—-Anthony J. D’Angelo
I dislike the terminology “politically correct.” In fact, I dislike the whole concept of political correctness for several reasons. First of all, correctness should not be dictated by our political climate. Correct is correct! We should do what we know to be correct because our inner self tells us it is the right thing to do. More importantly though, political correctness seems to be overshadowing our constitutional rights, and that is something of concern to me.
In 1977, the National Socialist Party of America (derived from the American Nazi Party) chose to march down the streets of Skokie, Illinois (a neighborhood heavily populated with Jewish families) waving Swastikas. Although the community tried to stop them, eventually they were given permission to march but not carry a swastika, because the march was protected under freedom of speech, but the swastika wasn’t. As much as I abhorred the very thought of these men using their constitutional rights to torture others, a part of me was relieved to see our constitution still working.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same protections are evident now. We are so worried about protecting everybody’s sensibilities that we seem to be trampling on the rights that our forefathers gave us and our ancestors fought to keep. Let me start by saying I have no understanding why some people derive pleasure from the suffering of others. If I know something I want to say or do will hurt another person, I just don’t say or do it. I should not be forbidden to say it though or forced to apologize if I am caught saying it.
Many comedians seem to find humor in ridiculing people of varied races, religions, sexual orientations, etc. I find that type of humor weak and offensive. I handle my distaste by avoiding the comedian, not by insisting he doesn’t have the right to speak. If enough people avoided a comedian because his performance was distasteful than I assume he would change his act. If a majority of people appreciate humor that demeans their neighbors, than perhaps the problem is more with society than the comedian.
Years ago comedians like Don Rickles and Joan Rivers made their fortunes by making fun of everyone around them. I didn’t particularly like their humor either, but people seemed to accept that it was meant as a joke and turned the other cheek. Now-a-days if a comedian alludes to the fact that a Jewish person likes bagels, a Mexican person likes tacos or a black person likes chicken, he is censored and his job is in danger. Although it might be somewhat insensitive, it is not something that should put his freedom of speech at risk.
I believe our sense of humor is being crushed along with our freedom of speech. Last week Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola were criticized and felt the need to apologize because of in-flight napkins they handed out. What horror did these napkins present, one might ask. Was there nudity, vulgarity or insensitive material displayed? Nope! It seems that they encouraged passengers to share their phone numbers with their “plane crush.” “Because you’re on a plane full of interesting people and hey...you never know... ,” the napkin apparently read. Someone found this offensive, and Coca-Cola apologized and worked with Delta to remove the napkins. Really? Our country is running so smoothly that a napkin is what we need to worry about?
I think we all need to take a step back, reacquaint ourselves with our sense of humor, do what our inner selves tell us is correct and vote for representatives who truly represent the best in all of us.
On a different note, Harlan Coben did it again. His stand alone thriller, Run Away kept me reading way into the night, and I envy everyone who still has it to look forward to on March 19.
As always a complete review if this book follows my blog.