In this Brave New World all lifestyles are equal, but some are more equal than others. And some dare not speak their name, even on Twitter.
This week, the Miami Dolphins fined a player for tweeting "OMG" and "horrible" after Michael Sam celebrated his 7th round draft pick by emotionally kissing his boyfriend on national television. I was reminded of what Daniel Henninger wrote just days earler.
All of a sudden, the left has hit ramming speed across a broad swath of American life—in the universities, in politics and in government. People fingered as out of line with the far left's increasingly bizarre claims are being hit and hit hard.
The examples are legion. In November, New York’s police commissioner was blocked from speaking at Brown university; this month, protests led Condoleezza Rice to withdraw from a commencement address at Rutgers University; Azusa Pacific University disinvited scholar Charles Murray; Brandeis rescinded an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali for making critical comments about Islam, and Mozilla’s CEO was forced out because he had contributed $1,000 to a proposition opposed to legalizing gay marriage.
Now the NFL is fining players for one word tweets.
The latest episode was sparked by this scene on national television:
Now we know that the only acceptable reaction to this man-on-man lip lock was celebration or silence. Or perhaps gratitude that the display of affection was not more graphic.
Dissent or objection was, apparently, not permitted. But the Dolphins’ Don Jones had not gotten the memo. He tweeted out a single word: "horrible."
To be sure, Sam’s reaction was spontaneous, emotional and probably quite genuine. But here’s the thing: so was Jones’s. One was acceptable and celebrated. The other was not.
Retribution was swift. Dolphin coach Joe Philbin called the comments "inappropriate and unacceptable" and declared that the newly tolerant Dolphins would not tolerate Jones’s tweet.
Jones was fined, and "excused from team activities." But even that punishment was not enough: Jones, like others before him, was also sentenced to mandatory "sensitivity" training, those updated versions of the re-education camps in which dissidents are cured of improper thoughts.
Of course given the team’s issues with "bullying," the Dolphins’ reaction may have been atypical. But it seemed as if another was line was crossed: speech codes had come to professional sports.
It was all there: the intolerance in the name of tolerance, the public ritual of abasement, and of course, the mandatory sensitivity training.
More than 20 years, I wrote about the Revolution of Rising Sensitivities in A Nation of Victims. I noted that, of course, sensitivity to the need and feelings of others was the mark of a civil and civilized society. 'But the victimist demand for sensitivity is more problematic, " I wrote, because it changed the terms of what was acceptable and what was not.
It is no longer enough to engage in lengthy and detailed debate over issues as affirmative [or later gay marriage], it is far easier and more effective to simply brand a critic as insenstitive.
And this was before Twitter was even invented. But the outlines of the new sensitivity regime were already being laid out. Improper ideas were not challenged by other ideas; they were simply banned or treated as something to be stamped out, cured, or re-educated out of existence.
So now the sensitivity regime is part of professional sports and it will be a baleful presence in every locker room, especially because nobody really knows what the sensitivity police will come for next.