or talcum powder. It's easy to tell if it's the one that's cut with rat poison. You'll die b4 you get high.

  • As to reactionaries whining about outside agitators (likely an echo of commie infiltrators in the minds of old people?), seems very hard not to attribute this to psychological projection.

    The grift is so obvious, even the Republican base admits it, they just attribute it to those evil libruls.

  • Everyone assuming or implying this might not be what is actually going on, has entirely too much faith in the moral fiber of this sort of…person..

  • What do you mean people on the Left can't make money by appearing to take principled stands? What about that George Soros $ we get for protesting.

  • "What about that George Soros $ we get for protesting.

    Steve, Steve, Steve–hmphlurgle, where to begin.

    You want to get a day's pay–be a PAID protestor.

    You want to be playin' with the big dogs, you OWN the protestors!

  • Hmmm, I'm a bit under employed right now, middle aged, white, and male. So I could latch on to that sense of outrage I'm, apparently, supposed to be feeling towards the liberals/balcks/women/immagrants in trumplevania and gain an easy paycheck?

    Nope. Starting to get a bit nauseated even at the "idly thinking about it" stage. There's not enough tequila nor ant-acid medication on the planet for that.

    Guess I'm just not opportunistic enough for this brave new world. Dang it.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    Speculating on other people's motives, for me, is the express lane to madness.

    Even so, it's such an easy hustle, I'm surprised even more people aren't trying it.

    This Intellectual Dark Web crap is the televangelism of the internet.

  • "This Intellectual Dark Web crap is the televangelism of the internet."

    We're going to hunt them down and destroy them! We are not going to try to find them by looking for little anomalies in the interwebz' interstices. Nope, we're going to look for the places on the toobz where there are NO anomalies–or maybe we're NOT.

    Sorry, that's all I can say for now…

  • Martyrdom is becoming the Religious Right's stock in trade. (It doesn't matter the religion, although Muslims are more likely to be physical martyrs, whereas Christians prefer social martyrdom instead.)

    Being a social pariah in Right Wing World gets you fame and maybe a little fortune. You have to be very careful, though, about what you are to be pissing off the rest of society. Conventional things that would make someone a social pariah (bad hygiene, for example) just don't fly. Nor do conventional modes of protest, aside from passively holding a sign. You need to deny a customer service most people in society would take for granted, for a religious reason. Note that we as rational people do not have to understand this line of thinking – it is purely based on a level of faith in religious authority we are not expected to have.

    Examples: Denying plumbing services because they didn't pay you despite owning five pickup trucks, and they tithe at church like big shots – not acceptable; denying plumbing services to gay people because they will "lure you into their den of iniquity"- acceptable RW martyrdom.

  • @ Ekim:

    It is pretty obvious given the recent history of idiot KKKristStainz that do something that they have been told is illegal or against organizational policy and then get their asses fired–that "martyrdom" of any sort is not what they were contemplating.

    They were gonna "stick it to the Man!" and are genuinely shocked to find out that they won't be getting anything out of it but a sackin. Fuck'em.

  • schmitt trigger says:

    "Muslims are more likely to be physical martyrs, whereas Christians prefer social martyrdom instead"

    Very clever observation.
    Could it be that although martyrdom brings fame to both cases, in the case of the Western-style martyrdom, it will also eventually bring fortune?

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