Monday, March 22, 1999

Week of 03/22/1999

In Search Of The Human (Jack)Ass
- by David Matthews 2

In a civil court case in Minnesota, two little words may cost a company $30,000,000.00. The words were uttered by a sales manager about an associate whose picture in a company picnic was on the company’s web site. The words were uttered quietly, and supposedly to himself, but it cost him his job, and it may cost the company millions in alleged personal damages.

The two little words? "Nice bazongas."

Bill Clinton was accused of making an indecent proposition to Paula Jones. She gets her name dragged through the mud, accused of being trailer park trash, vilified by the press, and all she’ll get is $200,000.00 minus attorneys fees.

The words "nice bazongas," uttered quietly by a sales manager in his own office, has supposedly cost this woman "serious depression, anorexia, and sleeplessness," and her lawyers demand $30,000,000.00? Who’s insulting whom?

You know, it wasn’t too long ago that we would have looked at this sales manager and said "this guy is an ass." That’s it. No lawyers, no shrinks, no lawsuits. Just spread the word that the guy is an ass and just leave it at that.

Listen, if the guy walked through the workplace loudly saying "Hey, did you see those pictures of the picnic? Nice bazongas on that associate, huh?" THAT would have been worth $30,000,000.00. Maybe.

What ever happened to simply letting people be an ass? Huh? Has settlement greed on behalf of attorneys driven society to the point where every social faux pas is now grounds for a new game of Johnny Cochrane Lotto?

Perhaps a more noteworthy target of scorn has to be Atlanta’s own "Mouth Of The South," Ted Turner. Not too long ago, the Tedster said that Pope John Paul II should bring the Catholic Church into the 20th Century and drop the adultery part of the Ten Commandments. When asked what he would ask the pontiff should they ever meet, Turner stuck out his foot and said "Have you ever seen a Polish mine detector?"

Now Turner is having to apologize to Catholics, to Pope JP2, and to the Polish people, and even that isn’t enough according to one theocratic group. They want Bud Sielig, the commissioner of the professional baseball, to suspend Turner from owning the Atlanta Braves for one year.

You know what? Ted Turner is an ass! We’ve all known that Turner is an ass, okay? Do you people understand that? Ted Turner sticks his foot in his mouth so many times that he has developed the first-ever case of athlete’s tongue!

You know what else? He’s not the only ass! Marge Schott, the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, is also an ass. She rivals Turner in saying things that offend some people, and she doesn’t even care if people are offended. Same with political consultant James Carville. He’s an ass! And he’ll admit it too!

How about radio shock jock Howard Stern? He’s an ass as well! Matter of fact, he is so successful because he’s an ass! He incorporates it into his radio persona. He gets outrageous and it offends people, and (this is the important part) it gets the attention of the people!

Let’s get brutally honest here. At some point in our lives, we all have those moments when we are a complete and utter ass. Maybe it is by accident, or maybe it is out of pure selfish motivations, but at some point in your life, you were an ass. Some people grow up and grow out of it, others never do.

But being an ass has become an endangered species, thanks in no small part to lawsuit-happy attorneys and the hyper-sensitive people who feel that we should all walk on eggshells just to appease them.

Listen, folks, it’s easy to understand the motivations of the lawsuit-happy attorneys. After all, they’re greedy asses! The hyper-sensitive people are the real problem.

Just like we were all asses at one point in our lives, so too many of us used to have fragile egos as well. Most of us, however, have had those egos smashed and trampled on. That’s a part of dealing with other people. That’s a part of dealing with the real world. We grow up, we understand that the world does not revolve around ourselves and our petty needs and desires, and we hopefully become better people because of it.

Problem is, the social movement of our more liberal idealists has coddled too many people into thinking they are entitled to having a fragile ego. That somehow stepping on your toes is an unpardonable sin. And the lawyers, of course, have latched onto that notion by bringing lawsuits for the most inane of statements and the most petty of comments. It is political correctness not only running amok, but in many cases running to ruin.

What we need is a dose of reality. We need to recognize that the person who says "nice bazongas" is an ass, and to let him be an ass. We need to let people like Ted Turner and Marge Schott say what they say because they haven’t had their reality check yet. Let them be asses! Sooner or later, the asses of the world get theirs.

Conversely, we also need the people with the fragile egos grow up and get new egos. Trust me on this. I speak from experience when I say that the world will not end just because your ego is bruised or shattered. You’ll grow up. In fact, after it is over you might just look back and laugh at how you used to act, and wonder how you were able to go on the way you were.

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