Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dr. Mike: Misused Word to Your Mother

As a frequent visitor to the right-wing blogosphere, I've noticed that the trade in snappy comebacks has developed a certain quality of deja vu -- one which reminds me of the exploitation and horror film market on the old pre-Giuliani 42nd Street.

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 Tolerance

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.
I 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."
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.”

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.
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.
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


[tol-er-uhns] –noun
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.
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: capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2 : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own b : the act of allowing something : toleration
3: the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece
4a (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
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."
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.
 Well, since Dr. Professor Mike is a strict adherent to the Judeo-Christian worldview, wouldn't he be inclined -- obliged, even -- to condemn Anna Kournikova for flaunting her half-naked body before millions of men who are not her husband?  Or is Dr. Mike's need to conclusively establish to the world that he doesn't hunger for Jack Wrangler or Jeff Stryker to treat his ass like Ma Ingalls treats a butter churn sufficient cause to relax the worldview just this once?
*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.
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.
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.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to think he's using Merriam-Webster def 3. "a tolerance of 3mm" or suchlike.

Cole said...

That's pretty funny that Dr. Mike actually writes the punch line normal people use to mock these bigots. Here I was believing we were putting the smack on these hateful rubes with the shorter "liebruhls are intolerant of intolerance--yuk yuk", and now Dr. Mike has co-opted the joke and made it a badge of honor.

NOW what are we gonna do?!

These are the same bozos who "think" homophobia means to be frightened of gays, and since no limp-wristed queer is gonna scare them, they must not be homophobic. QED muthafukahs.

To be fair, it is easy to misuse terms. I just did it by using "think" to mean the use of reasoning and logic based on experience and observation, when the term is irrelevant to whatever cogitation is going on 'tween his little pink lugs.

Cole said...

By the way--I do approve and tolerate with extreme prejudice your use of the winsome Ms. Kournikova to alleviate my phobia of the doctah.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant job Doctor. Now prove that arrogant, "tolerant," "inquiring" "philosopher" Socrates was hypocritical because he said he knew nothing and that everyone else knew nothing so he was wise. Jerk-off traitorous liberal. Does he really understand what it means to love wisdom? Hmmm, hmm Mr. Tolerant Smarty-Pants...

Anonymous said...

Actually "homophobia" does mean fear of homosexuals. The proper political term for Dr. Mike's world view is "heterosexism." Not that he can get any, hetero or any other kind, but still.

And as a "gay" person, I have to admit, "tolerance" does seem a pretty milquetoasty way for y'all to talk about the fact that you don't wanna beat me up. I'd much rather we understand that there are two points of view in conflict here: Ours, which says that people should be able to live any way they want as long as they're not hurting anyone, everyone should have a place to live, food to eat, etc., and violence is an unacceptable method of problem-solving. And conversely, that of Dr Mike and his Bible-thumping ilk, who actually thrive on misery, persecution, and dominance, as long as they're on the right end of the stick, which somehow they always seem to be.

Anonymous said...

Well, if I understand Dr. Mike (and that's difficult, given the confused nature of his thought processes), then by his reasoning, all the Jews that died in the Holocaust were "intolerant", because they took exception to the Nazi's intolerance of THEM--and they should've RESPECTED the Nazi's desire to gas them and cremate them all....

Also, is Laptop Woman one of Dr. Mike's fictional women? Y'know, like all those lesbians he one-ups in his columns?

Ugluks Flea said...

Also, is Laptop Woman one of Dr. Mike's fictional women?

In this case it might actually be a real one, since in this column Herr Doktor Professor Mike, PhD, admits his students don't pay attention to his lectures and would prefer to do other things, and if it were one of his "Walter Mitty" style triumphs there would be much more chest pounding.

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Why did Tolerant Rob put "taking a chance", "not comfortable", and "gay lifestyle" in quotes? As a way of emphasizing what Professor Dr. Mike, Ph.D, might want to object to in his next column?

(And Jesus Christ, why would anybody email anything to this guy if it didn't directly involve the department he's inexplicably a part of? It's like inviting the sulky loner up the block to the neighborhood cookout; you really have to figure that if the No Trespassing signs don't mean anything, the collection of crucified rodents on the front porch does.)

Li'l Innocent said...

Doghouse hits the creepy Professorial nail on the head with that last sentence. It boggles me that he's permitted to instruct kids. No college-age offspring of mine would be allowed anywhere near the guy, not if I knew about it.

heydave said...

I am still amazed that this smug pug of a prick has a job, anywhere, doing anything.

Scott said...

True, dave. Unless he's teaching Prickology 501: Advanced Pug Smugness.

Woodrowfan said...

how did he manage to not get tenure. Truly, the mind boggles...

Anonymous said...

Shorter Dr. Prof. Mike: Fucking tolerance. How's that work?

Carl said...

I always tell my gay friends that "clitoris" rhymes with "Lavoris" and you gargle with both.

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.

Hang on....Dr. Mike is upset about the *wording* of an email? This little asshat has his panties in a knot because his feelings got hurt?

This entire column was about how butthurt he was by teh ghey guy wif teh movee???

*rolling eyes*

Mike, seriously, put down the Everclear and step away from the Internet. Go flash some high school yard...

Carl said...

How did I miss this gem?

Therefore, if Tolerant Rob claims to approve of homosexual conduct he cannot simultaneously claim to tolerate it.

This didn't stop Larry Craig or Mark Foley from disproving Dr. Mike's theory here...

Chris Vosburg said...

Just a quick note for def debaters: the most frequently used sense of a word is not necessarily the first listed in Merriam-Webster, because MW lists its senses chronologically from earliest to latest.

Thus, the first sense for, say, "chauvinism" is excessive patriotism or jingoism (its orignal sense), though the most common usage is currently the third sense listed, belief that men are inherently superior to women, as in "Dr Mike is a hopelessly chauvinistic fuckwit.", on the other hand, appears to be listing senses in order of usage frequency.

Personally, I like to know something about the evolution of a word's sense over time, just one of the reasons I prefer Merriam-Webster.

Woodrowfan said...

Chris, I did not know that. thanks.

Rugosa said...

Dear Dr. Professor Mike: I do tolerate your intolerance. I don't believe you should be jailed or beaten up for your sexual beliefs or practices, or denied housing, or refused a job because of them. I also support your 1st amendment right to spout speech I find offensive. I don't approve of you, but I tolerate you just fine.

Larkspur said...

Maybe the Dr. Professor Mike Experience is an ongoing study, and he only thinks he's a professor. Maybe students have been observing and recording his behavior since the beginning, under the supervision of actual real professors. His classes are really labs. Eventually, someone will win a Nobel prize upon the presentation of the final study results. Or possibly it will be deemed to have been a more Milgramesque experiment than is ethically sound. Will anyone ever tell Dr. Professor Mike?