The Wussification of America: How Hypersensitivity Distorts Perception

Court Zierk@CourtZierkCorrespondent INovember 25, 2009

With the one-game suspension of longtime Los Angeles Clippers announcers Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith, I am officially at my wits end with the growing hyper-sensitivity that is polluting the American consciousness.

At what point do we draw the line and say enough is enough? We have become so damn sensitive in our continued pursuit of equality that we are beginning to tip the scales toward isolative advantage for the easily offended.

We have spent the last 60 years trying to break away from the mindset of segregation, yet here we stand today, divided into two groups: those who can speak their mind without consequence and those who bite their tongue in fear of repercussion.

How can we ever truly become an indistinguishable population if we keep allowing special treatment for certain groups?

Take a closer look at what the two Clippers announcers, tried in the court of public opinion, are actually guilty of.

During the waning moments of a game in which the outcome was no longer in question, Lawler and Smith began to discuss the appearance of Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi, the only Iranian player currently in the NBA.

In the process, they made some off-the-cuff remarks about how he looks like he could be Borat’s older brother, and that if a movie was ever made about Haddadi, Sacha Baron Cohen could play the part.

They went on to say how those Iranians can pass the ball. All the while, as they were making the above remarks, they continuously mispronounced Iran by calling it “eye-ran,” which is what actually prompted a listener to write in to the station to make the formal correction.

Apparently somewhere along the way, it was made abundantly clear to the entire world that the correct pronunciation was actually “ih-RAHN,” but I too must have been absent from that announcement.

Now maybe it’s just me, and I will likely be maligned for my opinion (what else is new?) but doesn’t Haddadi sort of look like he could be Borat’s older brother?

Gasp. Pause for collective outcry of astonishment.

Yes. That’s right. The “eye-ranian” player sort of resembles a guy who once parodied a Kazakhstani man in a movie, and he sure can pass the ball pretty damn well.

I realize that Kazakhstan and Iran are two completely different countries, with entirely different traditions altogether. And yes, I realize that the two countries, while close in proximity, do not share identical cultural practices.

But, I also realize that I kind of look like that white guy in Breach , and I’m pretty sure he isn’t German/Swiss/Hungarian. Now imagine if those same announcers had made this observation about me and had pronounced my home state of Colorado as “Calo-red-o,” how many people do you think would have been up in arms?


Let me try to get to the point. We, as Americans, are turning into a bunch of pansies. Every time I turn on the TV, or look through the daily news, somebody new is offended about something.  

Bill Simmons was just put on a two-week Twitter suspension because he referred to ESPN’s Boston radio affiliate as “deceitful scumbags.” Is it not feasible that this particular associate of ESPN does in fact have some “deceitful scumbags” within its ranks? Why are we vilifying him for revealing what he believes to be true?

Hawaii Warriors coach Greg McMackin was recently suspended for 30 days without pay for his “derogatory” comment made during a press conference while describing Notre Dame’s chant during a banquet.

Yes, I’m sure he really believes that the entire Notre Dame team has homosexual tendencies and feels the need to express it through the performance of their “little f****t dance” (read in sarcastic tone).

Or, maybe he was just searching for a term to express his disdain for the University of Notre Dame and that is what came to mind at the time. Is it really so hard to believe the man most likely harbors absolutely no resentment for the gay community whatsoever? Had he called it the “honkey hop,” I’m sure it would have never even made the news.  

Maybe I am just more tolerant because I have grown accustomed to the barrage of insults thrown my way every time I express anything that resembles an opinion.  And I’m certain that the same people who will vilify me for the opinions expressed here, will be the first ones to dig deep within to find words they believe will cause me injury.

But my skin is thick. I take insults with a grain of salt. I am impervious to abuse and indestructible in the face of cruelty. I'll take what you say, digest it, and utilize it as ammunition for my next column. I don't believe in second place award ribbons or participation medals. I don't practice racial sensitivity, or cater to the whimsical values we are bestowing on our children.

I will treat each and every one of you, regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, with the exact same amount of respect and consider you all to be equally esteemed. Unless of course, you do something foolish or otherwise insolent. Then I will hold each of you equally liable and expose you with the same level of vigilance.

So grow some balls and say what you will, especially if it is in the name of truth. But be willing to withstand the same in return, beyond our current feeble threshold. In the name of tolerance, forbearance, and testicular fortitude, I ask that we put a stop to the burgeoning wussification of America.