Offensive vernacular?

Joseph Nardoni JNardoni at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 13 02:02:54 UTC 2004

Well, you ask some good questions.  The use of the vernacular had nothing to
do with the secretary at all.  As he puts it, he was so embarrassed at having
forgotten to tell her he would be out that he decided to make fun of himself
in responding to her. He wanted to make himself look stupid because that was
how he felt for having forgotten to notify her. (I think he realizes now how
successful he was.)  He was online at home, ready to send her the notice he was
going to be out when he got distracted by another task and simply spaced it.
He was neither put off by her message, which was merely a reminder to follow
the procedure because it made things difficult on her, nor did he recognize it
as a formal communication at all, since he has somewhat limited contact with
this secretary--he greets her, asks her for things when she needs it, thanks her
for fixing the copy machine when it goes haywire.  It seemed natural to him
that she would communicate by email because she would be sure he got the
message without having to worry about having the opportunity to remind him in
person.  It felt like an informal reminder to him, so he responded in an informal
As some of the other responders have wondered about this, he doesn't
subscribe to the hierarchical rivalry and putdowns that are rampant on our campus.  He
has steadfastly campaigned to get more money and better treatment for part
time faculty and  professional staff members, and when the administrative
support staff was protesting during their last round of negotiations, he rallied
with them.  Furthermore, he's a Creative Writing Professor and is in the habit of
making fun of himself, having published funny things about himself in the
school magazine. I think he will be more circumspect in the future.
I'm sure that what bothers him most is the implied charge of racism behind
the criticism he is receiving.  He happens to be the adoptive father of an
African-American boy.

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