From Best of the Web come these two delicious illustrations of what happens when deeply insecure obtain even limited power. They become jerks, naturally.
Stop Calling Me Shirley!
Some of the ladies on Capitol Hill turn out to be awfully prickly about what you call them, as Politico’s Anne Mullins reports:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) didn’t like a Brigadier General calling her “ma’am” at an EPW hearing yesterday.
“Do me a favor,” she said, “could say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?’ It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you.”
In the accompanying video, the general meekly complies: “Yes, Senator. Yes, Senator.” Had he failed to do so, we suppose the snappish senatrix could have taken revenge by addressing him as “sir.”
Another Mullins story concerns a lower-ranking but more persistently peevish Hill denizen: Elizabeth “Liz” Becton, a staffer to Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington. A lobbyist, unnamed by Mullins, had written to Becton to request a meeting on behalf of a client:
Days later, the assistant checked back in and unfortunately began the e-mail with “Hi Liz.”
Becton curtly replied, “Who is Liz?”
When the assistant wrote back with an apology, Becton turned up the heat. “I do not go by Liz. Where did you get your information?” she asked.
The back-and-forth went on for 19 e-mails, with the assistant apologizing six times if she had “offended” Becton, while Becton lectured about name-calling.
Becton told the assistant that if someone said using “Liz” was acceptable, then “they are [sic] not your friend,” and “If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you.” Plus, it’s “rude when people don’t even ask permission and take all sorts of liberties with your name,” she said, adding: “Please do not ever call me by a nickname again.”
But the tirade didn’t end there. Becton continued her riff–responding that the assistant “got played” by someone who was trying to “tick” Becton off. Becton’s final, searing missive stated: “In the future, you should be VERY careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It’s a pastime for some. It’s also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out. Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this? Like I said, it’s a hot button for me. And please don’t call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away. . . . I do sometimes leave my desk.”
UPDATE: Not that yopu’d want to or anything, but if you were thinking of writing Liz Becton and congratulating her for her firmly-shut sphincter, here’s how:
Anyway, in the event you want to meet with Jim McDermott, you would e-mail Liz Becton at email@example.com. If you’d just like to drop her a line, you would use: Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org.