March 14, 2007, 1:36 pm; posted by
Filed under Articles, Tom  | 4 Comments

Tom is away at a job interview today, so we present a post from the Best of Tom, originally written on January 13, 2006.

The Defense Department recently gave $50,000 to Wellesley College’s Centers for Women to advise the Pentagon on developing “a victim’s advocacy office for military women who have suffered sexual assault or harassment.” We’ll get to the name later. This all seems innocuous, a way for those in power to protect and empower our nation’s bravest women. It. Is. Not. Specifically nocuous is the inclusion of the word “harassment.” And I’ll tell you why.

Women often like feeling bad. Paying to watch a sad movie to feel sad, wearing uncomfortable shoes, picking fights — these are good examples of women actively seeking discomfort. Another is choosing to become offended with people, things, actions, and phrases.

One example under the present system was the case of Lt. Bryan D. Black, U.S. Naval Academy faculty member. Twice he spoke crudely and out of turn: once about his excitement at boarding a battleship, the other about his ex-wife. The first comment was made to a group of people that included a female, but the second was said only within earshot of a female. Now the woman who complained received an apology from Black, and Lt. Black received a letter of reprimand and counseling, so the initial investigating officer felt that was adequate punishment for the ‘crime.’

Enter initial female’s female superior, Lt. Commander Michelle Whisenhunt. She heard of the matter and launched her own investigation. She conducted extensive interviews, really did her homework, but she forgot there are two genders in the military, and so only interviewed women. Black wound up court-martialed, charged with three crimes: failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation, conduct unbecoming an officer, and indecent language.

Now, something a little more close to home, but regrettably more vague.

Scene – my bedroom, Tom sitting at desk.

Ted enters room, steps over piles of refuse, notices stuffed microbe on desk, theorizes as to other disease-causing micro-organisms Tom might own in plush form.

Ted – “I wish you had the AIDS virus.”

Tom immediately places out-of-context quote in away message.


An out-of-context quote can be comedic dynamite in the proper forum. In theory, the reader should take a look and think, “Surely, someone cannot wish a fate as horrible as HIV infection on old Tom!” The reader should then chuckle to him or herself for several moments, then return to a hawklike vigil over Tom’s away message status.

But this scenario did not come to fruition in every case. One particular time, a woman read it and SERIOUSLY thought, “That’s offensive. Babies in Africa have their parents die from AIDS, yet Tom is using a humorous out-of-context quote about it to bring a little ray of sunshine to the dreary existence of his readers. What a jerk!”

Were I in the military, I’d have two Marines knocking on my door in the morning to drag me off to the brig. You may think these scenarios aren’t connected. But I doubt those brave sailors were any less offended, short-term, than this girl was.

The name of that advocacy group I mentioned earlier? Naturally, it’s the Office of Victim Advocacy. Men in the military, beware! If you aren’t lockstep politically correct, it’s to the dungeons of OVA for you. And if that happens, may God have mercy on your soul.

That is, if She’s not already offended with you.


4 Comments to “Rant”

  1. Josh J on March 14th, 2007 8:46 pm

    So this is the best of Tom?

  2. Steve on March 14th, 2007 8:47 pm

    The best he’d let me print. He’s quite protective of his image.

  3. Job on March 14th, 2007 11:24 pm

    I love it, Tom…it takes a man who’s not new to bravery to engage this subject.

  4. Chloe on March 17th, 2007 10:45 pm

    Ha, I particularly love the paragraph about how women like to feel bad. It’s funny because it’s true! Drama! I need more DRAMA!!!

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