Back To School

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Lesson Seven: If You Can't Say Anything Well…

Adam wraps up well, albeit a little flustered: "I think we've really been able to captivate relationships at work, and we thank you so much for joining us." I don't know how you "captivate" relationships, but if I did I'd be set for life. Adam interviews that it was a "calculated risk" to make the class "a little bit less structured" -- and I think whatever structure there was, we didn't get to see, because it looked like a squeamish screaming mess of awkwardness and stepping on each others' lines -- and then makes the most important point: "Clay may have offended a good deal of only takes four or five people to get seriously offended by a comment like that...and give us a poor score. He was a loose cannon." I appreciate Adam's delicacy here, because Clay said a lot more shit that worried me, and while I can appreciate Adam hyper-focusing on the perceived racist comment toward him during a wretchedly uncomfortable seminar, I doubt very much that he's completely forgotten the other stuff. So he proves the right point by being intent upon the wrong point: if Adam heard "tight-ass Jew" and all its miserly connotations, I'm sure that more than "four or five" people in the audience felt the same way, which means that he's right at the same time he's wrong -- and he's right for the right reasons, so I'm okay with it.

Afterwards, Clay approaches the team, asking, "Anybody hate me for anything I said?" And he's talking about the gay stuff, I guarantee you, because A) he's self-obsessed and B) he's from Texas. Texan anti-Semitism is an afterthought -- there are so many more people to hate first! -- because there aren't that many Jews in Bryan, Texas. Especially not compared to, say, New York City. I'm not denying the existence of anti-Semitism in Texas by any means, but it's decaf compared to what I've seen in other areas of the country. Ugly and horrible and stupid, yes, but low on the list of who's gonna get it first. And no, it's not cool to get into a "whose victimhood from prejudice wins" conversation, but I'm trying to explain Clay's mindset: not even on his radar.

Markus is like, "No!" very vigorously, which is funny because he's the only one to really feel the gay stuff was that damaging to them as a group. Adam says, rationally and helpfully, that the only thing that "really bothered" him was "the Jewish comments," and he asks that Clay refrain from that crap in the future. Clay's blown away by this, because he had no idea he'd crossed a line of any kind. Markus's finest moment is here, because he spends the entire conversation going, "Wait 'til later. Wait 'til later. Wait 'til later." Word, Markus. Man.

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