Many years ago, when I was a partner in a Madison Avenue ad agency, our client Swissair asked us to come up with an ad that asked affluent American Express holders to do their Christmas shopping in Zurich, Switzerland. I wrote “Merry Swissmas” on a sheet of paper. My Art Director Juergen Dahlen came up with a picture. It was pasted on foamcore, was run over to the Swissair offices and met with applause. Two weeks later, I had a lady from American Express on the line.
“Christmas! You can’t say that!”
“Come on, I know what you wanted to say.”
“So, what should I say?”
“You know. Happy holidays.”
“Alright. I’ll change the headline to Merry Swolidays.”
“You are kidding me.”
I picked up the phone and called Swissair. They could not believe it. Enraged, they called up Amex and called off the promotion.
This was some twenty years ago, and matters did not improve ever since. Says the American Thinker:
“Under the guise of being sensitive to “feelings,” political correctness has succeeded in effectively censoring any uncomfortable “truths” that do not comport with liberal orthodoxy.”
“Political correctness is an approved form of censorship. Based on emotional appeals at the expense of reason, political correctness mandates that inconvenient truths or facts be swept under the carpet. Or else. Free speech, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment, is on its way to becoming moot.”
In fulfilling its mandate, TTAC steps on sensitivities all day long. Truth hurts, especially feelings. By now, TTAC must have hurt the sensitivities of just about any car owner, we have been accused of being biased against domestics and imports, our choice of pictures provides never-ending fuel for flames.
Would we listen to it, we probably would be flamed for delivering a bland appliance blog. If hurt feelings would stop us from writing, then we would have closed TTAC long ago. We won’t. Attempts to censor TTAC will receive the cold shoulder. Incessant attempts will be met with a ban.
While on the subject, allow me to draw attention to TTAC’s commenting policy.
The policy expressly disallows hate speech, “racism, sexism and homophobia.”
The policy also disallows ‘what not to write’ requests. TTAC editors choose what to write and what not to write, just like TTAC readers choose what to read and what not to read.
Likewise, the policy disallows interference with administrative actions: “Backtalk after an administrative action usually means a quick end to a commenter’s career on TTAC.” And: “If you write ‘I will probably get banned for this,’ you probably will.”
The policy disallows threats.
When a thread gets closed, it is because flames already were too high, and to avoid a spreading to other parts of TTAC. Hijacking of other threads in order to continue the flaming is disrespectful to other commenters, it also interferes with an explicit administrative action.
Several of these policies were ignored yesterday. A warning was issued, the FAQ was pointed out. After the warning, one commenter violated several of these policies in the course of four lines. This commenter is no longer with us.
This commenter threatened to complain to TTAC’s parent company. While anyone is free to complain anywhere, it should be known that TTAC thoroughly enjoys full editorial freedom. Nobody of TTAC’s owners has ever told us what to write and what not to write. Which sets them apart from some commenters.