Questionable cartoon draws scrutiny to Metro Schools official

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 12:28pm
By Joey Garrison and Pierce Greenberg
Cartoon sent by MNPS Food Services Director Jay Nelson

A Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools official is facing scrutiny after he sent a chain email to female co-workers that included what could be perceived as a sexist comic strip.

The comic, sent by MNPS Food Services Director Jay Nelson on Dec. 14, depicts two cavemen under a heading that reads “The Original Sin.” The caption says: “I’ve decided to teach her to talk, what harm could it do?”

Added commentary above the comic includes “No matter how hard you try, absolutely no one can top this” and “And I thought it was a snake that caused man’s downfall.” It’s not clear whether or not Nelson typed the message, but the email shows him forwarding it to four female co-workers in the food services department.

The email originally appeared on a blog authored by local social activist Genma Holmes.

At-large Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard, president of the council’s Minority Caucus, said the caucus is investigating the matter.

“It’s premature,” Maynard said. “I got the call. I’ve made calls. We’re trying to find out what happened. I’m trying to get copies of the emails themselves, so I can present it before the caucus.”

According to MNPS, the matter was reported to Employee Relations this morning.

The MNPS Employee Technology Acceptable Use policy strictly prohibits the dissemination of chain letters via email and the transmission of any “defamatory, abusive, obscene, pornographic, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, or otherwise biased, discriminatory or illegal materials.”

28 Comments on this post:

By: WickedTribe on 1/24/12 at 12:01

I think that sin was topped... by teaching women to blog.

By: PKVol on 1/24/12 at 12:16

While this can be considered poor taste and a lack of judgement, a reprimand is all that should happen in this instance.

By: gldnbadger on 1/24/12 at 2:02

More and more it seems we have too many people with too much time on their hands just LOOKING for something that offends THEM. This cartoon has been around a while and came from a nationally syndicated cartoonist.
Lighten up folks it may not be good humor but IT IS HUMOR

By: spooky24 on 1/25/12 at 5:14

I'm offended by you being offended that someone thought we were both offended and that in turn offended everyone else

So There!

By: govskeptic on 1/25/12 at 5:52

Offending Councilman Maynard or most of the other members
is rather easy. Why is this a Council problem? This is strictly
a matter for the School system to handle!

By: sidneyames on 1/25/12 at 6:39

Once again the hyper-sensitive, over-reactive, politically over-corrective, bomb squad has landed. Spooky24 hit the nail on the head as did govskeptic. Maynard must be running for something and needs his name out front no atter how trivial the event. Mr. Maynard, how about helping out with some garbage pickup on Murfreesboro Road from 8th avenue to Briley Parkway? It is disgusting and makes our city look "offensive"! Get some help for that area and leave the school board and it's problems to the school board. And by the way, "let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone". Dollars to Donuts that everyone reading this has passed on an "inappropriate" joke or told an inappropriate joke in their lifetime. OR better still, has "thought" an inappropriate thought. (Don't kid yourself -- you know you have).

By: LizzyD on 1/25/12 at 7:28


By: think555 on 1/25/12 at 7:36

Women themselves are the best judges re the "offensive" factor of this cartoon. Unless decision makers have had a barrage of calls from women, rest assured they're not that bothered...or that petty.

By: girliegirl on 1/25/12 at 7:47

It's not's humorous.

By: tdterry1999 on 1/25/12 at 7:59

Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard needs to be voted out.Why does Metro have a Minority Caucus?Isn't that racist in itself?

By: on 1/25/12 at 8:34

This just goes to show how dumb I am...I thought it was the other way around.

By: Nitzche on 1/25/12 at 9:09

go home Jerry

By: oatka on 1/25/12 at 9:43


Whenever I see that someone is "offended" by, say, the U.S. Flag, a Nativity scene, a harmless joke, I have to wonder what sort of symptoms result from such a "serious" attack.

Do they break out in a rash, have palpitations, tremble all over, grow a second head?

For cryin' out loud, as many have pointed out, there are REAL problems in the community and these people can only concern themselves with this? They must have undergone a humorectomy. The cartoon is just typical of the gentle spoofing each sex uses to poke fun at their opposites. It's been going on probably since Adam and Eve. One wonders what their reaction would be if the "drive" or "vote" stereotypes had been used.

Should anyone come to me and complain that they are "offended" by just about ANYTHING, my reply would be "I feel your pain. NEXT?"

By: breathofdeath on 1/25/12 at 9:44

I'm not interested in the content of the e-mail itself because not everybody views things in the same way. Maynard and his caucus can grandstand all they want but the reality is the council's only legal involvement with the school system is to appropriate funds in the form of a block grant. They can dictate all they want on any issue but Register and the board can tell him to go fly a kite (to put it nicely) with no repercussions because everybody knows that threatening to cut the school system's funding is political suicide. My concern is this: Was sending this e-mail an appropriate use of a government-owned computer as well as a constructive use of this employee's time? This issue seems to have gotten lost, especially when people have rightly been preaching efficiency in government and doing more with less while facing a possible property tax hike..

By: AlabanaWildMan on 1/25/12 at 11:24

Cowboy...or, in this case, Cowgirl UP!!

No One *Has The Right* to NOT Be Offended !!
If the readers didn't like that cartoon...that's fine...
But Do NOT Waste Everyone's TIme with a
Civil Suit just because you get your feelings bruised

By: hattrick3 on 1/25/12 at 12:21

weak sauce

By: Siobhanne on 1/25/12 at 1:36

Offended? Puh-leese...I am a woman and if this is the worst thing that happens to me at work, I have absolutely no problems whatsoever. It sounds like someone is walking around with a huge chip on her shoulder looking for something to be offended about. Yes.. someone violated the e-mail policy. This is obviously not a work related e-mail. Yes, the "offended woman" is guilty of being an office drama queen. I think one sin cancels the other out.. so drop the issue and both should get back to work.

By: wmsamart on 1/25/12 at 2:07

The only thing that should be offensive is that anyone would be offended by such a good joke, and that a public official would be taken to task for forwarding such a joke. Why has has this nonissue become an issue? People, please get a life!!!!! Get to work on important matters.

By: matahari on 1/25/12 at 2:08

much ado about nothing. if i'm offended about something that a co-worker sends me, i let them know. if they continue to do it, i might get serious. but this? please. i'm a woman and i own it. and i talk. a lot.

By: stickman56 on 1/25/12 at 4:05

Why is no-one offended by the fact that the 10 commandments are not allowed in public places? My family has been in this country for 267 years. We relocated because of religious persecution and for an opportunity to thrive. Why not concentrate on what is important,then the petty will go away. In God we trust.

By: FLeFew on 1/25/12 at 8:45

I guess humor is now taboo with the advent of political correctness.

By: jsnap on 1/26/12 at 8:29

Jerry, Surely you do not belong to that racist group known as the minority caucus, do you? What a hypocrite.

By: JohnGalt on 1/26/12 at 9:15

Proving once again that someone will be offended by everything.

A proper description of the cartoon is humourous. Offensive? Only if your panties are in a permanent wad.

By: FLeFew on 1/26/12 at 11:24

JohnGalt, you just gave the perfect description of Jerry Maynard ... "permanent wad"

By: Shadow63 on 1/27/12 at 11:47

Probably offended some Whoaman with PMS

By: Shadow63 on 1/27/12 at 11:50

How about "The best man for the job is a woman.
Are we feeling better now?

By: Loner on 1/31/12 at 6:46

The guy was foolish to send "hum" through an e-mail...humor is like music, what some like, others hate. Leave the humor to the professionals.

But seriously, the cartoon is not "hateful", IMO, chauvinistic perhaps, but nothing to fire somebody over. I'd bet the guy has learned a lesson from this...give him a break.

By: Loner on 1/31/12 at 6:47

"hum" s/h/b "humor" in my post bad...The guy was foolish to send "humor" through an e-mail.