The social and political tension in the country is so thick right now that you could cut it with a knife. While times like this have come and gone in our history, rarely has it gone as deep as it seems to be right now. One of the driving factors in this intense polarization is a near obsession with politically correct (PC) language and culture. The PC police never stop.
The PC Police of America
For those of you who have been away vacationing on Mars, the PC plague has infiltrated everything from our local schools and media to the obvious bastion of crazy—politics. It’s an absurd attempt to sterilize speech and pretty much everything else in America to fit the wacky beliefs of a gaggle of squeaky wheels and the media that support them. The phrase “cancel culture” gets thrown around a lot too.
Make no bones about it, the obsession with being PC is as much about conditioning as it is anything else. In short, we have hit a fevered pace of crazy as demonstrated by the recent passage of a law in California that could ultimately bring jail time for someone who “misgenders” another person.
While we grind our teeth and shake our heads as pseudo-intellectuals tell us how bad we are, we have seen an even greater negative effect of the PC poison. A trip to the movie theater today will more than likely end up with a mid-film lecture from a painfully clumsy script. Gone are the days of simple humor and fearless jabs at friends. Some of the most enjoyable films and television shows of all time would never see the light of day in today’s crazy environment. While the list is long, I am sure that there are a few that come to mind quite quickly. Here are a few that I believe would have never left the drawing board.
Greatest Hits — ‘Blazing Saddles’
In 1974, comedic genius Mel Brooks brought us “Blazing Saddles,” a movie about a corrupt politician who appoints a black sheriff to oversee a western town in order to ruin it. But the sheriff promptly becomes his most formidable adversary. The teaming of Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder was brilliant.
The movie abandons any pretense of polite culture and is simply in-your-face funny. It was, and is still, a major hit primarily because people realized that there was no deep lurking social commentary or message. It was just funny, and we loved it. We were able to take it for what it was and not scour it looking for reasons to be offended.
Pew Pew & Politics
Our “Never Would Be Made” list is by no means limited to comedies. Just think of the “Dirty Harry” movies. A cop that has a propensity for violence and a disregard for criminals flies in the face of what some want modern police to be. Their desire is an unarmed group of social workers as opposed to a coffee-drinking, thug-killing badass we know and love as Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan. One of the most ironic things is that “Dirty Harry” is based in San Francisco, which is a breeding ground for mindless PC gibberish.
Finding movies from the 1970s is easy. But it’s equally easy to find more recent films that wouldn’t make it to the big screen in today’s world. In 2005, Steven Spielberg released “Munich”; it covers the aftermath of the Black September assassinations of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In short, the Israeli government sent a team of five assassins to target and kill members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) involved in the Munich attack. It paints the PLO as the terrorists that they are and the Israelis as seeking justice. That statement right there already has some people squirming in their seats; today’s culture would want to put everything “in the correct context,” or something. I doubt even Steven Spielberg could get that movie out in today’s environment.
Archie Bunker & Co.
Beyond the big screen, there are dozens of television shows that would cause mass PC panic if presented today. Let’s start with “All in the Family,” which is one of the best examples. Nothing was taboo on this cutting-edge show; the producers almost dared you to be offended.
Those who made the television show lived by the premise that social issues are best dealt with in the open, through conversation. The squelching of free speech won’t change minds, but instead foster a deeper resentment because nobody can talk about it.
Outside of television considered as “edgy,” we have other less complicated shows we would have missed, like “I Dream of Jeannie.” Just the description alone would trigger the PC brigade. It’s an American fantasy sitcom starring Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old genie and Larry Hagman as an astronaut who becomes her master, with whom she falls in love and eventually marries. Cue the hashtag generator as this show would be a gold mine of things people could manufacture offense over.
Want a better one? Let’s use the “Dukes of Hazzard” as an example. It featured two white guys driving around the South in a car called the General Lee. Also, the car had a Confederate flag on the roof! I don’t think I need to even address the frothing at the mouth that this show would generate.
That said, John Schneider, who starred as Bo Duke in the series from 1979 to 1985, shot an independent film in late 2019 called “Christmas Cars”; it pays tribute to the Dukes and the old General Lee. My guess is that no major movie houses wanted to go near this film for fear of the PC backlash.
In an interview, Schneider said, “If the flag on that car when we did that show represented inequality or racism in any regard, Uncle Jesse would have made us scratch it off with our teeth.”
Nothing Off Limits From the PC Police
It seems that every day launches a new outrage over entertainment. In December 2010, there was also a pathetic attempt to even attack Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Apparently, Santa Clause is a bigot and Rudolph gets bullied; so it’s best to just go ahead and pull the plug on that short film. It’s been a part of Christmas for 55 years with no harm to society whatsoever, yet today it’s an issue.
Things are out of hand, and it’s beginning to stifle our freedom of speech. It even stifles the voices of entertainment. Jerry Seinfeld recently said that he won’t perform at colleges because of the PC issues.
“I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC,’” Seinfeld said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He went on to say that college students don’t understand racism and sexism. “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist,’ ‘That’s sexist,’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about.”
Final Thoughts on the PC Police
It feels like a shadow is creeping over society while the Thought Police track us. People have to sneak off to their basements to watch “Blazing Saddles” with other members of the anti-PC resistance. OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But in some ways, it’s already happening.
If I were to give you advice, it would be to take off the PC police caps for a moment. Go watch a truly classic movie like “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Dirty Harry” or any other less-than-PC production. If anything, just do it to appreciate a different time in America; a time when people could not be silenced and manipulated to speak and think in a certain way. These are truly movies and television shows of a bygone era.
The above story is from the February/March 2020 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab digital or physical subscriptions at OutdoorGroupStore.com.