Organizations staffed by liberals have developed toxic cultures of public feuds, because management is too weak to tell employees to behave and act like a team.
That tweet in which Sonmez explained that is was "necessary" to publicly shame Weigel was really something. I think that she really believes that women readers of the Post would be harmed if she did not speak truth to power or something and that very much reflects how silly the current moment is with regard to performative moralizing on twitter. I guess I would feel a lot less alienated from people like her, who seem to be not uncommon in the highest levels of elite media institutions, if she had responded to the one month suspension by saying that she thought it was a disproportionate response and that she simply wanted the Post to make clear that it does not approve of its reporters tweeting in ways that are inconsistent with winning the trust and respect of their readers. I really really hope that this rather ugly climate of unselfconscious self-righteousness will pass soon because it's painful to watch and it makes the world feel flat.
The retweeted joke was not funny but also not suspension-worthy. If I saw someone who worked for me do that, I'd pull them into my office for a brief, private chat about professionalism and leave it at that unless the problem continued or escalated.
For the most part I hate tired tropes about Real America, but this is one example where I think the media, academia, and the entertainment industry really are vastly out of touch with the norm. Most employees couldn't go on multi-day rage benders and expect to keep their jobs. It's just baffling that any employer puts up with this.
Wow...this is a great post. I confess I rolled my eyes when I saw the post title and you went in a completely different direction than I expected. Great stuff. I am in the same camp as you. Sonmez's public reaction was absurd and Weigel's punishment is unjust but I am also completely bewildered that Weigel retweeted that joke. People keep saying "it's just a joke!" but that's not an actual argument. Whether you think the joke is funny or not (it's the type of joke I might make out at the bar with friends) it's pretty obvious that many people would be offended by that. Why walk into an open manhole? All that being said, Sonmez is out-of-line and I think Weigel's punishment should have consisted of his editor telling him not to be a knucklehead.
Seen on Twitter but I don't remember the author (sorry):
This is how you lose the employees you want to keep and keep the employees you want to lose.
Anyhoo, it has been really legitimately *shocking* to see just how fast the casual-insubordination/say-anything culture seemed to take over the young professional class. In my limited experience, it has been almost exclusive to the under-30s. I don't think it's merely because they're at their first career-track job.
Everyone in my cohort (n.b., late 30s) knows that there are topics and themes at work that you might hint at, that you probably shouldn't say explicitly, that you definitely shouldn't write down on a company system, and writing them down for the general public is so staggeringly inappropriate that it would never ever cross my mind outside of actual whistleblowing or somebody doing a RICO.
edit: and yeah, it just sounds like a miserable place to work and try to put your head down and just do your job. Absolutely pro-worker to bring the hammer down on this inane drama.
I am thoroughly convinced that Twitter itself is more of a factor in this than it gets credit for -- and I mean that in the worst way.
The culture on Twitter (particularly in left spaces, though far from exclusively) so deeply embraces "call outs", dunking, and pile-ons.
Terrific post. I like the part at the end, which gets at how this toxicity in liberal circles overwhelms "strategic goals" and "prudent decision-making that might help win elections but do(es) not meet every checkbox of the left-wing keyboard warriors...."
Liberal-staffed groups don't need to worry so much about the excesses of cancel culture so much as the "Irish goodbye" problem. Whether it's a workplace, a cause, or an electoral ticket- normal, non-extreme liberals will just leave in order to avoid this chaos. And they won't say anything as they go, so it will be very difficult to notice, let alone halt.
I used to consider these reporter dramas beneath me but then during the pandemic I spent half my life on twitter so now these people are like the Kardashians to me. It is pathetic.
Fortunately I deleted my account (I'm an academic, what was I thinking having one!) & these anonymous Substack comments are my version of nicorette gum as I try to kick the habit of opining on the internet.
This is yet another symptom that speaks to a greater illness - professional decorum has completely fallen apart in the United States. Ghosting interviews (and jobs) is now commonplace. Some especially immature employees like to throw out legal terms like "hostile work environment" when they don't get the parking place they wanted.
For the last few years, I've called it a sense of entitlement...but I don't know that entitlement is quite it. This might be a controversial statement, but it almost seems like a recession, with accompanying unemployment, might be a necessity to re-balance the employer/employee relationship in the U.S. Things have gone a little sideways.
Or maybe I'm just old-fashioned...I dunno.
I suspect that Sonmez's discrimination lawsuit (dismissed, but on appeal) is the hidden context to this drama.
The thing I keep circling back to is that Somnez picked this fight. Nobody attacked her. Nobody mentioned her. A guy (“a good friend”!!!) just made a bad joke about fictional women.
She made every bit of this about herself.
In a World where "God is dead" (particularly to young liberals), work as sole source meaning as well as a political crusade is a double edged cudgel, amplified by always-trust-your-feelings culture (Jonathan Haidt). I thought this much needed dose of reality from a year ago was great:
"Shopify, like any other for-profit company, is not a family," Lütke wrote. "The very idea is preposterous. You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can't un-family you. It should be massively obvious that Shopify is not a family but I see people, even leaders, causally use terms like 'Shopifam' which will cause the members of our teams (especially junior ones that have never worked anywhere else) to get the wrong impression."
The lack of adults in the room driving Twitter histrionics and the extremes of left and right is not super encouraging for our political or media future
RE James Damore, didn't Google explicitly invite employees to weigh in on how to improve diversity at the organization (albeit anticipating that everyone would understand they didn't actually want earnest attempts to do so if they came from Damore's ideological perspective)?
I think this is a good example of something that has become commonplace: when people complain about someone else to a company, they expect to see a public shaming - a tar and feather. Even if a 'wrong' occurred, and punishment is doled out, these people will not accept that such things are de facto private, and even the person lodging the complaint does not have the right to know the punishment.
Thank you for explaining the "inside baseball" (or as you say, "high school") nature of this. There's so much under the surface I wouldn't have thought about. I also appreciate how you tie it to a larger issue in left-leaning politics, in which I proudly include myself, and couldn't agree more with your conclusions.
Im scared of over educated young Liberals. So smart, yet so petty so they never accomplish anything
We know that you're the real Stevie Nicks of the Very Serious Media operation.