"Life is what happens while you're planning something else." Whether or not John Lennon said it, it's true.
Today, PT was planning on taking up the slurs on Al McWilliams in the by-now-infamous Plainfield Gazette flyer.
Instead, some other questions have pushed to the front of the line.
Here is a comment on my previous post ("Plainfield Gazette attacks Damon, McWilliams, Saturdays and Truth") submitted by Joan Hervey of Plainfield Area Equality, which I think is worth citing here both for what it says and for the questions it raises:
This "Gazette" was an anonymous flyer which someone put on the front table in the open, public rotunda of City Hall. To suggest that the city, or the Mayor or any other specific person was behind it is irresponsible, until there are some facts to back up the accusation.Sounds pretty spokesperson-y for someone who is NOT a city spokesperson, doesn't it? But who knows, maybe she is a city spokesperson. No one else seems to be.
As soon as these flyers were noticed, about 1 pm Thursday, they were removed from both City Hall and the Annex.
Of course there is no place for hate speech in the public discourse in Plainfield or anywhere else. Mayor Robinson-Briggs has gone out of her way to make sure that everyone in this city knows she, and her administration, support equal rights for lgbti citizens and has done everything from providing access to domestic partner benefits to publically (sic) announcing her eagerness to perform civil union services.
There is no shortage of hateful rhetoric whirling around the Plainfield rumor mill, and Dan, you must admit, you are often somewhere in the middle of it, stirring that pot. So let's tone down the umbrage for the moment and see if any actual facts come to light.
And Dan, you know perfectly well that anonymous diatribes are not worth the paper, or electrons, they're printed on.
Joan E. Hervey
That aside, let's go over some of Ms. Hervey's themes.
'Umbrage'? Many commentors on the post expressed umbrage. If PT expressed umbrage, it was over what allowing this flyer to be distributed means in creating a hostile work environment for the many dedicated gays and lesbians who are City employees and must stare at this kind of language if they displease the anonymous pamphleteer. Unjustified?
(Aside to Joan -- If you're going to be a wordsmith, get and use a good dictionary. Or use one of the online ones, like the Free Dictionary or Merriam-Webster, which by the way defines 'umbrage' as "pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult". As self-appointed high-profile representative of Plainfield's gay and lesbian community, do you REALLY want to mean that using the "F" word is a FANCIED slight?)
"To suggest that the Mayor...or any specific person was behind it is irresponsible..." PT never suggested the Mayor was behind it. However, unless Joan subscribes to the Roberto Gonzales theory of authorship (as in the fired attorneys list), SOME PERSON or PERSONS must have written it. And who that is ought to interest everyone.
But wait, "UNTIL there are some facts to back up the accusation"? Is Joan telling us somebody is looking into it? But why wouldn't the Mayor's office or the new public information officer convey that thought?
Here's the clincher, though: "AS SOON AS these flyers were noticed, about 1 pm Thursday, they were removed from both City Hall and the Annex."
As soon as they were noticed? 1 PM?
Mayor Robinson-Briggs made a great fuss during her campaign and after her swearing-in about the installation of a staffed information desk in the rotunda.
Surely, she caused a policy to be written up addressing what kinds of information could be placed in the area, by whom, for how long, and WHO DECIDES that they are allowable, etc. You know, the kind of 'policy and procedures' thingie that well-managed enterprises always seem to have.
Is there one for City Hall and the Annex?
Are we to suppose that the information desk employees did not go over the table first thing in the morning? Even to tidy it up? Or that they did not ask someone attempting to leave materials who they were and what the materials were? Strange, since NO ONE gets by the desk without the insistence on signing in. No one, that is, except EMPLOYEES.
Which ought to be reason enough to want to get to the bottom of who wrote the leaflet and who put it out.
Additionally, per Joan, once the offending leaflets were spotted, they were removed.
Removed and saved? Or removed and trashed?
What's the difference? Well, if they weren't saved and the flyer is deemed the matter of a bias incident, is that destruction of evidence?
But why should PT even raise the question, Joan probably told them to watch out for this wrinkle already.
Joan's parting shot: "Anonymous diatribes are not worth the paper, or electrons, they are printed on."
Now, PT has to admit he has never tried actually PRINTING on an electron, but is IS an interesting thought. I suppose maybe you could call it nanotechnology. If there were such a word.
As to whether anonymous diatribes ought to be reacted to by decent people, my mind turns to the anonymous harassments German Jews endured in the early days of the Third Reich. And we all know where that led.
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