Image hosted by
Random thoughts of a Tennessee fan on life, sports and more TV shows than any one person should be allowed to watch.
About me
Name: Michael
Location: Nashville, TN
E-mail me!

View My Complete Profile
100 Things About Me
My Facebook Profile
My Wish List
Syndicate Big Orange Michael

The Latest News on the Vols

Also For Your Reading Pleasure
The Rocky Top Brigade
Image hosted by

For Your Listening Pleasure (Podcasts)
Slice of SciFi
Two Insane Fans: The Statler and Waldorf of Doctor Who commentaries

04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011
01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011
02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012
08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013
10/01/2017 - 11/01/2017
11/01/2017 - 12/01/2017

Friday, December 23, 2005
Elderly man river...
There's been quite a furor raised over what exactly the name of the decorated evergreen should be in relation to this time of the year. Should we call it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree? If we call it a Christmas tree, do we run the risk of offending those who aren't Christians and if we call it a holiday tree, do we run the risk of really ticking off the Christian crowd?

Seems to me that all this debate over what to call the decorated evergreen really goes back to the old question of political correctness.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I think that being sensitive to your fellow human being is a good thing and certainly there are some words in the lexicon that have conotations and meanings that it's best if they're left out of polite conversation from now until the end of time (I still get upset when I'm called a Trekkie becuase dammit, I'm a Trekker, thank you! Do NOT make me spend four posts explaining the differences). But there are times when it comes to political correctness that it borders on the absurd to me and seeming to miss the whole point of the thing to start with.

A few years ago, a lot of copies of the books Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and Politically Correct Holiday Stories were sold. I admit I read both and found them fairly amusing. They were both good satires of political correctness take to the extreme.

But, for me, the best satire of taking political correctness too far comes not from recent times, but actually from the old time radio days.

I love old radio shows--esp. old radio comedies. To listen to and hear the evolution of the situational comedy that we know and love today is fascinating to me and I admit I find the shows from yesteryear entertaining and timeless in a way that few sitcoms are today. It's also interesting to hear their version of re-runs. They didn't really repeat entire shows so much as they'd do routines over and over again, but in different shows. So, you can listen to Abbott and Costello and hear them include the famous Who's On First routine in the storyline about once a season or so. (It's easy to pick out..generally they start out with something related to baseball).

Because of the lack of repeats, per se, during hiatuses of shows (generally the summer time), they would bring in other performers to have a show in that time slot. In the summer of 1957, the popular Jack Benny program went off the air and in its place, comedian Stan Freberg was given a 13-week run. Now, many of you may not have heard of Stan Freberg per least you may not recgonize his name. I was in the same boat a few years ago when I first heard his show, which was funny, witty and virtually timeless. Freberg was a satirist who produced a lot of records on the 50s and 60s that were skits. He did a couple of Dragnet parodies that were popular and he also was in Green Christmas, a skit that is included on some of the novelty Christmas CDs that float around out there.

Freberg's show featured himself and some big-name comedy talents such as Daws Bulter (Mr Howell from Gilligan's Island) and June Foray (the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel).

Freberg's show only ran one summer season, which is a shame really. It was great stuff and it holds up well.

But back to my point.

In the sixth episode, a censor from the citizen's radio board review has stopped by to OK all the material used on the program. The censor decides that he will sit back and use a buzzer whenever Freberg goes too far off track and might say something that could be taken as offensive. Stan reluctantly agrees and launches into his rendition of Old Man River "in honor of national Mississippi River Boat paddlewheel week."

Freberg barely makes it out the censor introducing himself before he's getting buzzed. The censor buzzes him for not saying thank you and being a good example to the children at home.
Sneedly (The Censor) : You forgot to say thank you, Mr. Freberg. Politeness is an essential in radio programming. Your program goes into the must be a good influence on...children.
Freberg then luanches into the song, which he makes it about two words in and the buzzer sounds. The use of the word "old" has a "contation some of the more elderly people find distateful." Stan is asked to substitute the word elderly. He does and starts again...only to have every grammar mistake used by song buzzed and he can't say the word "sweat" either.

Finally, in frustration Stan gives up, saying Sneedly has won and stops trying to sing the song. (If you want to hear the whole skit, I dropped the show into my libsyn podcast can hear it here. And don't get worried about it...the copyright expired on the show years ago so I can distribute it this way and not get sued!)

It's an amusing skit, but it does, at least, to me point out the potential pitfalls of political correctedness gone wrong. It's one thing to remove words or images that could be offensive, but what I may not find offensive, you may find horribly offensive. Also, if you go in and correct everything, do you ruin some of the power of the original thing? For example, I know some schools that ban the reading of the American classic Huckleberry Finn because of certain words used in the novel. Now, I am not saying they should or should not be used, but what I do argue is that novel is a reflection of the time it was written and should be read that way.

Does this mean you should run about saying the word or quoting passages that use the particular word? No, not really. But I think that we should be allowed to read it and also made aware of the context of how and when the book was written. Because, let's face it, it's a great book and one that I think everyone should read at least once in his or her lifetime.

And again, I find myself thinking that political correctness can go too far--as we see in the Freberg sketch. We can't correct the past but we can work on the future. Indeed, I wonder if at times the argument over what is and is not acceptable speech sometimes does more to tear us apart than bring us together.

Sort of like this whole what do we call the decorated evergreen debate. I can see both sides of the argument, but it seems as instead of being a time of year when we celebrate peace on earth and goodwill toward all people, we're too busy lining up to debate about what to call the tree. In all this rhetoric, we're losing track of what this season is really all about...

And that's the biggest shame of all.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/23/2005 01:17:00 PM | |
Comments: Post a Comment

Follow me on Twitter!

    Follow me on Twitter!
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from bigorangemichael. Make your own badge here.

    Recent Comments

    Best Middle Tennessee Blogs

    Web Sites I Visit
    Daily News Journal
    Doctor Who News
    Go Vols
    Go Titans
    The Tennessean
    The Tennessean's Titans Coverage
    Trek Today
    TV Guide On-Line
    Washington Post Redskins Coverage
    USA Today

    2007 Team Schedules
    Tennessee Vols
    Tennessee Titans
    Washington Redskins

    Favorite Authors on the Web
    Orson Scott Card
    Peter David's Blog
    Keith R.A. DeCandido's Blog
    Neil Gaiman
    Elizabeth George
    Philip Gulley
    Stephen King
    Donald Miller
    Lisa Samson's Blog
    Robert Whitlow

    Musical Links
    Carolyn Arends
    Sherrie Austin
    Lee Domann
    Dust And Ashes
    Fleming & John
    Sara Groves
    Jennifer Knapp
    Jars of Clay
    Carolyn Dawn Johnson
    Cindy Morgan
    The Monkees
    Nickel Creek
    Nothin' Fancy
    Rebecca St. JamesRay Stevens
    Steep Canyon Rangers
    Williams and Clark Expedition
    Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
    Jaci Velasquez

    Blogging Links

    Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Listed on Blogwise
    << ? Blogaholics Anonymous # >>

    My Blog Chalk

    Michael/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Tennessee/Smyrna, speaks English. Eye color is brown. I am in shape. I am also creative. My interests are Reading/Swimming laps.
    This is my blogchalk:
    United States, Tennessee, Smyrna, English, Michael, Male, 31-35, Reading, Swimming laps.

    You Are Visitor

    Free Web Counter

    Looking For Something Specific?
    Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

    Site search Web search

    Powered by Blogger