Monday, September 28, 2009

Unrelated Thoughts

Three unrelated thoughts; but…

1). Sat. am, I’m watching the Brady Bunch reruns on TV and the word “Squaw” is used by a character portraying an Indian Chief in the “naming” of Carol Brady and Alice. 2). A younger friend of mine recounts a few days ago on his Facebook page of seeing a person driving a car down the street wearing a football helmet (with facemask). 3). Monday of the past week I’m driving down a major street in town (2 lanes each way. Does that make it a four lane street?) and see a person, riding a bicycle in a traffic lane at a decent rate of speed, down hill, going in the opposite direction from me, sitting on the handlebars of the bike, facing and looking towards the direction from whence they had come. None of these are very funny, right?

Except, if I fill in some missing details on the second and third thoughts: such as the person driving the car was a woman and the person riding the bike was young, and male, then it becomes more humorous. For example, the young friend says he’s driving down the street and sees this woman (perhaps a blonde) driving a car while wearing a football helmet with facemask or… I see this Hispanic kid (or black kid, or kid wearing an Aggie shirt - that‘s Polak in Texan, BTW), riding a bicycle in traffic as described; then it begins to become funny. Because, I suppose, stereotypes are being reinforced.

Now, don’t get ahead of me yet, I’m taking a contrarian tack with this. Has political correctness become so overridingly important we are willing to give up all ability to laugh at the human condition, the absurdity of life?

Just recently I was admonished for joking in our EFM class about “women being associated with chaos even in Babylonian times“, by a guy, no less. My young friend was chastised on his page for lack of compassion and tolerance. I could be likewise, for telling of the kid riding the bike in an attempt to garner a Darwin Award. About a year ago or so I was upbraided by a cousin for using the word “squaw”. She said I didn’t know what it meant. I took the time to look up and it turns out that only since the 1970’s and with any significance since Native American activist Suzan Harjo appeared on Oprah in 1992 has the word engendered negative connotation. Up till then it only meant woman. I suppose since I don’t follow Oprah, I’m in the dark on these things.

So where does that leave us? Afraid to make any comment, even in good natured jest, for fear somewhere, someone might take exception? When we lose the ability to find humor in those things that are funny, lest someone be offended, we are at the mercy of the P.C. Police. Boys & girls, that’s not somewhere I care to be. After all, if God didn’t have a sense of humor why did he give us the Platypus?