Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Political Correctness?

A month or so ago I was reading something when someone said that All in the Family and The Jeffersons wouldn't have made it on TV today because they weren't politically correct.  Clearly, I'm missing something or the term has reached the point of meaninglessness, which is more likely.

Originally, saying something was politically correct was shorthand for saying being rigidly within the bounds of not saying something that might offend, particularly if those who might be offended were anything but white males.  Which is to say, it's a term created by white males petulantly whining that they couldn't insult people at will without being called on it.  Not that people couldn't be criticized on the basis of the substance of differences in actions or opinions.  Just that it wasn't legitimate to insult based on ethnicity or gender alone.  Wah, wah, wah.  White guys.  A lot of us sure are babies.

But All in the Family and The Jeffersons?  These two sitcoms were all about criticizing the stereotypes and prejudices of white males, especially the former.  The latter hoist the ego of George Jefferson on its own petard, skewering his own various prejudices.  Both used irrational statements by the lead character to show how that sort of bigoted thinking didn't make sense.  The shows weren't violating some sort of code of political correctness.  They were using coarse, unsupported opinions as a means to educate and amuse, actually supporting the political correctness of not letting insults fly without consequence.

A brief aside, too.  I don't know how anyone can say that these shows wouldn't make it today because they're not politically correct.  Has this person not seen the idiocy that is Two and a Half Men or The Big Bang Theory?  Talk about insults on intelligence.

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