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41 Responses

  1. karak
    karak December 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    I initially read Robert Bentley as Robert Benchley and for a moment thought we couldn’t be friends anymore.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Benchley

    That said, it’s kind of obnoxious to do a tweet right in front on of someone/when they’re still around. But this kind of fervor is a little bizarre.

  2. Lauren
    Lauren December 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    * slow clap *

  3. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    While is was crass (hey, come sit by me!) it’s hardly on par with shit a lot of women get tweeted. You know, like rape threats and dick pics, etc. Oddly enough, those things are just the way things are and we should suck it up.

    A teenaged girl sending an obnoxious tweet to a male politician? SACRILEGE.

  4. groggette
    groggette December 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    karak: That said, it’s kind of obnoxious to do a tweet right in front on of someone/when they’re still around. But this kind of fervor is a little bizarre.

    Yeah, her tweet was a bit immature. The response however was ridiculous and I’m glad her parents are standing behind her on this.

    (and with hindsight it appears her tweet was actually spot on)

  5. zuzu
    zuzu December 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    I love that Emma Sullivan told her principal that she wouldn’t write an apology as he ordered her to (with talking points!) because it wouldn’t be sincere and she wasn’t sorry.

    And then Brownback backed down.

  6. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    Really–considering what’s said about female politicians (with no apologies), her tweet was pretty fucking mild.

    zuzu: I love that Emma Sullivan told her principal that she wouldn’t write an apology as he ordered her to (with talking points!) because it wouldn’t be sincere and she wasn’t sorry.

    And then Brownback backed down.

  7. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    This is a side issue, but I continue to be amused that this happened at a Youth & Government event – and perplexed at the emphasis, by both Brownback and the media, on her school. Unless her state does it very differently that CA does it (and I’m not sure how they could) Y&G is a YMCA program, not exactly a school program. Schools give permission for kids to miss class all the time for Y&G events because they are considered highly educational, but – unless I’m missing something – contacting her principal seems rather like talking to the school regarding something that happened at a Girl Scout event.

    So, another potential layer of stupidity.

    That said, it’s kind of obnoxious to do a tweet right in front on of someone/when they’re still around.

    Yeah, but…teens only give you as much respect as you give them. And I can just imagine how condescending Brownback was already being.

    Also, this keeps being presented as Brownback’s speech being the sole purpose of the event and…that’s possible, but…from what I know of Y&G, not likely. (I’m pretty sure that) It’s not like she went on a school field trip specifically to listen to him, and then made fun of him. Most likely she was there to do actual Y&G work (writing mock laws, debating said laws, etc) or at least to listen to several people…and suffering through his condescension was the price of admission that day. Being snarky in response to that scenario may be immature, but it’s a pretty common thing to do among adults of all ages, not just 18 year old ones.

  8. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin December 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    Why even justify something this insignificant by feigning outrage? Clearly this falls into the kids-are-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket school of parental fear. You know, kids have always been going to hell in a handbasket! That’s just what they do. :)

    Had there been Twitter in say, 1995, I wish someone would have been as attentive to my insults.

  9. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

    Also, what the fuck is wrong with being snarky and “immature”? I am a well rounded woman who is perfectly comfortable making fart jokes whilst writing VERY SERIOUS law review articles. Quelle horreur! A woman who is both silly, crass, snarky, AND passionate about something substantive. We must stomp out this affront immediately!

  10. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon December 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    I just can’t even imagine caring about this. I wonder what it is like to be Ruth Marcus.

  11. groggette
    groggette December 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Oh I’m totally immature myself at times (most times). It was more like my reaction to her tweet was rolling my eyes, not LET’S BULLY THIS GIRL FOR HAVING A CONTRARY OPINION AND NOT BOWING DOWN BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY ADULTS!!
    “Immature” was just my short hand for that :p

  12. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    Ha! I was riffing more off the vibe of the article than your comment. :P I see this horrid woman as just one in a long line of people who tell other people to conform to their vision of adulthood. NEVER! Then again I once told a SCOTUS Justice that his reasoning in a particular case was “cracked.” GASP!!! To his face. GASP, GASP!! So I clearly have no respect for authority or proper English.

  13. EG
    EG December 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    “Smartalecky”? Seriously? Smartalecky? And she thinks that’s a bad thing?

    Jeez. My parents appreciated my smartaleckiness–though they called it being a smartass. Sometimes, if I got out a really good line that made them laugh, it got me out of trouble on the grounds that wit and standing up to authority were two qualities they wanted to encourage.

    If I had been this woman’s mother, my only problem would have been that it was a joke, and she didn’t actually confront him about cutting all state money for the arts. “Where are your priorities?” I would say. “Are these the values I raised you with? Don’t you know how important it is to take every opportunity to castigate people like him for the harm they do? Especially in front of others where you have a chance to embarrass him?”

  14. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    Hey Mr. Sam Brownback. I doubt you’re reading this, but I really hope you are. I have something to tell you:

    The fuckhead Sam Brownback likes to fart on the face of emaciated African children who are dying with AIDS as he masturbates to thoughts of his mother anally fisting Pope Benedict XVI.

    That is all.

  15. Nia
    Nia December 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Agree with everything that’s been said re: good for Emma. #Awesome.

    Also, really tired of people who don’t know how the internet works trying to make rules for the rest of us that don’t make sense, and talking down to us when we do things like tweet as though we just took a massive dump on a Congressional floor. red

    Also tired of older people talking down to young people, particularly young women, in general.

    / rant

  16. zuzu
    zuzu December 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Kristen J.: Then again I once told a SCOTUS Justice that his reasoning in a particular case was “cracked.” GASP!!! To his face. GASP, GASP!!

    Oh, I hope it was Scalia.

    jennygadget: This is a side issue, but I continue to be amused that this happened at a Youth & Government event – and perplexed at the emphasis, by both Brownback and the media, on her school.

    Because after the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, schools have WIDE latitude to police student’s speech even off campus. Plus, since she’s a high school student, it’s easy for Brownback’s people to pressure her school into doing something. And indeed, her principal rolled over and did Brownback’s bidding.

  17. liz
    liz December 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    Here’s my view of it: if the Governor’s office and the school hadn’t made such a big deal over it, if I had been her mom, I would have asked her to write a letter of apology. BUT once the Governor’s office and the school DEMANDED that she do so, I’m right there with her and her mom, saying NO WAY does she send an apology.

    Because her First Amendment right to criticize the Governor trump the fact that she was being rude.

  18. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux December 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |

    Only at Fred Hiatt’s crayon scribble page could an inspiring story of an ordinary citizen standing up to local and state authorities trying to bully her by turned into a lecture about how she breached the norms by the David Broder Finishing School class of 1937.

    As a commenter at our site put it, I can believe someone with a monthly column on the local pennysaver bragging about taking her adult daughter’s cellphone for tweeting a mild insult about an authority figure. But an allegedly major national newspaper? Are you shitting me?

  19. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    “be” turned. Edit functions make Scott an even worse proofreader.

  20. Shoshie
    Shoshie December 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Pfff. When I was 18, my governor was Rod Blagojevich. My parents would have been deeply disappointed in me if I hadn’t made snarky remarks about him.

  21. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm |

    zuzu: Because after the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, schools have WIDE latitude to police student’s speech even off campus. Plus, since she’s a high school student, it’s easy for Brownback’s people to pressure her school into doing something. And indeed, her principal rolled over and did Brownback’s bidding.

    Also–when students are harassed by other students on Facebook, or via text or Twitter, or even in meatspace by the bullies off of school property, the admin often says their hands are tied. Not on school property, so what can you do? Odd how that only seems to apply in certain cases.

  22. jennygadget
    jennygadget December 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    zuzu,

    Yeah, I do get that Brownback went to the school because he thought that would get him better results. I think it’s more just that…I knew people in Y&G, and this disappearing of what this likely means about Sullivan’s overall political savvy, education, and passion – and what it likely meant to her for her to be censored at a Y&G event, rather than true school event…that’s the part that seems weird to me. Not unexpected exactly, just frustrating.

    Like, she was there to express political opinions. To do the kind of work Brownback does (or claims to) – even if only in mock form. Brownback’s actions don’t just trample all over the first amendment, they also trample over the whole reason why he was supposedly there to talk to a group of teenagers. The First Amendment issues are more important, but still.

    Granted, part of the media silence is because that she isn’t talking about it herself, but I also strongly suspect that her silence – and Y&G’s silence – on that aspect of the story is self-preservation in terms of Y&G being able to continue to do what it does.

    Or, Kansas Y&G could really be that different from every other Y&G I’ve heard about. That is possible.

  23. Andie
    Andie December 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    … The guys’ name is BROWNBACK.

    Given the built-for-mockery-ness of his surname (unless I’m the only weirdo that makes the fecal connection here) I’m pretty sure his close friends have probably made worse fun of him.

  24. William
    William December 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    I’m 30 years old. I hold two advanced degrees. I work in a school with teenagers who have serious emotional disorders. I’m respected in my field. The last time I had to sit through a government functionary running at the mouth I live tweeted the whole thing with all the smartaleckpottymouthetry (fuck you its a word because I say so) that 20 years of problems with authority and ten years of post-high school education can muster.

    And I wasn’t the only one in the room doing it.

    Welcome to the future, Ruth, looks like you’re gonna need a lot of pearls…

  25. zuzu
    zuzu December 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Also–when students are harassed by other students on Facebook, or via text or Twitter, or even in meatspace by the bullies off of school property, the admin often says their hands are tied. Not on school property, so what can you do? Odd how that only seems to apply in certain cases.

    Like sexting. They always care about the sexting. Especially if they get to see dirty pictures of young girls.

    jennygadget: I think it’s more just that…I knew people in Y&G, and this disappearing of what this likely means about Sullivan’s overall political savvy, education, and passion – and what it likely meant to her for her to be censored at a Y&G event, rather than true school event…that’s the part that seems weird to me. Not unexpected exactly, just frustrating.

    Well, sure. But since it was Brownback and the school which ganged up on her, and because the easy way to report the story is from that angle, you get a highly simplified version of the story.

  26. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse December 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    I especially love the pearl-clutching about the irresponsible use of smartphone ZOMG!!1! Lady, it’s a phone, not a child. I know that “smart” part of the word might lead you to believe it’s sentient or something, but it’s just a piece of plastic with a chip in it.

  27. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Kristen, if we were not both married I just might propose. I thought only Arthur Miller told them off to their faces.

  28. Kathleen
    Kathleen December 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm |

    “Twitter *is* the fray”

    such a great line!

  29. KAJ
    KAJ December 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    Kristen J.: Ha! I was riffing more off the vibe of the article than your comment. :P I see this horrid woman as just one in a long line of people who tell other people to conform to their vision of adulthood. NEVER! Then again I once told a SCOTUS Justice that his reasoning in a particular case was “cracked.” GASP!!! To his face. GASP, GASP!! So I clearly have no respect for authority or proper English.

    I LOVE you. Scalia? Tell me it was Scalia.

  30. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    Ah…sorry to disappoint. It was Kennedy. I haven’t had the…ahem…pleasure…of meeting Scalia, but if I ever do, I will be certain to make a crass and derogatory comment about his reasoning as well…Probably about his opinion in Dukes.

  31. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann December 2, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    If it were an eight year old saying “sucks.” Okay. But a teenager? Oh, honey. That’s mild.

    Also: Ruth Marcus? Fuck you.

  32. Unree
    Unree December 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    Another reprimand to a woman for showing not enough deference and respect to a man, her natural superior. I’m much older than Emma Sullivan and I get it all the time, mostly at work but sometimes in social spaces. I don’t expect it ever to stop. Ruth Marcus probably gets it too.

    Guara-dam-tee you that if an 18-year-old man had tweeted the same comment about a female governor, say Brownback’s predecessor Kathleen Sebelius, he’d have been either ignored or high-fived.

  33. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser December 3, 2011 at 2:17 am |

    Emma Sullivan is my current Hero of the Now­™. I wish I had had her guts at her age. I might well have sent such a Tweet if such a thing were around in the dim, dead days of 1996, but I am positive I would have caved on the apology.

    I swear, the editorial offices of the WaPo must be equipped with a fainting couch the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

  34. Deepika
    Deepika December 3, 2011 at 4:28 am |

    “Here’s my view of it: if the Governor’s office and the school hadn’t made such a big deal over it, if I had been her mom, I would have asked her to write a letter of apology.”

    but why? she was expressing her opinion – albeit in a rather brief, long-story-short kind of way – but it’s her opinion and she didn’t say it in a rude way to brownback’s face. she tweeted it to her friends.

    i think brownback should be made to apologize to emma, and to the entire state of kansas, for being such a blowhard idiot and for blowing things WAY out of proportion.

    further, he could have used this opportunity to call out emma in a very different way i.e. “emma, you seem unhappy with the way i’m running things over here. tell me WHY i suck and blow so much, (simultaneously at that!). i’d love to hear your opinion on how my actions as governor have frustrated you so i can improve how i do my job.”

    what a tool.

  35. Kyra
    Kyra December 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    I hate the tradition some people have of forcing people to make apologies they don’t mean. It’s coercive, and it cheapens the apology.

    And, ugh. That Ruth Marcus would make a horrible mother and a horrible disciplinarian. You don’t get respect OR a change in behavior by triggering all the resentment you possibly can. She’d likely wake up on her daughter’s eighteenth birthday (or graduation, or other date depending on the daughter’s financial independence) to her daughter’s belongings all gone from the house and the internet humming with a blistering redaction of her daughter’s forced apology letter, full of vitriol toward the governor AND the people who made her write the apology to make “sucked” seem like fluffy puppies.

  36. Diana
    Diana December 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm |

    There was nothing wrong with her comment. She was simply stating her opinion about him. I think our society has become over judge mental about anything and everything some one says. I sometimes feel uncomfortable saying the smallest comment because I am afraid people are going to ridicule me for saying it.

  37. 10G
    10G December 4, 2011 at 1:03 am |

    If you’re going to be a politician, you’d better DAMN well have a thick skin, because folk of more “social importance” than an 10-year old will on occasion call you MUCH WORSE things than this girl did. Oh, and Ruth Marcus? So help me, if you were MY mother, as soon as I could, I do my damnedest to convince the county you were batshit crazy and have you hauled into the most obnoxious nursing home I could find. Thinking your kids are going to run as far and as fast from you as soon as they can, and never look back.

  38. 10G
    10G December 4, 2011 at 1:05 am |

    Krikey–that’s supposed to read *18-year old” and I “WOULD” do my best, blahblahblah. Damn tiny font….or aging just sucks….;)

  39. Bonn
    Bonn December 4, 2011 at 6:10 am |

    I once had to sit in on a teleconference thingy with Brownback, but this was like, 15 or so years ago. We didn’t have smartphones, and I was too young to realize what a doucheyschwaz the guy was. I think I was in 7th grade or thereabouts.

    But if it all happened again, now, I would totally say something bad about him. Not just about what a doucheyschwaz he is, but how he needs to apologize to the country and Kansas for existing. (I swear he only got voted governor on name recognition. Kansas tends to swing liberal on governors.) As a former born and bred Kansan (I escaped), I loathe that man with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.

    #brownbacksfacemakesmewanttopunchababy

  40. ripley
    ripley December 5, 2011 at 12:13 am |

    groggette: Yeah,hertweetwasabitimmature.TheresponsehoweverwasridiculousandI’mgladherparentsarestandingbehindheronthis.

    (andwithhindsightitappearshertweetwasactuallyspoton)

    I dunno, how old was she again? 16, right? how mature are 16-year-olds normally? I think she was pretty much averagely mature then, and in sticking up for herself afterwards well beyond mature and into “kicking ass.”

  41. Anne M.
    Anne M. December 5, 2011 at 9:22 am |

    You all should read Garret Epp’s apology to Emma’s principal in Atlantic Montly

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