Thursday, January 29, 2004

Stupid Is as Stupid Says

In a case of right-wing political correctness run amok, some stores are pulling t-shirts form their shelves with the following captions: “Boys Are Stupid,” “Boys Are Smelly,” and “Boys Have Cooties.”

Radio talk show host Glenn Sacks prompted his listeners to complain to stores in Los Angeles and Seattle, which carry the t-shirts.

“I’m sorry if I sound like a humorless zealot," he said, "but I just don’t see the humor in it.”

Humorless indeed. But what's more troubling is that Sacks represents a classic example of a majority group (men) crudely claiming that when a minority group (women) does something it has the same impact and meaning as if the majority group did it.

No, "Boys Are Stupid" isn't the same as "Women are Stupid," Mr. Sacks, for the simple reason that the latter statement comes freighted with millennia of male-dominating behavior. Perhaps if women had subjugated women for hundreds, yea, thousands of years, you might have a case.

Think I'm reading too much between the lines? Read on.

As the AP article points Sacks claims the t-shirts incite anti-male violence. That's patently absurd. And oddly unsophisticated. Maybe willfully unsophisticated would be more accurate.

After all, we need only read of Sacks' sympathy for the "fathers’ rights movement" to learn the real motivation for his bullying boycott. Google that term and see what you come up with. Some scary stuff: affiliations with right wing groups like Promise Keepers, sites throwing words like "feminazi" around.

Sacks' own site describes him as "a men's and fathers' issues columnist and a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host." Which is kind of like being a Caucasian issues columnist, I guess.

His radio show is called "His Side" and a headline on the show's web site warns us "'Boys are Stupid' Shirts Worn in our Schools." It continues with the following distressing news:
Today boys have fallen seriously behind girls at all K-12 levels. By high school the typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing. Girls get better grades than boys and boys are far more likely than girls to drop out of school or to be disciplined, suspended, held back, or expelled. Boys are four times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls, and the vast majority of learning-disabled students are boys. Boys are less likely to graduate high school, go to college, or graduate college than girls.

Allowing girls to wear "Boys Are Stupid" shirts rubs salt in the wound--why are administrators and teachers permitting it?
So Sacks takes some legitimate concerns about recent patterns of boys performing poorly in school and tries to couple that fact with the incidental one that some girls are wearing a silly t-shirt. That doesn't wash. And it's Sacks who's treating us like idiots.

You can buy the t-shirts online from Boys Are Smelly.

No comments: