Class vs. crass

Petulant teen's tweet against governor exposes her immaturity

  • Follow Editorials

Would you give a toddler matches and gasoline? The keys to the car? A loaded handgun?

Then what are our young doing with smartphones and Twitter? Why are we giving teens and pre-teens the ability to communicate with the world when they obviously have no inkling how the world works?

The results are becoming predictably obvious: Crassness on parade.

Take Emma Sullivan, an 18-year-old high school senior in the Kansas City area. She was attending a “Kansas Youth in Government” field trip recently to hear Gov. Sam Brownback at the state Capitol when her mind wandered and she “tweeted” a sarcastic comment ridiculing the governor in street language. It was ultimately seen and not appreciated by the governor’s staff, who expressed their displeasure. Sullivan’s principal recommended a letter of apology.

But others have cheered her on and made her, instead, defiant – as if she were somehow in any miniscule way in the right. She’s been egged on by a blogosphere that thinks it’s more important to support the act of expressing one’s every thought in public than to have an iota of dignity or class. Now she’s some sort of cyberspace heroine for the classless.

What a red-faced shame, but what an instructive peek into the world we’re creating, where young Americans have the ability to communicate their thoughts with the rest of the planet before they ever have a clue – about what they’re saying, about how to say it, about the people they’re saying it about.

We happen to know Gov. Brownback. He’s a good and decent man. He had a distinguished educational career, the likes of which most 18-year-olds can only dream about. He has served his state ably and honorably as secretary of agriculture, a White House fellow, U.S. House member, U.S. senator and now governor. He ran a more-than-respectable dark-horse campaign for president in 2008. And even after they had children of their own, the Brownbacks went out of their way to adopt two children internationally.

The Emma Sullivans of the world can’t carry water for people like Sam Brownback. But because they’re armed with a smartphone and social media, they think they’re worthy to tee-hee about them on Twitter.

This is what happens when you give youths the equipment to navigate the adult world, but not the tools. When you hand a mass-communication device to kids, without having taught them the least bit of courtesy and pedigree, you’re laying the seeds of a most crass society.

That is the lesson lost in all this.

The governor’s office was foolish to make an issue of this, and should’ve let it die. When she tweeted about the governor, the girl had 60 followers on Twitter; now she has 15,000. But Brownback himself inadvertently gave Emma and her family and supporters a lesson in class – when it was he who apologized for the brouhaha.

The crass just seem unable to see class when it’s right in front of them.

Comments (60) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 12/03/11 - 05:09 am
0
0
She probably learned lack of

She probably learned lack of respect from the likes of Broun and DeMint who skip Presidential speeches and use Twitter to make nasty comments. Did I miss the editorial condemning them? Unlike a high school kid, you would think they would be mature enough to act in a civil manner, but no, they're Republicans, civility is beyond their comprehension.

Brad Owens
4456
Points
Brad Owens 12/03/11 - 06:19 am
0
0
This is another doozy from

This is another doozy from ACES. Imagine an editorial page in a news paper advocating a REDUCTION of freedom of speech. WOW, just wow.

Who cares what someone has to say about a politician? What makes her opinion any less valuable than anyone else's because she is '18' or not a fan of the Gov?

She wasn't writing a guest column for the Wall Street Journal, she was Tweeting.

This gets a big "SO WHAT?" from me, and by the way, her crass speech is a matter of opinion and even bad speech is protected under the 1st Amendment.

Newspaper's opinion department advocating censorship. WOW. Just wow.

Brad Owens
4456
Points
Brad Owens 12/03/11 - 06:34 am
0
0
Oh by the way, Brownback gave

Oh by the way, Brownback gave young Emma Sullivan a full apology for his over-reaction to her tweet not because he is a "class act" but because of the outrage citizens expressed over their crude attempt to punish a young lady for using her 1st amendment rights in expressing her opinions about his speech.

I love your spin on that too. Propaganda all the way...yawn.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
I love the way some throw out

I love the way some throw out the term "First Amendment rights" as if the rest of us have not a clue as to its meaning. There is a distinct difference between our right to say something and the proper thing to say. Political discourse in our great land is in the gutter and we defend it by our"First Amendment rights". I often think of Bess Truman when gutter language surfaces. You know , I am sure what I am referencing . She tried to get Harry to call horse ---- manure.

paulwheeler
124
Points
paulwheeler 12/03/11 - 09:03 am
0
0
Why are young people of today

Why are young people of today the way they are? We just need to look at a mirror to find the responsible party.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 12/03/11 - 09:22 am
0
0
scoobydo, I think you
Unpublished

scoobydo, I think you established yourself as someone who doesn't have a clue as to what First Amendment rights entail.

seenitB4
87442
Points
seenitB4 12/03/11 - 09:28 am
0
0
Years ago parents had control

Years ago parents had control over the phone in the house & who could talk & when.....now with smart phones-cells-twitter..etc. that control has slipped........remember the time when we had 1tv & no remote & our dad would control the dial 100% of the time...& teens having a car was almost unheard of..
The good ole days...heheh...maybe not to some but at least the PARENTS were in control then.

effete elitist liberal
3116
Points
effete elitist liberal 12/03/11 - 09:27 am
0
0
Brad Owens has it just right.

Brad Owens has it just right. Brownback did in fact apologize to Sullivan.
ACES sees a "lesson" in all the apology, but fails to make clear what the "lesson" is. I suggest the lesson is that politicians such as Brownback "apologize" only for damage control, from purely political motives. Brownback may be a "good and decent" man, but he is also an Evangelical who regularly confuses public policy and religion, and has infamously been been a regular resident of the C Street house The Fellowship. That cozy little bunch of right wing Christian men spend lots of time holding hands and praying, pretending their first allegiance is to Jesus, and not the U.S. Constitution. Come to think about it, Emma was right too!

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 09:41 am
0
0
EEL, So you think that Emma

EEL, So you think that Emma was right to use foul language to express her feelings about the Governor . Am I reading you correctly? Is that the way that you feel that people should conduct themselves ? Also, are you condemning people who are Christians? I am just trying to get a handle on where you are
coming from.

allhans
23688
Points
allhans 12/03/11 - 09:57 am
0
0
If anyone wonders why our

If anyone wonders why our young have no class at all, then follow those who defend this sort of trashy language (by anyone, not only an 18 year old) and you will find that they get it from the adults in their circle.

The question is. Would you be proud of this girl if she was your daughter?
The tweet"Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person (hash)heblowsalot...

Bizkit
31556
Points
Bizkit 12/03/11 - 10:08 am
0
0
I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with her tweets, but I do with her having the technology on a learning field trip. I have had students leave an exam to answer a phone call (after expressly telling them no phones during the exam) during a timed exam. I have had students use their cell phones to cheat on exams. I have noted every student (no matter their socioeconomic status having nice phones (blackberry, etc) and a dependence on that phone. One friend's son was a straight A student till the phone came and now his grades are in the dump. The Google effect is destroying our education system. Students don't learn because they can Google it. Studies have demonstrated that students know where and how to find info but they don't actually put it to memory. Technology should be a useful tool-not a dependence. I've noted a research meeting after every break everyone leaves the hall and starts cell phoning. It is just crazy. I remember when no cell phones, no 24 hour stores, nothing open on Sunday, and hey the world kept turning. The girl shouldn't have been tweeting-it is not about her first amendment rights. If you go that path then might as well just leave students to educate themselves and have no teachers-after all we can't have a teacher impeding first amendent rights in the class room. So now students can have a free for all in the class room or elsewhere because it is unconstitutional to impede this free thought?? How inane!

Bizkit
31556
Points
Bizkit 12/03/11 - 10:11 am
0
0
"Brownback may be a "good and

"Brownback may be a "good and decent" man, but he is also an Evangelical who regularly confuses public policy and religion, and has infamously been been a regular resident of the C Street house The Fellowship. That cozy little bunch of right wing Christian men spend lots of time holding hands and praying, pretending their first allegiance is to Jesus, and not the U.S. Constitution," So EEL are you saying Brownback can't follow his first amendment rights and freedom of religion just because he holds a political office? Funny .

justthefacts
22043
Points
justthefacts 12/03/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
Brownback's reaction to the

Brownback's reaction to the dust-up with this little twit show him to be the bigger person. No surprise.

blues550
376
Points
blues550 12/03/11 - 10:14 am
0
0
STOP THE PRESSES! actually
Unpublished

STOP THE PRESSES! actually agree with Brad Owens. Must've come up with a last second Hail Mary to fill theeditorial because this issue is not worth the ink.

Bizkit
31556
Points
Bizkit 12/03/11 - 10:23 am
0
0
Seems America is going in the

Seems America is going in the wrong direction when it comes to discrimination. A study of private colleges in America showed we discriminate: the order of acceptance into college by standards is lowest for african-americans then hispanics in schools , then higher for caucasians, and finally highest for asians. Asians are a minority and suffer health disparities as blacks, yet they are being discriminated against with higher standards than the rest. We now are forcing people to accept homosexuality by social engineering and forcing Christianity out by political correctness. We discriminate against the wealthy just because they are wealthy, which is against the essence of equality under the law. The list goes on. What I have always liked about American is you can have the freedom to love or hate whoever you want (not that I agree with any particular). I love we have the Communist Party USA, Nazi Skinheads, Black Panthers, etc. because it indicates America's freedom is healthy (not that I agree with any of those ideologies). People should have the right to be muslim, buddhist, christian, agnostic, or atheist, but now we live in a world that can hinder all for political correctness. Sad state.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with her tweets,
Good post Bizkit except for this statement. I do have a problem with a teenager using this kind of language.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 12/03/11 - 10:30 am
0
0
Manufactured outrage.

Manufactured outrage.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7915
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 12/03/11 - 10:35 am
0
0
By all means, encourage the

By all means, encourage the young people to put it all out there on the internet.. Employers do internet searches on prospective employees. Yes, put all those thoughts and remarks out there!! It makes it easier for me to weed out the people I don't want to hire. Facebook and Twitter can allow me to weed out hundreds of applicants very quickly..

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 12/03/11 - 10:42 am
0
0
Bizkit
31556
Points
Bizkit 12/03/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
A universal cultural

A universal cultural exploration of gibberish.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNAUR7NQCLA

Brad Owens
4456
Points
Brad Owens 12/03/11 - 11:02 am
0
0
scoobydoo, This is 100% a 1st

scoobydoo,

This is 100% a 1st Amendment issue. iT was someone EXPRESSING their opinion about a political figure, and THEN that political figure tried to use power to force this citizen (she is 18) to be punished for her speech.

Plain and simple, if I want to call someone anything in the world I please, I have the right. I love people that get offended at 'foul' words. I guess you would call General Patton classless too because he used the foulest of foul language to express himself?

YOu all see what you want to see. I see a politician trying to use his office to punish a critic for using her God given right of free expression, even if it is "foul" to you.

Brad

bjp, is 100% correct, "Manufactured outrage."

Bizkit
31556
Points
Bizkit 12/03/11 - 11:13 am
0
0
Hmmm, If a high school

Hmmm, If a high school student has the right to free speech (under the age of 18), then how bout an unborn fetus. Does it have any rights??????? Are we discriminating because of age, weeks to years???
Remeber Marlon Brando in the Wild Ones?? A group of bikers in the Black Rebles Motorcycle club. Wow was that racy in language or racy because of Black Rebels???? How bout Elvis shaking his hips?? Some of the greatest literatue in history has racy or foul language-burn the books. Eh?????
Biz love ta stir de pot. hee,hee,hee.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 11:12 am
0
0
You missed my point, Brad,

You missed my point, Brad, but what else is new?

run4yrlif
2
Points
run4yrlif 12/03/11 - 11:26 am
0
0
At 18, she's not a "youth".

At 18, she's not a "youth". If she's old enough to fight for her country, she's old enough to express opinions about it.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 11:32 am
0
0
I am amazed that so many of

I am amazed that so many of you are defending this young woman's actions. Forget first amendment rights. We concede that she is entitled to say anything she wants. This is about common decency and I say again I cannot believe that so many support her. It is no wonder that young people are going to h--- in a hand basket.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/03/11 - 11:43 am
0
0
Put a shirt on, BJ. Your

Put a shirt on, BJ. Your handsome body is making me jealous.

run4yrlif
2
Points
run4yrlif 12/03/11 - 11:51 am
0
0
THE ACES says she's too young

THE ACES says she's too young to understand the world, and therefore has no right to comment on it, and shouldn't have the means to. That's what I'm taking issue with.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 12/03/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
Even stupid people should be
Unpublished

Even stupid people should be allowed their first amendment rights. I do find it laughable that a editorial in a newspaper is complaining about something protected under the first amendment. If all stupid stuff wrote or said should be censored half the editorial pages of newspapers would be blank!

allhans
23688
Points
allhans 12/03/11 - 12:05 pm
0
0
The good thing about being an

The good thing about being an editor is being able to editorialise about anything he likes. Don't be jealous now.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Gander Mountain opens

Outdoor retailer Gander Mountain opened at 9 a.m. today at 145 Mason McKnight Jr. Parkway, across from CarMax.
Search Augusta jobs