It’s Tuesday and I’m out in Park City, Utah until Thursday with my family.
But there’s always time to solve the world’s problems no matter where I am, so here I am cranking away on the anonymous mailbag this morning.
Before the anonymous mailbag starts, we’ve got a March Madness reward for all of you out there. Michigan State is now +65.5 for their game on Thursday against UCLA. All of you can get a free $50 bet win by placing this bet. (Tennessee gamblers get a free $50 no-risk bet on any game.) So why not go claim your free money? Go get your bets in here if you live in Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Tennessee and Colorado.
As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to me at clay,email@example.com.
Okay, here we go:
“I’m a youth pastor at a church in South Carolina, and I have a bit of an issue with my pastor. When I was first hired on, he showed me my office and mentioned it had a bathroom in it. Weird, but okay. My first day, he asked if it was okay that he still used my bathroom. I assumed/hoped he meant he would do so if I wasn’t in the office, and being the new guy on day one, I said ‘yeah man, no problem.’ Buddy I couldn’t have been more wrong. The man comes in to piss multiple times a day when I’m sitting at my desk, and will even do so when I’m eating or when I have the door closed. He doesn’t even knock. He just comes on in and relieves himself. I’m talking 5 or 6 times a day, BEFORE LUNCH. It’s maddening. It’s important to note here that the public church restroom is maybe 20 steps away from the main office. It’s not a trek. And maybe it’s weird, but I don’t even use the restroom in my office because it’s too close to the secretary. But I digress.
There was an occasion a few months back when I was meeting with him in his office, and he excused himself to use the restroom. This is a fairly normal occurrence in our meetings, so no big deal. This time was no mere pee break, however. My pastor was pooping in my office. As bad as that was, we still had an hour at least of a meeting that we were holding in his office, so I didn’t say anything. There have been Sunday mornings and random weekdays when he thought I wasn’t here when he’s done the same thing. One time I even came back to the office right after he had gone, and I sprayed air freshener in my office just to make the point that it smelled bad. He did apologize that time, and so I thought maybe the shame of that was enough to end the issue. Again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Still, he only ever pooped there when he thought I wasn’t here.
That is, until today. This man for real, knowing I was in the main office making copies, just pooped in my bathroom when he has another option right down the hall. I smelled it. The secretary smelled it. And he didn’t even use the air freshener that is sitting there in the bathroom.
Clay. Am I poop-shaming here? Am I in the wrong? Or has my pastor completely crossed a line? Please help!”
As the King Solomon of the Internet, I feel like this church-related poop question was made for me.
And the solution seems insanely simple to me — why don’t you just switch offices with the pastor who is obsessed with your bathroom? He seems to value the private bathroom far more than you do, and you don’t mind walking down the hallway and using the public bathroom.
Wouldn’t this solve all of the poop issues going forward?
I think his bathroom behavior is strange — and I think most people would find this behavior to be annoying as well — but the clear solution here, it seems to me, is to just switch offices.
The only other options I see are three-fold and not as productive. First option: you ban him from using your bathroom. But then what happens? He might accept the ban, but it makes your relationship incredibly awkward going forward. Plus, he might still try and sneakily use your bathroom without you being there, and you might end up catching him doing so given his strange fixation on the issue.
Plus, what happens if you ban him and he doesn’t agree to the ban? Are the two of you going to wrestle when you physically block his use of your bathroom?
Second option: you don’t say anything else, but continue to passive-aggressively raise issues over the bathroom use. This is the option you’ve chosen so far, and I think it’s fair to say it isn’t working.
Third option: you relent and allow him to exercise poop dominion over your office kingdom.
Which is why I think the best option, and the only option that really makes sense, is switching offices. Again, he values the bathroom immensely, evidently in a way that you don’t yourself. This is evident both by his behavior and based on the fact he immediately mentioned the bathroom when you were hired and asked your permission to continue to use it.
You’ve attempted to make it clear how socially awkward his behavior is, and it isn’t working. So why not just switch offices? It seems like it makes the most sense by far.
There you have it. King Solomon has spoken and offered to split the baby.
“I work for a large, Fortune 500 corporation. Today at work, my boss told our team we are not to use the phrase ‘Hey Guys’ anymore in any emails or messages. This is a new corporate-wide policy for all employees.
My boss is a woman, and she told us the phrase didn’t bother her and it would be an adjustment for her as well to avoid the phrase going forward. When another man on our team asked if we could use the phrase when addressing a group of all men, she said no as we are supposed to use the gender a person identifies as, not the gender they are born as.
Sadly, I am not surprised my company did this. Does anyone seriously find that phrase offensive? How stupid is this policy and when will this stuff ever end?”
The worst thing about this policy is thinking about the people who are being employed — and making good money while being employed — to come up with a policy like this. Companies are essentially lighting money on fire here. And they’re creating controversies where none exist in the first place.
Let’s begin here. Does anyone really consider “guys” to be a gendered term at this point? It feels completely unisex and generic to me. If a boss says, “Here’s what I need you guys to do,” to a group of male and female employees, does anyone consider that language to be gender specific or exclusionary? I don’t. I can’t imagine anyone else does either.
Further point, what are the consequences for “violations” of this new speech code? Are you really going to get fired? Is anyone going to get disciplined for this?
It seems to me, sadly, that this is emblematic of larger issues at play. Namely, we are creating solutions for problems that don’t exist and for issues that aren’t at play. We are allowing people who benefit off this woke universe, a tiny subset of wokeists, to dominate the relationships between the rest of us. And rather than making things better in office or work settings, they’re making things worse. They’re dividing us in the name of unity.
Again, the reason this policy exists isn’t because employee use of the term “guys” is offensive. It’s because companies have invented positions which require people to sit around all day and find violations of inclusion to justify their existence. Even if, as is the case here, those violations aren’t real or substantive in nature.
This is all just a massive collection of absurdity.
I’d imagine most people started off emails with the generic, “Guys, we’ve got to…” as opposed to spelling out everyone’s name in the email. It was just a one-size-fits-all rapid response.
Going forward, I’d probably just eliminate any honorific like this to begin the emails.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t change my behavior at all.
Again, this is all cosmetic bullshit with no substance behind it. Everyone in management is just checking woke boxes to try and make sure their head doesn’t end up on the chopping block. This is the primary reason this woke virus has spread so quickly. People in positions of management, especially if they are white and male, are so terrified of losing their jobs over not being woke enough that they have no spine when idiotic decisions like these are made.
Everyone is so worried about their own preservation that the idiocy doesn’t get called out. So it just keeps growing and metastasizing.
“My wife works for Metro-Nashville public schools. In the last day or two, she got a memo that went out from MNPS asking first if she has had the vaccine. Secondly, if not, then when or if she planned to get the vaccine. And thirdly if she didn’t plan to get the vaccine to explain why.
I’m not getting into the debate of get it or not, my main question is whether or not this is legal? Wouldn’t this violate some type of HIPPA law? Just curious to get your thoughts on this.”
Public — and private — schools have long conditioned student attendance based on receiving vaccinations. I remember being in college and law school and needing to provide proof of vaccination to enroll, and I also recall each of our children having to provide proof of vaccination to enroll in public schools as well.
So this doesn’t strike me as abnormal, and it certainly doesn’t strike me as illegal.
My bet is the school district is just trying to get a read on what their employees are planning when it comes to the vaccine and how widespread adoption is so far. Remember, many teachers unions have predicated their return to the classroom on vaccine availability. So the school district is probably trying to gather this information for that reason.
I assume there is some sort of appeals process when it comes to mandatory school vaccine requirements. What happens when parents won’t allow their kids to be vaccinated for religious reasons, for instance? Surely all those kids aren’t forever excluded from public school. I haven’t ever studied the issue before, but I’d presume the same appeals process would exist for teachers as well.
I think it’s reasonable — given the fear porn — for public schools to be interested in surveying employees to see what percentage of their employees have either received the vaccine or desire to receive the vaccine. So I don’t think there’s a major issue at play.
But buckle up going forward because I foresee this vaccine issue turning into a massive battle before all is said and done.
Because right now, there is more demand than there are vaccines, but in a couple of months, everyone who wants the vaccine will have access to it. And I bet there will be tens of millions of people who have no interest in taking the COVID vaccine. Right now, everything is voluntary. But what happens if, for instance, only 60% of adults are actually interested in the vaccine, and we have several hundred million vaccines piled up that aren’t being used?
Then it will turn into a gargantuan battle over COVID vaccinations and whether they can be made mandatory to, for instance, take an airplane flight or attend a game or work at a particular job. I just foresee this getting super nasty and highly political before everything is resolved.
Plus, people are thinking the COVID vaccine ends the COVID fear porn forever, but that isn’t the case. People will still have to get booster shots for years and years into the future, potentially decades. So the people who have most bought into the fear porn are going to have fear porn to buy into for years to come.
My hope is that cases and deaths are going to continue to fall substantially so that it will become more difficult to create the fear porn — hopefully because we’ve attained herd immunity. But my fear is the rapid decline in cases and deaths will stall out, and some will argue that the reason we’ve stalled out is because some people won’t get the vaccine.
Then we’ll have an epic battle over mandatory vaccinations.
I think that’s where we are headed in the late spring and early summer.
And, remember, this is all happening before there is any COVID vaccine available at all for kids. It’s one thing to have a battle over adults being vaccinated, but I think the kid battle will be even more substantial.
But back to your question, I don’t have any issues with your wife being asked this question.
I do, however, foresee a monstrous battle coming once everyone can sign up for the vaccine and we see that tens of millions of people aren’t interested in getting the vaccine.
So get ready for that.
“I recently had a conversation with an African-American girlfriend of mine. She’s black and I’m Hispanic. We were talking cancel culture, cultural appropriation, etc. We both hate cancel culture and agree that cultural appropriation is ridiculous. How is it remotely offensive for people to enjoy chips and salsa with a great margaritas? I mean, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
She brought something up from her perspective that I thought was interesting and wanted to see what your thoughts are. She said that if a white girl puts braids in her hair (see Adele at a music festival honoring a particular kind of music) that is considered cultural appropriation but if a black girl goes and gets extensions in her hair to make it longer, dyes it blond, and gets a blowout to look like a white girl’s hair, nobody says that is cultural appropriation. She has said this to her family and friends before and got shutdown immediately. Her argument is pretty simple: Why is it okay for anyone who is not white to do things that white people do, or do things to themselves that are ‘associated’ with being white, there is nothing wrong with that, but as soon as a white person does something that is associated with another race/ethnicity/culture, whether it is braids in their hair, a kimono at prom, or big hoop earrings with cat eye eyeliner, the white girls are accused of cultural appropriation and they should get cancelled? Shouldn’t everyone just be worried about being a good person instead of waiting to pounce on the next person doing something that they think is inappropriate? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if people looked at each other for who they are and what they believe instead of abiding by unspoken and asinine rules that are essentially made up to make others feel inadequate or guilty of being white when it is something that A) they can’t change, and B) doesn’t reflect who they are because looks are not representative of how good someone’s heart is or how smart they are/aren’t?
I am curious to know what your thoughts are, especially as my friend doesn’t even feel comfortable sharing these thoughts anymore to people of her own race because they now say she is whitewashed.”
One of the things that unites most Americans is hating cancel culture. Surveys consistently show that 75-80% of all races abhor cancel culture. Unfortunately, we’ve allowed those 20-25% of people, who are overwhelmingly active on social media, to hijack our country on this issue.
So let me be clear, I agree with both of you: cultural appropriation has always existed throughout world history and it has always been a GOOD THING.
Because it means that popular things become more popular.
Greece and Rome invented democracy. Then we culturally appropriated it to create American democracy. Good things that humanity creates, regardless of who created them, should spread rapidly. That’s called human progress.
Only allowing people to use things they created would actually be super racist. For instance, white guys created vaccines. And then the world appropriated their invention. Can you imagine the reaction if only white people had access to vaccines because white people created it first?
That would be the height of racism.
Which is why the assertion of cultural appropriation is, at its most basic level, racist.
What we’ve created now is a conflict between the melting pot ideals that many of you reading this, like me, were raised on and cultural appropriation, which argues that people should be segregated based on their identities. America, at least when we were kids, was considered uniquely successful because all of us brought our own particular interests and mixed it all together to create a better union, the American melting pot. This is the motto on our physical money, E pluribus unum which is Latin for, “Out of many, one.” (Interestingly, we’ve even culturally appropriated the phrase on our money from the Romans, by the way.)
The idea of cultural appropriation is based upon an identity-politics laden worldview that I fundamentally reject — that the way you look or who you sleep with, for instance, defines you and is the most interesting and immutable part of your humanity.
I just fundamentally reject this because I think the things that we can’t change are often the least interesting parts about us. I’m far more interested in the choices that individuals make than the things we can’t choose — our race or sexuality, for example.
And even the logic of cultural appropriation doesn’t make sense for the far left wing when it’s applied consistently. Think about it. Left wingers argue that you can choose your gender, but you can’t choose your race. On top of that, if you question someone’s decision when it comes to their gender, that’s transphobic and you should be canceled, but if you choose your race and you aren’t a member of that race, you’re a racist and you should be canceled.
Which is how we end up with Caitlyn Jenner getting an ESPY for courage and with Rachel Dolezal being canceled for being a white woman who chose to be black. Shouldn’t the logic have to be consistent here? If you can choose your gender, shouldn’t you be able to choose your race too? Why is one acceptable and the other isn’t, especially when I think most of you would agree that your sex at birth is a more significant biological life detail than your race is.
This is the problem with identity politics. It’s ultimately a political construct, and sooner or later, these identities come into conflict with each other. We’re seeing it now in the world of sports. Should transgender women, that is, biological men who have chosen to identify as women, be able to compete in women’s sports? If they are permitted to do so, biological women will often get trounced in competition by biological men who have decided to identify as women. (Biological women who choose to identify as men have no chance to compete for championships.) Many feminists are recognizing this issue. Title IX is in conflict with the idea that women compete with men.
After all, if there were no separate men’s and women’s sports, most women wouldn’t be able to play sports or ever win championships because men are bigger, stronger and faster than women. One easy example: over three hundred high school boys in the United States in 2019 posted faster 100 meter times than the fastest woman in the history of the world.
If women compete with men in sports, we know what happens. They lose.
My position here is pretty straightforward: if you’re an adult who believes you’d be happier if you changed your gender, go for it. I don’t consider that decision to be heroic — to me heroism requires risking your life or your freedom — but I’m also not opposed to it. My general position is, as longtime readers of the anonymous mailbag can attest, if you’re an adult and it makes you happier and doesn’t violate the law, go for it.
I want you to all be as happy as possible.
If you’re a white girl and you love an Asian dress, wear it. And if you’re an Asian guy and you love rap culture, sing along to the lyrics of your favorite rap songs while performing karaoke.
And, most importantly, if you like something, appropriate the hell out of it.
That’s how world culture advances.
If we were all only able to embrace the creations of people who look like us, we’d still be living in caves.
Thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
Okay, I’m off to the slopes.