Sorry! I'm an older man and I'm not getting it anymore.

In November 2021 I received an email from a Polish colleague. A woman in her thirties. She was annoyed that I had used (on an official internal site) a photo of elephants in the circus and that I used the metaphor of “Elephant Sandwich” to describe a problem like: ‘managing an IT landscape’ as something so big that you can choke in it.

People would have problems using animals in a circus and for vegetarians this could be hurtful too. She even brought in the African people who eat elephant every now and then out of necessity.

I was stunned, just for a while, but I quickly got myself under control and tried to explain that it was a figure of speech. To quote Theo Maassen (a well-known Brabant philosopher); “a hyperbole as we say in Eindhoven”.

I made her happy by deleting the pictures while we were talking on Teams. After all, I still have them on two other internal pages, on my own tenant and this website.

I never

  • Ate Elephant
  • Worked with animals in a circus

I wonder where this behavior leads. Standards undergo a wave of motion. You see this in fashion, music and culture. After the prudishness of the first decade of the 20th century, the “roaring twenties” followed. After the decline of the norms of the Second World War and the prudishness of the 1950s all standards were questioned and replaced by hippie culture and flower power. 

Rock culture got more and more bombastic and symphonic in the ’70s and Punk-rock was the answer.

I wonder what the response to “woke” will be.