Friday, 5 February 2016

pick your battles or macro-offence

When I have callers in my narrow and cramped office, visitors are usually forced to assume a position over my shoulder, and while I feel no particular compunction to minimise windows or switch tabs to hide shopping or travel browsing, I am sometimes persuaded to mask the headlines of certain news outlets for fear as public-trust appointee that I might be violating the Hatch Act—a US statute that prohibits government workers from advocating for one political ideology over another, though I think it’s more narrowly defined than my abundance of caution—and for fear I might incite a micro-aggression.
Once I had thought that political-correctness as a surrogate for civility and general good manners might die the ignoble death it deserves instead of rising from the flames in a dread, self-censoring and tongue-watching phœnix, but I suppose that was a naïve thing to think. There have always been those artful souls skilled at taking offence and going on the defensive, but I’ve only known those demagogues that invite heaps of abuse, martyrs and matrons. I never thought that the faithful might till a patch of garden that’s securely hedged off from all opposition and descent, not deigning to entertain contrarian opinions. Cultivating such safety-zones, I think, ensures that they will always hate us—especially in the realms of higher-education where dialectic is defined along very stringent bounds and becomes something meaningless and only re-affirming. In my shyness, I hope that I can recognise my own bias since it’s not for the sake of shirking my job that I close off discussion but rather that I’d like to consider myself informed and not engage in a debate or find some common-ground. Maybe my desire to dispense with an ordeal in the work-place (propriety aside) enables the victims of micro-aggresions (innocent on-looker or policy-maker) to have their bustle in their hedgerow. What do you think?