Sunday, March 27, 2011

Archie Bunker Teaches A Lesson On What It Means To Be Politically Correct

On yesterday's "All In The Family", everyone's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, asked Mike's help in his shaving of the bathroom door to make sure it fit properly. Struggle as he might, Archie could not get the shaver he was using to cut through the wood. Later in the episode, George, a lovable, developmentally challenged grocer's delivery man drops in with Gloria to help her unload her groceries. True to his form, Archie is condescending and (for once) unwittingly disrespectful. In his efforts to treat George with baby gloves, he makes George feel inferior and assumes that George is oblivious to even the most obvious of social cues and norms. Ever the liberals, Mike and Gloria scold Archie for being so narrow-minded. In so many words, Mike and Gloria deplore Archie's treatment of George, and assure him that George is not as dumb as he thinks. What strikes me is this: Archie, the antagonist reflected in this satirical mirror is nothing short of boorish towards George, yet he, no matter how mispronounced they may be, uses almost exclusively politically correct words to describe George such as "mentally challenged" and "slow". (In the context of the 70's, "slow" was pretty darn tame.) Meanwhile, Mike and Gloria, who care genuinely for George and want him to be treated as an equal, refer to him time and time again as "retarded." My point is this, in my experience, it is not words that are offensive, but the manner and context in which they are said. This is not to say that suddenly using the n-word should be okay simply because it is not said with malice, but in a world where more and more words and topics are being considered "not PC", we are losing certain freedoms of expression in an attempt to preserve feelings and make everyone equal. We have become a country walking on eggshells. "Mongoloid" was once a medical term; how long until "developmentally challenged" becomes unacceptable simply because of the manner in which people say it? The "All in the Family" episode ends on a rather charmingly righteous note as George points out to Archie that the razor of his wood shaver is in backwards and fixes the rather simple problem for him. With the ease and grace of a MENSA-child, the lovable oaf, George rectifies what Archie could not understand for the entire episode. Poetic justice at it's finest. Sometimes it seems like America's blade is in backwards. With a blunt blade, how can you expect anything to be fixed? Without the courage to make the first cut, life and the freedom of speech can become an exercise just as futile as trying to shave a door without a razor. . Song of the Day: Innuendo-Queen Jazz Song of the Day: I Cover The Waterfront-Billie Holiday

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