August 10, 2012
Now you can”t even make condom jokes. A few days after an incredibly old Cal Thomas said Rachel Maddow’s existence was a good argument for contraception, he apologized and said, “I had embarrassed myself” the same way Frank Spencer used to tell Betty, “I wet meself.” What’s with all the sorries? Are we in my grandmother’s house? When shrill lefties call anyone who doesn’t salute them a Nazi, conservatives apologize. They used to say, “Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I”ll sock you in the goddamn face and you”ll stay plastered.”
What’s the matter with yelling? If it’s too loud, you”re too old. Besides, swearing is fun and it gets the point across. I get annoyed when someone stifles my conversation, but I get downright splenetic when someone messes with my jokes.
In college, I worked as an illustrator for our school paper, The Charlatan. We had a professor who was a regular candidate for the head of the Communist Party of Canada and one day he accidentally burned down his office. Everyone knew the guy smoked like a chimney so for an article about the incident, I drew a picture of him playing with toy soldiers and mumbling something about Bolsheviks while an overflowing ashtray smoldered behind him. The editor said it was too incriminating so I just drew an ashtray. That was deemed equally incriminating, so the illustration that went to print was just a drawing of a flame (in case you didn”t know what flames look like).
A week after that, I did an editorial cartoon of a bunch of guys stampeding out of the bathroom yelling “Fag!” because someone used a urinal. At my school, grown men would wait to use the stalls to piss, and the only time they”d use a urinal is if nobody was on either side. They”d stand in line even when there were available urinals! My cartoon lampooned this fear but the editor cut it because it used the new “F” word.
“But I”m mocking homophobia,” I pleaded, “and our paper is pretty much called The Trickster!”
“We”d get letters,” he explained, as if that was the scariest thing in the world.
The evening after my fag cartoon was gay-bashed, I stayed late and went through some old archives. What I saw from back in the 1970s and 80s was a balls-out hilarious newspaper that wasn”t afraid to take chances. On the contributor’s page, the editor’s photo was just a pair of sunglasses stuck on the base of a penis so it looked like a cool elephant with a big Afro.
The writers back then understood that a joke is a delicate FabergÃ© egg and to worry about irrelevant details like how it may be perceived is to break it. The moment I realized this, I quit and later started my own magazine that was eventually banned on my alma mater’s campus. They were outraged that an ad featured a picture of the maid from The Brady Bunch above the word “Dyke.” The cool elephant of 1975 was spinning in his grave.
The PC movement of the 1990s is a dangerous virus that has disabled the body politic. This isn”t merely a threat to the way we communicate. It’s a threat to the sanctity of something far more important: FUN. When you have an “anything goes” mentality, fun shit happens. When you allow the appalled to run the show, nothing goes. And that, my friends, sucks a bigger bag of donkey dicks than the one Gayle uses to satisfy Oprah.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock