Here comes another opinion:
I think BZ's reaction was understandable and moderate. He did not make a big thing out of it, just stated, at the end of his post, that he found what turned out to have been a tpo, to be offensive.
I see no reason to doubt Larry's heartfelt concern that he may have caused someone pain through disrespect.
I agree that posts should be read on their merit, that having a credential does not give you a free pass to the truth. However, when I read a post about medicine, I wold like to know that the writer has some knowledge of the field. WHen I read a post about astronomy, it would be helpful to me to know something about the astronomical credentials of the author. Clearly something written about Afganistan by someone who has recently been there rather than buy someone who has read newspaper articles from unknown sources would be of more interet to me so why shouldn't a layer writing about law let people know that he is a lawyer. Adding "Esq" to your name is not a strange affectation, it is a convention among lawyers to do so. THey could precede their names with the honorific "Doctor" since the degree in jurospudence allows them that. However, the field has chosen to use "Esq."
It has been several hundred years snce anyone could claim to be enough of an authority in every field to be able to be a judge of all topics on merit alone (and even then, there were only a handful of people in the world who had that breadth of knowledge). For me, I found the post from Bennet Zurofsky to be clear and to the point. I would have suspected it to have been written by a lawyer but I was glad to have the impression confirmed.
Judging from the measured response of Bennet Zurofsky to what appeared to be a gratuitous slur, I would guess that his reactionw hen he receives Larry's numerous apologies will be to accept them and let the matter drop. WOuld that we were able to do so.
A few thoughts on a similar subject: (anyone setting out to read this, I ask you to read all of it before pouncing on your keyboard to reply)
What is it that feels good about discovering that you are a victim? One of the social changes brought about by the Civil Rights movement was of course the recognition that African Americans had been on the receiving end of institutionalized racism. Good hearted people who until it was pointed out vigourously by courageous individuals, had not been aware of this rallied to help emphasize the unfairnesses that had been incorporated into our society. Other groups then looked at their own place in society and saw that they, too, had been treated unfairly. One of my closest friends over the past four decades has become incensed over the way he and other Italo-Americans have been treated in the media and in popular culture. The Godfather and the Sopranos he sees as the foisting of sterotypes upon the popular culture and he certainly is not alone in that feeling. Native Americans began to speak up more loudly about their history of broken treaties and social degradation by the dominant society. The handicapped looked at their treatment by society and spoke out, the poor did the same, on and on.
Each of these groups has real and legitimate gripes and our society is struggling towards more openess and inclusiveness. Looked at in a timeline of generations, there has been real progress towards reducing some of these inequalities. People who continue to work actively towards social justice are providing a real service, they are shining a light on the path we would do well to follow. However, those who only cry "I, too, am a victim", reduce their own chances of making a difference, However, there is something that feels good about uttering such a cry but to be a victim and do nothing except to identify with others in your group is a waste of our own energies.
In no way do I mean to imply that Bennet Zurofsky is wrapping himself up in the garb of "victim". On the contrary, I think he made a measured response.