arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Prep School Barber/Bully


At first glance, it might appear that reports of Mitt Romney’s prep school “prank” was a distraction from the larger issues confronting the presumptive Republican nominee for President. (My money is on Ron Paul.) However, the story, though dwarfed by President Obama coming out as a leader in favor of gay marriage, has taken on more legs than that poor hapless creature that had to ride extreme shotgun on top of Mitt’s car years ago. After one week, the story has inspired a variety of opinions and speculation on how the anecdote about Romney’s past will influence Romney’s future as a leader.

Briefly, The Washington Post published a story in which Romney led a group of his prep school classmates to hold down another classmate with long hair, while Romney cut off the offending locks. The victim screamed for help throughout the attack, which occurred in the spring of 1965. The attackers apparently felt that the young man deserved this treatment because he may have been considered a “sissy”, and a few may or may not have known that the young man was gay.

There is more than one point of view to look at Romney’s situation. There is the Fox News Model, which postulates that sure, okay, everybody makes stupid mistakes when they are young, but we all grow and mature and eventually see the error of our ways. Then there is the Liberal Media Model (aka Everyone Else in the Known Universe Model), which insists that Romney, although young, was still grown up enough to know right from wrong, and there’s no way around this: restraining a grown adult for the purpose of cutting his hair over his shrill protests is very, very wrong.

It pains me to say this, but there is some truth to the Fox News Model. We all grow up and become aware as we grow that attitudes we had as youngsters will not be tolerated in an adult society. We either adopt new attitudes of acceptance of the world around us, or we join the Ku Klux Klan, but that is decidedly an extreme case. In the course of our maturation, we denounce our previous actions, offer apologies and ask for forgiveness. In short, we repent and this is where we all experience the Judeo-Christian qualities of redemption and salvation.

True to form, Fox News gave Romney a forum to repent. He admitted that some of his actions back then may have gone too far, and offered an apology if anyone was offended by his actions. There, redemption and salvation is his! Smile everyone, group hug!

Oh, but wait, there is also the Liberal Media school of thought. They believe Romney was a bully then, and redemption be damned, he can be a bully now. This point of view also has some validity.

Romney a bully? Surely it is possible! How else did he survive in the dog-eat-dog world of venture capitalism all those years? You don’t get to the top of that world by being nice to everyone. You get to the top of that world by adopting an air of ethnocentrism, or a posture of superiority over those you believe don’t measure up to your standards. 

Critics on the Liberal Media side have discounted his apology. It was said as nonchalantly as someone would wave away a fly that is annoying them. The apology could also have been seen as self-serving. It would have carried more weight if the victim could actually hear and accept the apology, but he died in 2004. I believe he’s beyond caring about anything Romney would have to say on the subject.

There is a certain amount of arrogance that must be present in anyone who would approach someone with a pair of scissors. Try as he might, Romney may find it hard to shake this from his persona. His campaign tries to portray him as someone to whom everyone can relate, but this may be a lost cause. Unlike Romney, many people find the thought of firing workers distasteful. Unlike Romney, many people may not find stories that his daddy closed a factory and threw thousands out of work as humorous.

The Romney bully story may stick to him. Enough people may question whether this arrogant use of ethnocentrism may raise its ugly head at an inopportune time in the future. It could result in a lapse of judgment when Romney really needs to be a wise, compassionate leader. Maybe I’m being a little harsh on Romney. Or maybe it’s the Liberal Media talking….

(Thank you for reading! What? Ron Paul quit? What’s the world coming to!)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Janey said...

As a gay man with long, bleached-blond hair, I can tell you that if Romney and some other homophobic bullies had attacked my fabulous mane with scissors in 1965, I'd STILL be pissed about it, and at this point would have enacted revenge. Since my bullied gay comrade died in 2004, I must rise to his defense with this statement: the incident disqualifies Romney from being President of the United States. Anyone who disagrees with me does so at his/her peril.

May 19, 2012 at 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really,47 years later you are worried about a hair cut prank? Not the economy! Joe...

May 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM  

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