Dark Comedy
Friday Ephemera

Things That Tell Us Who They Are

John Sexton at Hot Air

Elisa Parrett teaches at a public technical college outside of Seattle called the Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Last June 19, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the school held an event called Courageous Conversations which was based partly on Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility

In short, a two-hour racial struggle session based on stupefying woo

Dr Parrett used the session, attended by close to 200 educators, to air some fairly obvious concerns, regarding tribalism, zealotry, and the racially segregated nature of the gathering, speaking for a total of four minutes. A summary of Dr Parrett’s comments can be found at the link above and here, where Jesse Singal shares a longer, more detailed account. Readers are invited to search out anything particularly scandalous.

Five days later, Parrett got an email from President Amy Morrison… It read in part, “Because of your egregious behaviour which has led to substantial harm to hundreds of colleagues on campus, I have asked [Vice President of Instruction, Suzanne] Ames, Dean Doug Emory, and [executive director of H.R.] Meena Park to meet with you in the next few days to have a serious conversation about how successful you can possibly be on campus in the future.” Two days later, Parrett was placed on administrative leave… A disciplinary complaint was filed against Parrett by the vice president… The complaint alleged Parrett had behaved in a “corrupt, insolent and insubordinate manner.”

And because this is Clown World, where there’s always more,

When [Jesse] Singal emailed the Vice President about the story, she doubled down and claimed that Parrett had been “aggressively yelling at folks in the meeting.” At the time, she was apparently unaware that Singal had the audio of the entire session. When he sent her a copy and asked her to point out where Parrett had yelled at anyone, a university spokesperson suggested Parrett’s “visible anger” wasn’t conveyed by the audio.

It was, it seems, a kind of aggressive yelling that was radiated at inaudible frequencies and which therefore cannot be captured by mortal recording devices.

And so, we’re expected to believe that hearing just one person briefly disagreeing with the premise of a racial scolding session has resulted in “substantial harm to hundreds of colleagues on campus,” albeit in ways left unspecified and intriguing. And further, according to Vice President of Instruction, Suzanne Ames, that the experience of hearing dissent was “super-stressful,” resulting in ringing ears, “sweating,” and an “out-of-body experience.”

Taken at their own words, these educators sound somewhat unhinged and hysterical. Unless, of course, they’re merely dishonest and are feigning a kind of hysteria in order to conform with some woke ideal. Either way, readers may wish to mull whether these are the kinds of personalities to whom they would happily entrust the education of their children.

Update, via the comments:

Commenter [+] quips,

Today’s word is ‘madhouse’.

Well, quite. If just one person’s objection to zealotry and racial segregation can reduce a grown woman, a supposedly professional educator, a Vice President of Instruction, to a twitching, sweating, disembodied mess – or can oblige her to publicly pretend such – then I think it’s fair to say that something is amiss. And I think it’s fair to say that an environment in which such dramas are considered normal - indeed, a basis for status - is itself dysfunctional and absurd.

It’s worth pondering the ongoing spread of this phenomenon, this neurotic role-play. From a wariness of saying the obvious yet oddly unacknowledged, to the kinds of farcical contortion quoted here pretty much every week. And to ponder what follows from that. Say, the shrinking range of socially permissible facts and socially permissible questions; or the creation of environments in which dishonesty is not only commonplace, but necessary for promotion or continued employment. Even becoming competitive, a ratcheting unrealism.

And then to ask what kind of people are likely to flourish in such environments.