During one exchange with the reigning king of late-night T.V., Obama joked, comparing his abysmal bowling skills to that of a Special Olympics athlete. And predictably, some complained about the “insensitive” nature of the remark, which was meant to be taken as self-depreciating humor. As a result, the president was forced by a growing chorus of political-correctness-inspired catcalls to issue a personal call to the chairman of the Special Olympics and apologize for the quip.
President Barack Obama & Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show (March 2009)
So, at the risk of being similarly labeled “insensitive,” I’m going to speak my mind and say that America has become a nation of whiny, limp-wristed, sissified girly-girls. There. I said it. If you’ve noticed, the sky failed to fall, the space-time continuum didn’t collapse in on itself, and (unless you’re the individual who draws the short straw of fate), the sun will tomorrow. Now check your pulse…heart still beating? No cuts, abrasions or bruises? That’s what I thought.
My point is that those of us who grew up in a certain era remember the old childhood declaration that “Sticks and stone can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” However, we Americans seemingly take every joke, innocently-meant statement, or off-the-cuff remark as a slight against some group, oppressed minority, or individual—no matter how innocuous it was meant to be. This almost universal level of sensitivity has forced many to engage in a burdensome degree of self- or institutional censorship; many, like myself are forced to speak in measured tones for fear of offending some whiny crybaby who hasn’t gotten over the fact that he or she must now grow out of the “need” to continue suckling from their mother’s tit (yes, I said it and it felt damned good).
As you read this, you may have already have adopted one of two possible positions; you may think that this overall assertion is nothing more than subjective hyperbole on my part, or that I myself am insensitively naïve as to the power of words to hurt. Both conclusions contain a level of validity, depending on your perceptions. However, for every Don Imus-like remark about “Nappy-headed hoes,” there seem to be a dozen or so instances where the social mandate to speak in only politically correct terms reveals that people have simply become too thin-skinned. It seems that many of us have a gripe about some impending “hurtful” statement already cocked and loaded, and we’re ever-ready to pull the trigger of condemnation faster than you can say either “oppressed group” or “insensitive remark.” In short, we have become a country of PC crybabies that even French late-night comedians can now joke about as being as weak and surrender-prone.
To Be Continued...