Let me begin by saying that, whatever Princeton once was, it isn’t any longer. Any university that has both the execrable Paul Krugman and and the even more execrable Peter Singer on its roster has long ago parted ways with decency, intelligence, and data. Should we be surprised, then, when its admissions process, aided by its — ahem — “education” process, results in people like Newby Parton, a Princeton freshman who shot to unexpected fame by complaining that he’s the victim of microagression because he pronounces “wh” as “hw”?
Parton’s article, which appears in the Daily Princetonian, is either a pitch-perfect satire of every Leftist attempt to claim victimhood, or it is an honest piece that represents the nadir of higher education in America. Either way, this is what you need to know about: Parton introduces himself as a young man who comes from a small region in America that still pronounces “wh” the old-fashioned way, as “hw.”
I actually found Parton’s discussion about this regionalism an interesting bit of linguistic history, one that could, in a sane world, have led to a light-hearted an educational look at lingering speech differences across America despite television’s homogenizing influence. Parton, though, had bigger things on his mind.
You see, poor Parton is picked on:
There is a town in that band that I call home, so I say my “wh”-words in the traditional way. I never thought twice about it before coming to New Jersey. Here, my peers make a spectacle of it. “Say Cool Whip,” they’ll tell me, in reference to the Family Guy gag in which one character pokes fun at another for his /hw/ pronunciations. I’ll say “Cool Whip.” They’ll repeat it back to me with exaggerated emphasis on the /h/. I’ve been pulled into this conversation several times now, and each time I grow a bit more self-conscious. Very few people like to have their speech mocked.
Poor Parton knew what was happening to him. He had become a victim of microaggression.
Micro aggression, you ask? Here’s the story: Having successfully used political correctness to stifle all overt speech that disagrees with Leftist precepts, Lefties have had to go to the next level, which is to argue that unstated anti-Leftist premises still linger in American speech and these too must be stifled. (Daniel Hannan provides a helpful updated dictionary for those struggling to avoid microaggression in their own speech.)
Growing up, I was constantly picked on about my speech patterns, which were (and still are) a confusing amalgam of American, San Francisco, Jewish, and vaguely European. I countered by teasing my own friends, all of whom brought an Asian touch to their English. We all thought it was funny. Parton, as I said, gets what was (and is) really going on when people get teased about regionalisms or other speech variations. It’s hate. Hate pure and simple:
A friend of mine whom I quite like had put me through the “Cool Whip” routine, so I waited awhile and texted her this: “Making fun of regional speech is a microaggression.”
But don’t cry for Parton, please. His indocrination, er education has taught him that, although he’s clearly a victim of hatred, he’s so privileged he has no right to complain. Apparently the 21st century white man’s burden is that you’re not allowed to whine when your friends tease you:
[T]is is not very important to me. I am a male and I am white, so I get less than my fair share of discrimination. I am ashamed to say that I have complained when I have had such fortune, but I must confess that I did.
Moreover, Parton celebrates the fact that his intense emotional anguish nevertheless serves as a teaching opportunity (or do I mean a learning opportunity?) for young Parton and one, moreover, that allows him to abase himself completely before those Lefties whose cool victimhood he wishes he could emulate:
She [the friend to whom he complained] really did not understand that she had caused any offense, even after I had plainly told her so. That is fine with me, and I don’t blame her one bit. If I were her, I am afraid I would not have understood either.
I mean it when I say I am afraid. I am afraid that I have spent eighteen years not understanding when I have said something offensive. I am afraid that I have unwittingly hurt the feelings of people so accustomed to microaggression that they did not bother to speak up. I am afraid that I would not have taken those people seriously if they had made a stand. And I am afraid I will do it all again. I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted.
I’m sure you know that expression, “Pardon me, but I just spit up a little in my mouth.” I find that weak. For things such as Parton’s pathos, I really feel like going the full vomit.
Keep in mind that Parton is one of the few and the proud who makes it into America’s Ivy Leagues. After all, these universities, deservedly or not, get to troll amongst the top, top graduates of American high schools — and Parton is what they picked. Not only did the admissions office see promise in the boy, the student newspaper quite obviously felt that Parton had something worthwhile to say. (Or alternatively, the editors hate him and saw this as the perfect opportunity to hold him up to nationwide opprobrium.)
A friend of mine, who was trained in a harsher school of life than the emotionally fragile Parton, summed up nicely what I would have said in a dozen bloviating paragraphs:
Especially like the fact he is a freshman. Self-flagellating, mewling worms with zero life experience need to stop their micro-aggressive assault on my senses. Only sissies deal in so called micro aggression. When I do it, it’s on purpose and there’s nothing micro about it. As I went to bed last night it dawned on me that our popular culture has so glamorized victimization that this poor sap had to dig deep to manufacture a way for him to be in the club with the cool kids. He has to blame someone. That would be as opposed to seeking responsibility
Yeah! What my friend said.
(Oh, and while I’m on the subject of personal responsibility, here’s a different take, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree.)