Stop Taking Offense to SNL Public Employee Skit

You’re offended by this skit?

Really? Really??

Get over it.

Yes, it isn’t the greatest humor. Yes, it might make fun of your specific job.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we have bigger issues to worry about like fixing our government.

So what if SNL makes fun over public employees? They make fun of everyone else. So it’s our turn. Big deal. South Park also makes fun of everyone and continuously harps on public employees (i.e. the Mayor, the town cop), yet we don’t complain. Deal with it.

If you are truly, 100% offended and disgusted by the skit, my guess is you are probably guilty of something they’re making fun of. Take a look in the mirror.

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John Kamensky

Okay, maybe I’m not offended by the skit so much as I’m grouchy about the timing (the week before National Public Service Recognition Week) and the fact that the professional organizations that promote the values of public service don’t do a good job of telling the terrific stories of the real Public Service Award recipients!

A couple weeks ago, six amazing public servants were recognized with awards in a ceremony in San Jose and the associations presenting the awards haven’t really said much about it, in relation to the size of the nationwide SNL audience.

There is some minimal stuff out about the awards: . . . .and next week the Partnership for Public Service will be announcing their finalists during Public Service Recognition Week events.

Brandon Jubar

Sterling, I absolutely agree! I’m a new public servant, so during the previous 43 years of my life I only witnessed the truly “public” face of the government… and my opinion of public servants was rather poor. I’m sure I encountered some good people along the way, but they paled in comparison to the bad experiences. Now that I’m working as a Fed, I’ve met all kinds of great people. Unfortunately, they’re not the ones who interact directly with the public on a daily basis.

Of course, I should probably note that the few public-facing public servants I’ve dealt with since I moved to the DC area back in December are not really different than the majority of ones I’ve encountered in years past. It makes me wonder what the problem is. Does the nature of the work tend to make people apathetic? Or does the nature of the work attract apathetic people? Do the “surly” workers start out that way, or do they get that way after dealing with the rude public for so long? Do union work rules mainly protect workers, or do they foster a culture of “that’s-not-my-job”?

Of course, the subject at hand is whether or not public employees should be offended by the SNL skit. Personally, it didn’t bother me in the least. Perhaps this old saying is the reason: “Throw a stone into a pack of wild dogs and the one that gets hit yelps first.”

So… if the stone hit, perhaps yelping is to be expected! ­čśë

Patrick Quinn

Notice how it always comes back to the DMV? I think there are comprehensible reasons for this have nothing to do with “bad” public employees.

Consider: For most citizens, the central role of the DMV is to issue driver’s licenses. Driver’s licenses produce one of the very few times we, as free adult American citizens, are obliged by the government to take a competency test. I know for a fact that you, Sterling, are probably the best driver in the country after me, but let’s face it: There are a lotta bad drivers out there. DMV sees every single one of them, and has to explain to them that they’re bad drivers. That isn’t going to induce a lot kumbaya moments.

Further: For good or ill, the driver’s license is the quasi-official American internal passport. It’s our primary form of ID. In all countries, obtaining one’s primary identification documents is a pain in the can (and phaps should be, no?). This is a double-whammy combination. That DMV employees are not coming across the counter every single day screaming things like, “WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO PARK A CAR?!” or, “NO, YOU CAN”T USE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL LUNCH CARD TO GET A DRIVER’S LICENSE!” is sort of a miracle.

Factor out the DMV noise, and I think the volume of the criticism drops by an order of magnitude.