Fair warning: readers who are anti-feminist may want to stop reading. This post doesn’t “go there” but it could be interpreted that way. You can, however, read this without applying any pre-existing political viewpoint you may have, if you can muster it.
Recently, on the ASQ LinkedIn forum, I posted a copy of my article ASQ Quality Progress Refuses to Publish Articles Critical of ISO 9001, which found most of the LinkedIn readers agreeing with the facts presented, but a handful loudly disagreeing. The people making the counterargument, one discovered quickly, had all (but one) been previously published by ASQ, and were thus the beneficiaries of ASQ’s “elites only” publishing policy, so they had a dog in the fight: changes to the policy might see them suddenly face competition for the column inches they currently have a monopoly on.
One of the arguments made was that ASQ arbitrarily applies a filter of “professionalism” to its pieces, rejecting those articles which it deems — again, arbitrarily — are not written “professionally” enough. I routinely debunk this by pointing to the Fall 2005 edition of the ASQ Audit Division’s newsletter, Vista, which included an article entitled Stop Bitching and Complaining and Get With The Program! What’s Wrong With You Folks?!” I made the point that when an article is written by a “friendly” — in this case, CB auditor Rod Goult promoting RABQSA — they suddenly deem it “professional” to publish an article with a sexist profanity in the title. Mind you, I didn’t drop the b-word in my article, but I did link to the ASQ piece.
To which ASQ Fellow Duke Okes — the guy who argued that no one has a right to criticize ISO 9001 once its published, and that anyone who disagrees with risk-based thinking shouldn’t be working in the profession at all — didn’t hesitate to use the word outright, and chimed in to say “bitch” is a perfectly innocent word, because his 1984 dictionary told him so:
In the real world, where those of us exist who don’t have a need to reflexively apologize for ASQ, we know the term wasn’t invented in 1984, but some 900 years ago via the Old English word bicce, meaning female dog, and the usage in verb form to represent “complaining” comes exactly from the idea that women can be “difficult, annoying and interfering” and thus should be referred to as whining dogs.
Now, again, I don’t want to get into a political argument about “feminazis” and “PC police” and all that. The point is that ASQ published an article with a word that is so charged, it would be bleeped on the evening news and has no place in a professional journal, and that disqualifies ASQ from claiming some kind of screening process for “professionalism.” That’s the point.
Come In, Rape a Seat and Make Yourself Comfortable
Meanwhile, just a day later in another discussion about AS9100 PEARs (don’t ask how that devolved so quickly, it’s the internet), ASQ fan Godfrey Partridge thought it would be funny to drop a rape joke into the mix. Or, more accurately, a RAPE joke. It’s since been deleted, but Partridge came up with a clever re-naming of PEAR so it spelled R-A-P-E instead. When challenged about the fact that making rape jokes in a professional ASQ forum might not be so smart, he apparently called Duke Okes to borrow his copy of the 1984 Orwellian English De-obscenifying Dictionary and reported rape actually means “to take or steal.” He then became insulted that anyone would think otherwise. Imagine!
I’m curious if either Partridge or Okes would be so forgiving of the words “bitch” and “rape” if they were part of a rap song sung by a guy with dreadlocks during one of their daughter’s high school parties. I’m guessing in such a case, they might turn to a more traditional dictionary definition, and proceed to full-on apoplectic meltdown.*
Stop Picking At It and It’ll Go Away
But wait, there’s more. Facing this apparent trend, I then opened a new conversation in the ASQ group which asked how ASQ could tolerate this kind of behavior by an ASQ Fellow and others, as well as how that original Vista article could have passed muster. In my post, I predicted ASQ’s response by saying “a low-paid understaffer” would chime in with some template nonsense like “we do our best to ensure a positive user experience.” As if on cue, ASQ low-paid understaffer Julia McIntosh messaged me privately, with the following template nonsense: