After a lifetime of fighting with editors over which words to use, I can at last declare victory and go home. For this I must thank the Princeton students who run a Facebook page called “Tiger Microaggressions.”
They recently declared that literally anything can be a microaggression — that’s the latest collegespeak for “insult,” usually involving race or gender — because “there are no objective definitions to words and phrases.”
So if I write, “The sky is blue,” you are perfectly within your rights to assume that what I actually meant is, “Everybody but white guys should writhe in Hell for all eternity.” Because, really, who’s to say?
You may think that I’m exaggerating ever so slightly here, but, honest, I’m not. Here’s an example of one of the brutal microaggressions the linguistic commissars sniffed out among their fellow Princeton students:
“We need to start charging the squirrels tuition because they are going here and not even contributing anything other than their hostilities towards the students.”
That’s insulting, Tiger Microaggressions explains, because it puts a “harmless joke” on the Internet right alongside stuff about racism and sexism “as though the two are in any way comparable.”
Well, maybe. But the good news is that there’s no way to know because there are no objective meanings to words and phrases, and maybe the squirrel guy was really denouncing the dumping of toxic waste on Third World childcare centers.
Some other important lessons we learned in 2014, keeping in mind, of course, that nothing means anything:
Why November’s GOP victory doesn’t really matter
Iran’s semi-official Fars News agency reported that among the secret documents Edward Snowden filched is one that reveals the United States is run by a “shadow government” of space aliens.
Winter is coming
Bergen Community College in New Jersey suspended an art professor until he agreed to see a psychiatrist after posting on the Internet a picture of his daughter wearing a T-shirt bearing a quote from HBO’s Game of Thrones: “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.”
Even Boris and Natasha?
Russian diplomats sent an angry note to their Bulgarian counterparts demanding that graffiti artists stop repainting the Soviet soldiers on old monuments as Superman, the Joker and other American cartoon characters.
That’s OK as long as there are no statues of Soviet soldiers
Denmark’s new Bon Bon Land amusement park allows visitors to ride on a flatulent dog and a urinating ant.
Then they suspended Pebbles and Bam-Bam
Administrators at a high school in Summerville, South Carolina, locked down the campus and called the cops after a 16-year-old student turned in a short story in which he bought a gun to shoot a runaway dinosaur.
Your tax dollars at (useless) work
The National Science Foundation has spent nearly $1 million to create a database of “suspicious memes” and “false and misleading” political ideas collected from the Internet.
Your tax dollars at (insanely useless) work
The National Institutes of Health put up half a million bucks for a study on why fat girls don’t have as much sex as slim girls.
Plus $10 million for Taylor Swift to sing at halftime
The State Department spent $3.6 million on satellite trucks to telecast a game of buzkashi — Afghanistan’s version of polo, played with a headless goat carcass instead of a ball.
The first clue: His bail was posted by Bugs Bunny
A Welsh bus driver arrested for “possession of extreme pornography” was released when police realized the video on his computer of a woman having sex with a tiger was actually of a woman having sex with a man in a tiger suit. The suspect’s lawyers sprang him from jail by pointing out that midway through sex, the “animal” growled “That’s grrrreat!” like Tony the Tiger in the cornflake commercials.
As that little German fellow said, biology is destiny
Timothy Boatwright, a transgender Wellesley student transitioning from female to male, lost his position as class diversity officer when other students complained that he wasn’t, um, diverse. “I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job,” one of the activists told the New York Times, “but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there.”
Saudi Arabia has banned women from displaying “tempting eyes.” Religious police have the authority to blindfold them.
The war on tacos
Students at Stanford, Dartmouth, UCLA, North Carolina State, the University of Maryland and Cal State-Fullerton all complained about (and in some cases forced the shutdown of) campus parties and fundraisers with Mexican themes because party-goers were encouraged to wear sombreros or mustaches. That amounts to “not respecting a custom’s symbolic significance or the history of a style of dress or other artifact,” according to a column in the Stanford Daily.
Who says the mainstream media have lost touch?
Headline from the London Daily Telegraph: Ghost ship carrying cannibal rats could be heading for Britain.