Thursday, March 05, 2009

Please don't allow idiots near the mirophone

Last night I went to see Angela Davis speak at St Cloud State University. It was really, really interesting. She's a very powerful, compelling speaker and although I didn't agree with everything she said (especially regarding some of her thoughts on the prison system) I found her talk thought provoking.

If you're the sort of person who enjoys watching other people make idiots out of themselves then you should go to events like this one and then stick around for the question and answer segment. Get a large group of people together in a room and I guarantee that that were be several morons who just can't want to use that open mic to broadcast their particular brand of moronishness to the whole room.

Last night one guy stood up the microphone and instead of asking a question (like we were specifically instructed to do!) started rambling on with his own thoughts about the problems with the prison system. His main complaint seemed to be that we don't do enough to keep pedophiles safe while they are in prison. He went on and on about it. It was kind of fascinating. All I could think was "Dude! Way to out yourself as a sex offender!"

I mean, I suppose it's possible that this guy wasn't a pedophile. I guess. I don't know though. You don't see a lot of non-pedophiles tearing at their hair and crying "Won't someone please think of the child molesters!" I may be biased here. I for one don't give a flying flip about the safety of child molesters. In my opinion, you do something like that to a child and you kind of deserve whatever you get after that.

If anything surpassed that moment in pure OMG inducement it was the white woman who stood up at the microphone and sobbed as she asked her question. She stood there and asked Angela Davis, former Black Panther, how to help the minorities around her who just seemed to give up so easily when faced with difficulties. "I just *sob* see them and I *sob* feel so bad because they *sob* just don't try as hard as I do *sob* and I want to help them *sob* but I don't know how because *sob* they just don't have it in them to *sob sob sob* try as hard as I do."

Here is my reaction rendered in glorious emoticon form: <:^O

Somehow Angela Davis managed to give an answer that was smart, gentle, informed, compassionate and just a wee bit of a smack down. If it was just me standing up there the best I would have been able to come up with is "Did you really just say that to me? Really? What part of your brain thought it was ok to let those words leak out of your mouth?"

I wondered what answer this woman was looking for. Was Angela Davis going to tell her just the right thing to say to inspire the people around her to try harder? As my dear friend Emily said "What is she going to do? Go up to people and say 'Excuse me, I noticed that you're a person of color and that you seem to give up easier than I do. I would like to help you with that.'?"

(I am aware that the punctuation in that last sentence was totally messed up but I'm not sure how to fix it and I'm too lazy to figure it out. If only there was someone around to give me a condescending pep talk.)

Anyway, the talk was really interesting but the question and answer period just confirmed for me what I have long suspected. Idiots are drawn to open mics and captive audiences. Has anyone else ever had an experience like this?

Two years ago today Spring Break left me feeling confused and I took part in an epic battle.


Sara said...

haha, I own a management company and we manage HOA's and condominiums. I have you so beat.

Ben said...

Yes, most people agree that Q&A session at these events is code for "stand in front of the microphone delivering poorly thought out rant until moderator cuts you off".

Barbara said...

You seriously have to wonder what the heck was going through their minds when they chose to speak. Some people really need a filter in their heads. I'm not saying never to speak your mind, but seriously think about what you are saying before saying it.

littlebobleep said...

Ah, yes, the Case of the Missing Mouth Filter....

Becky said...

When I went see Margaret Cho at SCSU the first thing a woman said when she walked up to the mic was, "You are so f***in' hot, I really wanna f*** you."


Nicki said...

Unbelievable! Especially the Defender Of Pedophiles! Weird, weird, weird.

Beany said...

Yes to Becky's comment but didn't she also say she would cut off her arm to see Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi f***? Really? Cut off your arm? Wth?

Cathy said...

Um, the other day at work we were talking about the heirarchy that prisoners have - with the child molesters being at the bottom. And we all agreed that we liked it that way. Let the "not so bad criminals" handle those "oh my god you did NOT Just do that criminals". You know? Anyway - thought it was funny that you heard someone saying that we need to protect them - protect those that even the common prisoner knows they are better than them.

texasholly said...

Q & A sessions are only outdone by mass email replies. OMG people...don't put it in a bunch of people.

Why are people so stupid?

Stimey said...

I saw Davis speak way back when I was in college, or shortly thereafter. She was great.

I just spent a weekend at a conference and there was one woman there who just would not shut up. In sessions she would shout exclamations and explain basic things to a well-educated audience (when, in fact, she was also in that audience and not actually a speaker). At the keynote, during the Q&A, the executive director of the organization literally tried to pry the microphone out of her hands and she would not give it up.

It was incredible.

Anonymous said...

Your punctuation was correct!