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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

13 Groups to Disparage, Inspired by Gordon Gee's Resignation

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM


OSU president Gordon Gee has announced his resignation in the fallout of comments he made back in December about Roman Catholics. Say whaaa? He made a pretty funny joke, I thought.

"The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell the rest of the week,” the AP quoted Gee saying at a meeting of the Ohio State athletic council on December 5. He was referring to priests at Notre Dame who evidently made negotiations difficult when discussing the University's potential entry to the Big Ten Conference. "You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday."

Gee later apologized and called the remarks a "poor attempt at humor." Now, he's officially stepping down. After presiding over the Buckeyes since 2007, he'll be out of the captain's chair July 1. (Gee also was OSU president from 1990-1997).

So here's the thing: Given Gee's extensive gaffe track record, this is a bizarre and sort of low-watt exit, isn't it? Or do the Catholic remarks strike some folks as less tame than they strike me (i.e. extremely tame)?

A lot of my so-what? reaction might have to do with the condition of Catholicism in this day and age, and the extent to which grand-scale institutional fuck-ups have permitted (and in many respects required the same genre of almost penitent self-deprecation which, e.g., white people have blithely indulged in for decades).

Which is to say: Jokes about mean, stupid, secretive Catholics aren't bothersome or personally offensive to me in the way that, say, jokes about Cleveland are (or, by proxy, jokes about women, the mentally handicapped, the LGBT community or senior citizens).

In one sense, that's because jokes about Catholics seem more accurate, at least as far as the hierarchy's topmost tiers are concerned — those Notre Dame priests were probably the worst — but in a more important sense because those jokes are uniquely part of the tradition's heritage, and have been (in different forms) for many years.

Is that right or no?

In another way, this all feels part and parcel of an enduring uncertainty (and discomfort) young people have talking about religion and faith. (Typing the word "faith," for instance, makes me feel yucky in ways I recognize as having nothing to do with faith and everything to do with my perception of people's perception of people who talk earnestly about it.) This feels like a Jezebel intro if ever there was one!

But the fact is, enough Catholics were upset to provoke the nation's highest paid President to resign. Among the following, which is the worst? Are some worse than others? Which would have forced a resignation? Why? (Get it? It's like an essay question or thought exercise).

1) "Those damn Catholics"

2) "Those damn Jews"

3) "Those damn Muslims"

4) "Those damn Mormons"

5) "Those damn white people"

6) "Those damn black people"

7) "Those damn Asians"

8) "Those damn women"

9) "Those damn seniors"

10) "Those damn Native Americans"

12) "Those damn hipsters"

13) "Those damn Liberals/Republicans"

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