Just when this inane story about a Kansas high school student tweeting “mean” things at Gov. Sam Brownback finally started to die down, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus ended up breathing new life into it today. Marcus is critical of the student, Emma Sullivan, but her column actually ended up prompting a huge backlash of support for the girl:
Emma Sullivan, you’re lucky you’re not my daughter. (Dangerous sentence, I know: My daughters might agree.)
If you were my daughter, you’d be writing that letter apologizing to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the smartalecky, potty-mouthed tweet you wrote after meeting with him on a school field trip. …
I may sound alarmingly crotchety here, but something is upside down in the modern world, which has transformed Sullivan into an unlikely Internet celebrity and heroine of the liberal blogosphere.
The left-wing blogosphere immediately erupted into cries of “oppression!” over Marcus’s mild, admittedly didactic criticism of the high school student. “Behold the mind of the American journalist,” wrote Glenn Greenwald. “[Marcus] wants everyone to learn and be guided by extreme deference to political officials and to humbly apologize when they offend those officials with harsh criticism.”
Harsh criticism? Here’s the student’s tweet about Brownback that set off the controversy: “Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person. #heblowsalot.” Not exactly George Orwell.
But that’s beside the point for left-wing writers, who are just happy to see Brownback get attacked. Esquire’s Charles Pierce thinks Marcus’s WaPo column has cemented Sullivan’s position as “a late-charging entrant for Person of the Year.”
“Anybody who can, at such a young age, prompt such an immediate outpouring of finely honed Beltway stupidity is a young lady on whom we all ought to keep an eye,” writes Pierce.
Meanwhile, The Atlantic’s Wendy Kaminer analyzes the Sullivan story and reaches the only logical conclusion that one can: “Government officials nationwide engage in cyber-stalking; we are all under surveillance now,” she writes. According to Kaminer, this “trend” of government cyber-surveillance is the product of anti-bullying laws, overly-harsh sentences for child pornography, and the pro-snitching movement.
Throughout many of the liberal columns, Sullivan emerges as a heroic young person who stood up to Brownback, gave him a piece of her mind, and refused to be bullied into an apology. But it ignores the reality: Sullivan never even confronted the governor. She admitted later that she lied about it to impress her friends on Twitter. In fact, if Brownback’s staff hadn’t been searching for mentions of his name and idiotically complained to the girl’s high school, nobody in the political world would have been the wiser. Sullivan had only 60 followers at the time – now, because of this story, she has tens of thousands.
Forget what language she used on Twitter, or her refusal to apologize. It’s hard to get worked up over either of those things. It’s much more fascinating – and sad – that the left has apparently become so hard up for heroes that writing the equivalent of “Brownback iz stupid, lol” to a few friends – and then refusing to say you’re sorry – deserves accolades for courage. What exactly was Sullivan supposed to apologize for? She didn’t do anything in the first place.