The tsunami of outrage over Blue Jay shortstop Yunel Escobar's alleged "homophobic slur" makes one think of an inspired observation by the late Professor Northcote Parkinson.
During research for his famous Parkinsons' Law, he noted that boards of directors for big companies (or governments) would routinely rubber stamp commitments of millions of dollars for various projects -- then bog down for a half-hour of back-and-forth discussion over whether of office coffee should (in those days) cost ten or fifteen cents.
The moral being, that office coffee was simple, easily understood, and something about which everyone had an opinion, while other decisions were complex and difficult.
The fuss over Escobar's eye black bearing the words "Tu ere maricon," which translates into "You are a faggot," is mindful of Parkinson's dictum -- easy to understand and convenient for getting mindlessly indignant about, as if this was an unforgivable outrage to human dignity.
Everyone seems to be reacting with mild hysteria.
In a column, the Sun's Steve Buffery ("Beezer") won't even spell out "faggot," but camouflages it with the euphemism "fa---t," putting it in the same unmentionable category as the "N-word," which can never be mentioned in polite company.
Even our beloved Bob Elliott (he of the Baseball Hall of Fame) chides Escobar, albeit more in sorrow than anger. Disappointed, perhaps, by Yunel's lack of education.
Well, sensitivity training will cure that.
Back to the Parkinson's Law analogy: we see similar hysteria over Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) being surreptitiously photographed topless -- something that doesn't take much intellect to understand, and everyone has an opinion.
In the Sun, the brave Tarek Fatah's column berates "the sheer madness that unfolds every time Muslims sensibilities are offended," as in the lousy movie about Mohamed that none of the rioters around the world has ever seen. That attitude prevails about Escobar's goof.
According the radio (AM 590), Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos considered suspending Escobar for a year, trading him, or giving him his outright release instead of a three-game suspension and a $90,000 fine to go the a gay/lesbian group.
If so, that's ridiculous. If you ask me, undergoing sensitivity training is punishment enough.
No argument that Escobar shouldn't have done what he did, but it was thoughtless and meaningless -- locker room stuff, not considered judgment. Ever hear what's said in management meetings of any business, including the Sun? Wow!
How about the military, or any sports team? Individuals can suggest pals have incestuous relations with their mother, and it not be taken personally.
Frankly, that seems more denigrating than "maricon."
Escobar has apologized profusely. Doubtless he had no idea the hullabaloo his antic would cause. Likely he no more intended to hurt feelings than someone does when he calls a colleague a name that questions whether his parents were married. Or inappropriate intimacy with his mother.
In this mini-tsunami over Escobar, sports writers, editorialists and commentators are piling on, as if their fabricated indignation proves their innocence in ever-indulging in something similar. Again, words without meaning or intent to injure.
Escobar remains a valuable Blue Jay, a fielder better than most, a player who has caused management no trouble, and someone who did a silly thing for which he is being penalized and reviled to a degree that makes no sense.
And if you ask me (no one is), the unnecessary fuss is liable to result in a backlash against the very people Escobar's critics seek to defend. Wait and see.