White vignettes from different eras.
I – In An Office
Phone: Ring! Ring!
[PZ expects the IT man and answers, but it is the Blackguard.]
Blackguard: I want you to do this. I will support you and vote for it but I want you to do it. I want you to do it because you can get it done and I want it done. I support you in everything. I want this new program instituted within two years or I am [drumroll] going on the market! And after accepting the offer I will get, I will write all the newspapers and professional organizations denouncing the university for not having done this! So get it done! Do it because it will benefit you, too! I appreciate and admire you! I support you in everything!
II: Shopping For Reeducators, Back Then
Reeducator: What is B’s opinion on event A?
PZ: You know, I am not quite sure. We have not discussed it directly in at least a decade. I remember hir reaction at the time and hir comments to me a few years later. I know from more recent remarks that event A still matters to hir, and I could speculate about why. But I am not entirely sure of hir current perspective on these things, or whether what ze shared with me years ago was all ze thought then.
Reeducator (triumphant): You see! You do not know hir opinion! That means you have no empathy with hir!
PZ (frowning): Excuse me? I do not follow your reasoning here. Does having empathy imply complete familiarity with someone’s views? Perhaps we are too reserved where I come from. I would not presume to speak for B on this, especially without knowing hir as well as I do some of the other people involved in A.
Reeducator (receding): Oh, well, don’t worry about that then, forget I said it, let me ask a different question.