Thursday, September 13, 2007

Depends On Who You Are

What an interesting query I had today. My alma mater: Park University in Parkville, MO has retained Harris Publishing (p.o. box 41065, Norfolk, VA 23541-1065; Julie Carr, Harris Connect Directory Office for Park University) to put together the newest alumni directory. I got a card in the mail asking me to call an 800 number to verify my personal information and, of course, get hit on for an order of a copy.

The interview went well: we verified the name, class year, address, phone number, work name and address and phone number, position, etc.

Then, we got to the personal stuff:
What is your Spouse's name?: I said: Douglas Ninow.
Any children?: I said: Well, that would be kind of a miracle, wouldn't it? (laughter from me)
"Well, unfortunately, there are children in such homes . . .", she said.

Then she hit me up for an order and, at 100+ clams for the directory, I declined. I didn't call her on her indiscretion but merely said that I thought it was too much money for the item.

I gotta say: I'm really offended by this and I'm going to write to the company AND to my college to let them know that this offensive religious snobbery is unacceptable.

It's pretty amazing to me that my personal life, to this woman, is the sole identifying aspect of my persona. What a sad comment; what a sad comment on what an institution of higher learning has deemed proper in an interview for a school publication. I'm sure that Park University had no idea that such a comment would happen, but there you are.

The hysterical irony of the situation is that I was one of the last theology majors at that school . . . the very major that the school was founded upon. The department is now defunct. Somehow, in light of this recent affair, it seems fitting. The charity of what Christianity espouses doesn't fit with current social theology - better to be well rid of it then to have to answer hard questions of courtesy and decency.

Doug and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary this October 15th.


Stasia said...

HUGS. What a stupid cow.

Der Geezer von Tampadorf said...

I received a very nice letter from the university saying that they were very upset about this and would be contacting the company. As I wrote, I didn't think the school had any idea about this sort of activity on the part of Harris.

Park is and always has been a very welcoming and diverse school and this is surely an isolated incident.

~Der Geez

Denise in Kent, WA said...

What an idiotic comment! I'm glad you followed up on it. This way maybe the woman will get the sensitivity training she so obviously needs...

Anonymous said...

You probably caught her off guard with your offbeat sense of humor--and she answered as her (ignorant) self rather than as a University Representative.

A friendship (not a close one, but amicable) ended over this subject a few years ago. There was a bill to replace the word "man" in many laws with "natural person"--a little stilted, but at least it meant that women were included, too. This person (and the religious right) got all hyper and decided that it meant there wouldn't be separate public bathrooms for men and women and nonesense like that. She was carrying on, I said I didn't think it was a big deal, and she said "but it would mean things like homosexual couples being allowed to adopt children."

The room temperature dropped 10 degrees, I looked her in the eye, and one coldly and carefully enunciated word at a time said
"and there is not a
problem with that is there?"

I think she realized that if she continued she would be tossed from the house--but things were never quite the same after that.


Lars said...

Unfortunately there are a lot of children in heterosexual homes where they are truly unwanted.

Anonymous said...

And this just in from my Alma Mater: The Rest of the Story:


I spoke to my contact at Harris Connect and the situation was resolved on
Friday in a manner that I believe will be satisfactory to you.

I am jumping ahead a little by contacting you myself because Harris
management intends to contact you directly to apologize and inform you of
their actions. After reviewing the recording of the conversation, your
caller was terminated.

Again, please accept my apology. In the spirit of fairness, I hope you will
report the outcome of this situation on your blog.

Julie McCollum
Director of Alumni Relations
Park University

~Der Geez

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