The greatest thing about the Internet is the way it connects everybody on earth — well, everybody with access to a computer, anyway. The worst thing about the Internet is that it connects everybody on earth. So everybody with the ability to use a computer can broadcast their thoughts to the world — even though those thoughts may not be, shall we say, in step with contemporary custom.
A few months back, Furman Bisher, the iconic sports columnist of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, found out the hard way that when you post something on the Internet, everyone can read it! He threw up that "real Tiger Woods story" email — you know, the one your mom, your co-worker and several other people forwarded you about what really happened that night at Windermere.
Dan Jenkins, another golf writing legend, has been Twittering his occasionally brilliant, occasionally curmudgeonly thoughts on golf's majors for about a year, and last week at the Masters got himself in a bit of hot and sour soup over this particular tweet:
(The original tweet's been deleted; thanks to Wei Under Par for the find.)
Now, Jenkins has a habit of mocking pretty much every golfer, sometimes in terms that could be considered racially offensive. (His tweets in the "voice" of Sergio Garcia sound more like Speedy Gonzalez, for instance.) But this one set off cries of protest that ranged from head-shaking at an out-of-touch old man to calls for Jenkins to be fired.
Golf Digest offered the rationalization that Jenkins was making an allusion to the restaurant chain P.F. Chang's, but if that was what was in Jenkins' mind, I'll eat a handful of those pine pollen things that altered Phil Mickelson's putt. (Besides, P.F. Chang's is Chinese food and Yang is South Korean, which doesn't exactly mitigate the insensitivity charge.)
As racial insults go, it's a relatively benign one — we can all think of worse ones without even trying hard, I'm sure — but you can still see how it would be offensive and demeaning, particularly when we're talking about the reigning Tiger-slayer. So Yang replied with the following:
(Visor tip: Waggle Room)
To which Jenkins replied, "Yeah? So why's my Moo Shu Pork take two hours to arrive?" (No, he didn't.) I'm actually not sure what Yang was getting at with his comeback — what, is China going to march on Dan Jenkins now?
Look, this was a dumb move by Jenkins, but let's let it go. Not like he's going to change at this point, is it? I mean, he could make a public apology, and he could make everyone love him again, and then for the first few days of the next major he'd be cruising happily along, making everyone think he'd turned a corner, but by the end he'd let something slip and we'd realize he was just pulling the wool over our eyes all along ...
Why, yes, I'm talking about Jenkins. Who else would I be talking about?