Back before the area was sanitized and Disneyfied for your protection, the same double and triple bills used to bounce up and down the block, eventually hitting every reeking grindhouse between 7th and 8th Avenues. If you missed The Love Butcher, Don't Answer the Phone, and I Dismember Mama when they played a split-week engagement at the Lyric, don't worry -- you could always catch them the following month at the Rialto or the Empire. In fact, movies with just the right touch of gore, nudity, fetishism, or race-hatred could play the Deuce (under a variety of titles) for a decade or more. And so it is with the bumper sticker wisdom beloved of wingnut pundits, bloggers, and comment trolls.
These rejoinders come in a few different flavors, but they're no Baskin-Robbins when it comes to variety. There's the mocking 2-point reversal ("How's that Hopey-Changey thing working out for ya?"), in which the victim's own starry-eyed mantra is turned against him. There's the Dennis Miller-quality comic paradox ("How come abortion is a choice, but meat is murder?"). But the one I seem to run into the most is the inescapable checkmate move practiced by 3-Dimensional Rhetorical Chess Masters like Dr. Professor Mike Adams: "If you 'tolerant' liberals are so tolerant, then how come you're intolerant of my intolerance?" Now I admit, this is a classic gambit, every bit as revered as the Catalan Opening, or the Semi-Slav Defense, but this week the Doctor Professor gives this venerable wordplay a brilliant new twist by developing aphasia halfway through his column.
Profiles in ToleranceI wonder if Dr. Mike would have been quite so strict if the coed's computer had been sporting one of the other bumper stickers I've seen at Cafepress, such as "Be Glad Your Mother Was Pro-Life," or, "Everything I Know About Islam I Learned On 9/11."
Last month, I was standing at the podium getting ready to give a lecture when I noticed a young woman had her laptop computer out. I was amused when I saw that the outside of her computer was adorned with a bumper sticker that said “TOLERANCE” in big white letters. I ignored her plea for tolerance as I demanded that she put her computer up during the lecture. I simply don’t “tolerate” students who pretend to take notes on their laptops while they are, in fact, surfing the net and posting on Facebook.
But I do seriously wonder whether she – or any other student promoting tolerance - really understands what the word means. It is unlikely that she does given that most of her professors do not understand what it means. Like catatonic schizophrenics, professors often mindlessly repeat words they don’t understand.For Dr. Mike, that one, maddening word he can't quite grasp is "clitoris." Oftentimes he'll stop a lecture dead for fifteen or twenty minutes, while he squats behind his lectern, muttering the term over and over again in a desperate, but futile attempt to force meaning from its seemingly random collection of nonsense syllables...
"Cuh-lye-TOR-iz...? Cleet-or-ees? Cull-eetoe-IS...? Clitoris clitoris bo Bitoris! Banana fanna fo Fitoris! Fe fi mo Mitoris! CLITORIS!"
And, arguably, “tolerance” and “diversity” are among the most repeated and least understood words in higher education today.They are also among the most repeated and least understood words in Dr. Mike's column today. And most days.
To illustrate my point, I am including (below) an email I recently received from a UNCW sociologist we’ll call “Tolerant Rob.” It was the third email I received announcing the showing of a pro-homosexual film at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Inter-sexed, and Allied Center at UNC-Wilmington:The fact that Tolerant Rob has sent three emails about a "pro-homosexual film" to Dr. Mike suggests that Rob is the biggest optimist since Dr. Pangloss, or the biggest dick since Dr. Mike, so it's kind of sweet that they've found each other.
“Gentle folks~ I know that I'm ‘taking a chance’ forwarding this to you all. I know that some are intolerant, unaccepting and ‘not comfortable’ with ‘the gay lifestyle’. But someone has to have some huevos around here and that would be me.According to the synopsis of the film, Jim in Bold, on IMDB: "Jim Wheeler was a young gay poet and artist, who was the victim of extreme homophobia while growing up in rural Pennsylvania. In 1997, alone in a cold room, Jimmy took his own life. Five years later, armed with a video camera and Jim's poetry, three members of Young Gay America embark on a cross-country road trip, interviewing gay and lesbian youth in the heartland of America. Their stories show not only the struggles many gay and lesbian youth still face, but also the progress and strength demonstrated every day by simply being yourself."
So the film is intended to give isolated, at-risk youth the sense that their lives have meaning, and they are not alone, while also giving Dr. Mike an excuse to pop an oppression erection.
The first and most amusing thing you probably noticed about this email is that Tolerant Rob congratulates himself on the courage he exhibited in sending it. Of course, that is debatable since I am the only conservative Republican on the list of professors to whom it was sent. The other two dozen professors in my department are either independents or registered Democrats. Several are Marxists and almost all of them are staunch supporters of the so-called “gay rights” movement. So sending this email to the department is about as courageous as sending a racist email to a bunch of Klansman.Actually, it's more like sending a copy of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech to a bunch of civil rights workers, and one Klansman.
Tolerant Rob sent the alert out with a judgmental statement that not only applauds his personal courage but characterizes those who disagree with him as “intolerant” and “unaccepting.”Seems pretty clear to me what T.R. thinks. Or is a refusal to accept bigotry really just a sign that you're incapable of appreciating the nuances of the bigot point of view? I don't know, but I suppose Rob has as much chance of persuading Dr. Mike to quit being a homophobe by talking up an anti-homophobia documentary as Dr. Mike has of convincing female college students to become anti-abortion activists by drilling holes in live cats on the steps of the UNC-Wilmington Women's Resource Center.
In other words, Tolerant Rob is not willing to tolerate intolerance. Nor is he willing to accept un-acceptance. At this point, you may be wondering whether Tolerant Rob actually spends much time thinking about what he actually thinks.
The point that Tolerant Rob lacks tolerance of those of us who subscribe to the Judeo-Christian worldview is too obvious.I wonder if Christ, who never spoke against homosexuality, ever feels left out of the Judeo-Christian worldview (at least, as it's defined by folks like Dr. Mike). I mean, his name's right on the label! It's like Libby the Kid being barred from Libbyland.
In fact, he is so intolerant and unaccepting of those he considers intolerant and unaccepting that he must underline the words “intolerant” and “unaccepting.” What is less obvious is that he also lacks tolerance towards homosexuals.Stand by, ladies! Dr. Professor Mike is about to don a dashiki and get his philosophical freak on!
Let me make this as clear as possible by using bold letters: Tolerance presupposes a moral judgment.Or it presupposes that moral judgments based on Bronze Age religious dogma and tribal mores are arbitrary, based on tradition, habit, superstition and personal taste, and are deserving of the same respect you would give to a Thanksgiving dinner guest who abhorred organ meats and yams. In other words, you'd dish out their portions accordingly, but you wouldn't deny the rest of the party their sweet potato pie and giblet gravy.
Therefore, if Tolerant Rob claims to approve of homosexual conduct he cannot simultaneously claim to tolerate it.Speaking of using words you don't understand...Dr. Professor Mike seems to think that "tolerance" of homosexuals and homosexuality means "barely suppressing your constant, boiling rage about didoes and buttsex," or at best, "stoically enduring the outrageous, Judeo-Christian-mocking existence of dykes and fairies."
Now, I hate to join the ranks of people who mistake a dictionary definition for an argument, but since the Unpromoted Professor brought up reading comprehension, let's see what lexicographers have to say on the subject. First, the low-rent Dictionary.com:
It seems that most human beings, when discussing the virtues of tolerance, are using the first and most common definition, while Dr. Professor Mike seems to be relying exclusively upon number 4: "suffering through Blaine and Kurt's kiss on Glee while snarling and dry-clicking my revolver at the TV." But what does the venerable Merriam-Webster have to say...?
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
4. the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.
So it doesn't seem that when Mr. Rob issues a plea for tolerance, what he really means is "please silently suffer these hell-bound boys and men whose incorrect use of the penis gives Jesus the heebie-jeebies."1: capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina2 : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own b : the act of allowing something : toleration3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece4a (1) : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure <developed a tolerance to painkillers>; also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen (2) : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor
If that doesn’t make sense then let me illustrate with a few examples.
*I approved of the decision to include Anna Kournikova in the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. Therefore, it is not possible for me to “tolerate” seeing her in the magazine wearing a bikini.
And I imagine Springfield Armory will neither approve nor tolerate the lawsuits they'll be hit with by the survivors of Dr. Mike's inevitable (though still hypothetical) shooting spree at the Independence Mall in Wilmington, NC.*I approved of the decision of Springfield Armory to send me a free personally engraved .45 semi-automatic handgun. Therefore, it was not possible for me to “tolerate” their benevolence.
The problem with sociologists like Tolerant Rob is twofold: 1) They often use words they do not understand, and 2) They often claim to be morally superior to others because they do not believe they are morally superior to others.Yet I suspect even Humpty Dumpty might point out to Dr. Mike that there's a difference between making a word mean what you want it to mean -- nothing more and nothing less -- and just being a douche-powered Water Wiggle.
The logical incoherence of moralistic relativists can be annoying. But we need to show them toleration and acceptance. They didn’t choose to be sanctimonious hypocrites. They were probably born that way.And while there is yet no conclusive scientific proof of a so-called "jerk gene," many men cannot remember a time when they did not feel somehow "different" from their non-idiot friends. Some, like Dr. Mike, claim that they knew as early as age five that they were assholes.