News and Notes

« Sat.06.10.2000 »

It's been a very busy week. I worked 34 hours, including some shifts at weird times of the day. I'll be getting tomorrow off, so I'm going to go drop by my parents' house for a while.

I got into a situation recently where a post I made on my message board came back to bite me in the ass. Apparently, a few of the wrong people took exception to the profanity, as well as totally misconstrued the intent of the post to the point where it looks like I attacked one of my direct supervisors at Transportation Services. I think what happened is that when I signed up to speak at next Thursday's Regents' Meeting, one of their executive secretaries decided to check out my page; I have a feeling they do that to get an idea whether I can be coherent, or will just be a stark raving lunatic. In any case, she saw the post; it made its way all throughout the University on Thursday, from the Regents right down to Bitsy.

I have this much to say: I feel that this is a case of invasion of privacy. Yes, it is publicly available information, but when you secretly go around spreading untrue rumors about it, and furthermore don't bring your grievances with it straight to me, it becomes invasion of privacy.

Whoever you are that saw the post and took exception to whatever was in there, you have a few lessons to learn about how to deal with stuff you don't like. You completely mishandled the situation by not attempting to contact me first; for the love of God, my e-mail address is all over the site! If you had e-mailed me, the post would have been taken down sooner, no problem. But no, you had to tell everybody else at U-M about it first, and just hope that I heard something about it from somewhere. You also went around spreading false rumors about the post -- there is NO WAY IN HELL I referred to Pat Cunningham as a "parking Nazi." How you made that inference, I really don't know.

Yes, some of the post may have been over the top, and I know some people can't seem to stand the use of profanity at all. My father is a prime example. Still, the entire post was within my First Amendment right to freedom of speech; judges have said it time and time again that the only unprotected speech is that which threatens the security of the nation or a state, or attempts to incite "imminent lawless action." My post did neither, so therefore, it constituted protected speech. Furthermore, THIS IS A PERSONAL WEB SITE. I am only representing myself here, not some company or whatever. If I cannot speak my mind here, then what is this, the University of the Soviet Union?

Oh, and I know what University lawyer types will say to that one, "the post showed clear hatred of the 'hospital bitches,' who he blames for taking all the parking here. We cannot accept hatred such as that here at U-M." That is bullshit. NOT ONCE DID I SAY I PERSONALLY HATED THEM, OR ANY ONE OF THEM. NOT ONCE. I attacked the general attitude about parking at the hospital ("I'm above having to park elsewhere and take a bus, I'm so important"), as well as the current "caste" system used for parking permits here. It seems to me that if you think you're important, you can get a Blue permit in no time, but if you're just a schmuck like me, good luck.

I really don't think there's much more that can be said about "Christmas cards from the city," or the meter maids and officers who spread the holiday joy. I think I said that all in the post. It seems to be the "parking Nazis" and "hospital bitches" references that stirred up the most trouble.

The official word here from this site was an apology and retraction, which I put up on Thursday. I must say that I personally feel there is damn little to apologize for, but people above me on the food chain here took offense, and life is a game of knowing when and for whom you have to kiss ass. So, if nothing else, I had to appease them and try to make the situation look good. Of course I'm seriously pissed off about this, but I can't just go and accuse people who are pissed off at me of having twisted the story around. Like I said, there are times to fight stuff and times to kiss ass, and when it could come back to bite you in the ass and cost you your job, even if the people in authority are wrong, you kiss ass.

I've gone on way too long with this, but I needed to make my thoughts on the matter known.