Posted by Margaret on July 17th, 2012 (All posts by Margaret)
My husband is presently attempting to wind down his software business and is suddenly discovering vast chunks of free time. Recently he heard that the Blanton Museum, at UT Austin, was looking for volunteer docents. So he volunteered, took the sample tour, blew through the training materials over the weekend, and went over there today expecting to pass the test and get assigned hours.
He didn’t get as far as the test.
First there was another tour, composed (I think) entirely of volunteer docents, who were encouraged to ask intelligent questions and add to the discussion.
Well, they’re having an exhibition of Western art right now. So they’re looking at a picture of a buffalo, and somebody says, “Didn’t we exterminate the buffalo in order to deprive the Indians of food?” and the official docent says yes, yes, that’s right. And Steve pipes up and says there are a few other factors to be considered, such as the fact that the Comanche horse herds seriously overgrazed Texas and deprived the buffalo herds of food.
Come the end of the tour, a snippy Museum Lady takes Steve aside and essentially tells him not to bother taking the test, they don’t need his kind around there.
Steve came home saying, “I don’t get it. What did I do?”
See, he’s spent the last 30 years buried in map label placement and gridding algorithms, and had not been exposed to the total smothering effect of extreme Political Correctness. He knows not to say anything bad about Obama at neighborhood get-togethers, but that’s about it.
I had to explain to him: “You said something negative. About American Indians. At an art museum. On a college campus!”