Burbank, CA—President Obama made a very off color reference on the Tonight Show the other evening, so he must hate the developmentally disabled, right? Granted, when I was thirteen, I named my bowling team Jerry’s Kids, but I’m not president, OK, so lay off. Sometimes a gaffe is a gaffe is a gaffe, people. He apologized, get over it. On the other hand, our illustrious leader got a taste of his own medicine, didn’t he? As a counselor, I support the Recovery Model (not Brittany Spears), which promotes mutual respect and empowerment. However, there is no balance in this model for the army of ‘bloody do-gooders’ roaming our streets. Many liberals promote a gross overemphasis on ‘right language.’ Why did soooo much of my masters coursework involve proper language? The only time I lost points on papers was when I called someone an ‘addict’ instead of an ‘opiate-dependent person’, or a ‘client’ instead of a ‘consumer’, or a ‘coon’ instead of a ‘porch monkey.’ Oops, gaffe alert (don’t worry the ‘editor overseers’ will get that one). Understanding the material seemed secondary to my profs. All perspectives are valid and equal. Sure, he doesn’t know the difference between an opiate and a benzodiazepine, but he didn’t offend the person he’s overmedicating, so here’s your script pad, Dr. Jimmy. Now go out there and meet some drug reps.
These ‘nice police’ are part of what Wilber and McDooris keep referring to as the shadow side of green. During my graduate studies, those ivory tower academiacs (ITAs) culturally sensitized me to the point of absurdity (which really shows in my writing).
In the long run such politeness policies are incredibly important, because without anyone pursuing real subjects, like math and science, we are all going to need to be super nice, and super culturally sensitive, to our new Chinese overlords.
Here are two fairly recent examples of how, time and time again, we cut off our nose despite our face: one year ago, a coworker of mine became incensed at a doctor from the community for his language faux pas. The incensed woman was our agency’s strongest proponent of the recovery model. An integralist might have said after the meeting, “Ah hey, Doc, we call coons porch-monkeys now and this is why.” Instead, the language lady, freaked out, became quite rude, and managed to derail the meeting’s community-oriented agenda. Example two: a fight broke out at a local AA meeting, because the person who started the meeting used the NA (narcotics anonymous) wording of the serenity prayer. I can’t make this stuff up. Well I could, but in this case I didn’t. Yes, the headline in the Discord would have read: Brawl Ensues Over Serenity Prayer Variation.
People who are not racists and who are not children can: A.) take a joke and B.) actually enjoy a good yuk yuk at their own expense. But should we purposely offend? I only offend when it’s funny to do so. I am simply following my Muse into whatever dark alley she leads me (then I do things to her).
What happened to Obama on the Tonight Show is apropos. Back on the campaign trail, Obama called Imus’ gaffe “hate speech.” Obama was referring to a misfired joke from—not a president—but a curmudgeon of an old shock jock who admittedly is ‘not prejudice, but hates everybody.’ Or, more accurately ‘makes fun of everybody.’
A myriad of psychology classes have taught me one thing, those cultural crusaders who devote their lives to minor social injustices invariably have their own related issues. I’m talking to you O’Rielly. You wear your level of consciousness on your sleeve, sir. The same sleeve you drool on during every racy segment on how teenage girls shouldn’t dress like that! Could you role the clip again during the commercial break, please, and hand me some Kleenex?
Maybe now President Obama will show some perspective on our First Amendment rights. Humor is incredibly important. Free speech is incredibly important. Otherwise you are not transcending but rather descending toward, well, the best contemporary example is certain aspects of Muslim extremism…you know, when people die over cartoons. You don’t win hearts and minds by legislating morality. For the moment, our prez talks to the people of this country, man to rock star, which is a pleasant change from the My Pet Gloat guy. But, if we follow Obama’s ‘right language’ minions, soon he will never leave his teleprompter. So which is going to be, the occasional off color reference or our first amendment rights? Well? What’s it going to be you dope-fiending wet backs! Oh, sorry, I mean opiate-dependent immigrant-Americans.