Occasional Nuance

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Memo to certain aspects of the Hastert and McKinney things: YOU ARE COMPLICATED.

Fake centrists will tell you that extremism on either side of an issue is automatically wrong. These people are, of course, full of bullshit. For example, on the issue of stabbing toddlers, I'm an extremist on the side of not doing it, and am not interested in finding a nuanced compromise. That said, there actually are situations where a lighter hand, or a bit of nuance, is called for. Like in today's SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY except for the last bit.

So, why haven't I talked about Dennis Hastert yet? Mainly because, until a few more facts come out, it's difficult to pinpoint precisely what brand of ick his situation represents. All we know is that, in the 70s, as a wrestling coach, Dennis Hastert fulfilled nearly every hypocritical Republican stereotype by having gay sex with the high school kids on his team, then, decades later, got caught dodging banking regulations he himself helped put in effect to try to pay three-and-a-half million bucks to his victims.

But there's a lot of different ways it could have, if you'll pardon the expression, gone down. Closeted older gay man having consensual sex with closeted gay teenage student near the age of consent is fraught with ethical peril, but it's not in the same league as, say, "blow me or you're off the team", or lots of other worse ways it could have gone. And without knowing exactly what he was willing to pay three-and-a-half million bucks to keep quiet, only to have it revealed because he tried to pay three-and-a-half million bucks to keep it quiet, there's no way to pin down where on the "deeply sad" to "completely reprehensible" scale Hastert falls on. I mean, regardless, his actions during the Clinton sex scandals means the ultimate outcome is "fuck that guy", but I like to think I'm capable of nuance.


Have to say, I'm a bit uncomfortable to hear about how some admittedly awful and wrong people are losing their jobs over their involvement in or opinions on the McKinney, TX pool party incident. An unidentified woman who allegedly started the whole thing by yelling at black teenagers to go back to Section 8 housing (exactly who did what amongst two women on the scene is still up in the air, but that's my best approximation) is now on administrative leave at her job. I don't know what her job is, but there are a lot of jobs where being a horrible racist in private isn't actually disqualifying. And while sure, I'd appreciate the irony of someone unable to work due to one mistake ending up in, say, Section 8 housing, I do think that, so far, this falls on the wrong side of going after people's livelihoods for being dicks.

Similarly, a Miami high school principal who was fired for posting on Facebook that the cop in the case "did nothing wrong" and "was afraid for his life" was deeply wrong, but lots of people are wrong, and if we start firing high school principals because of an authoritarian confidence in the power of police work, the nation's educational system will be 80% administrator-free overnight.

The rule is, or should be, that unless the thing you say in private demonstrates a serious problem with your ability to do your job, you shouldn't be fired just for being an asshole. If, on the other hand, you're a fourth grade teacher in a Texas town and say that the pool party incident makes you want to "segregate" all the black people into one side of town, well, then, I'm sorry, you get no sympathy from me when your ass gets fired, Karen Fitzgibbons of Lubbock.

Oh, and double fuck you for saying in your "apology" that your post to put all the black people on one side of town and all the "innocent" people on the other, like they did in the 50s and 60s, wasn't directed at a particular person or group. Yes it was. Glad you got canned before you applied your newfound love of segregation to the classroom.

On a related note, Sean Hannity is still employed.


And since that went long, a quick bit of advice for the New York Post. Your news story regarding laws intended to remove the hiring bias against criminals who have completed their sentences would probably have been more effective with a headline that wasn't "Your Next Co-Worker Could Be An Ex-Con". Just so you know.