Are you as sick to death of the politically correct bullcrap that has taken over every level of our society as I am?

We have gotten so twisted and turned around in our never ending quest not to offend anybody, in any way that, frankly, it offends me. Now that’s double-speak for you, isn’t it? Maybe I should run for an elected office!

But its true. these days nobody seems to be able to get through a day without finding some reason to feel slighted, and even if they don’t, you can bet your life that some do gooder will take it upon themselves to feel offended for them! Whatever happened to the day when we all had broad shoulders and just a little bit of a sense of humor?

Two cases in the news this week bring this home to me. The first is that of decorated Naval officer Captain Owen Honors, who was relieved of his command because he made and broadcast comedy videos to his crew that reportedly included simulated masturbation, sexual innuendo, and gay slurs. The Navy’s decision basically is an end to Captain Honors’ career.

While Naval higher ups have criticized Captain Honors’ lack of judgment and are questioning his character, I find it interesting that the only members of his crew that have been heard from have all spoken out in support of the former commander. Several current and former sailors who served under Captain Honors and who saw the videos all praised him for his professionalism, and said that the videos helped to boost the crew’s morale.

Okay, I get it. Sex is a no no. We all have to pretend that we just have smooth skin between our waists and knees, with no orifices or external parts. We can’t bash gay people. But what did Captain Honors’ videos show that you won’t see on the Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, or a lot of other late night network television, not to mention cable and satellite programming? Are his actions anywhere near as bad as some of the sexual hijinks we’ve seen come out of our nation’s capital over the years. Is it really worth losing a dedicated career officer because somebody might have been offended? I really don’t think so.

Let’s consider Captain Honors’ audience, and the circumstances they served together in. Young people in a battle zone. People in places like that, at times like that, often use humor to relieve stress. And a lot of that humor is not exactly politically correct. Knock-knock jokes just won’t do it for them. If you don’t believe me, get to know a cop, a nurse, or a firefighter someday.

I’m a short, fat guy. So what? It gives me a lot of raw material to poke fun at myself. I have gay friends. I have handicapped friends. They usually know and happily tell some of the raunchiest jokes I’ve ever heard, and they appreciate a good joke too, even at their expense. The ability to laugh at oneself is an important part of having a healthy self-image.

The second case that I find absolutely silly is the decision to revise Mark Twain’s old classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to replace the term nigger with slave, and to change the name of the character Injun Joe to something less offensive. 

I wonder if the airheads who find this book offensive ever actually read it. An important message to be found in the book is when young Huck learns that Jim, a slave, has feelings too, and that a trick he played on him was hurtful. Huck is contrite and learns that all people are the same, no matter what their station in life, or what people call them. It’s a lesson we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

But if we are going to censor anything using that terrible “N” word, shouldn’t we also go after rap music? You’ll hear the “N’ word there more often than you will on the jukebox in any southern redneck honky tonk. And while we’re attacking racist words in old books, will we be removing the term  “blue eyed devils” from the Autobiography of Malcolm X?

I am just as offended by real attacks on any human being, due to their race, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else. However, we have to use a little common sense too. Or, as my daughter would say, we have to put on our big girl panties and deal with it. Okay, the fat guy is going to climb down off his soapbox and waddle into the kitchen for some milk and cookies.

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18 Comments on No Offense

  1. Al Hays says:

    I would venture a guess that not many people on the ship were offended by the videos but I do find it a little surprising that the Captain of the ship was so involved in the videos. It turns out that he has to be made an example of by his superiors to protect themselves.
    On the second item, when I was a kid in the 50’s up in Canada our next door neigbour had a black lab named Nigger. We’d be running around the neighbourhood yelling for the dog half the time. As far as I knew there was no negative conotation to the N word, it was just another word. Now it’s just unheard of completely in speech. Education and itegration at its finest I guess.

  2. Greg White says:

    To Al Hay:

    Honors did not do these videos as Captain of the USS Enterprise. He did them several years ago when he was the XO there, before he got promoted to Captain.

    And surely the then Captain would have known about and approved of them, but I haven’t heard anything about him.

  3. Sami Whitney says:

    Nick, I am a gay veteran who just has to agree with you, though I know that several of my friends would not see things the same way.

    Just as there has to be tolerance by the rest of the world toward those of us who do not meet their definition of “normal”, those of us who are gay, handicapped, non-white, or whatever also have to exhibit some tolerance too and stop looking for a reason to be offended at every turn. I have friends who are offended by everything from the TV sitcom Will and Grace to jokes they hear, and others who get a belly laugh out of them. Guess which ones I prefer to spend time with?

    Thank you for having the courage to take a stand that may not always be popular, but needs to be taken nonetheless.

  4. Thomas Harrker says:

    I find myself agreeing with you often, but not this time around. I think that Navy officer and his superiors should all have been cashiered out of the service and forfeited their retirements. I don’t want my tax dollars going to produce porno that is fed to a captive audience.

  5. Lindig Harris says:

    I am outraged at the bowlderizing of Twain. How dare they! And, as you point out, they’re missing the point and seeing to it that all new readers will miss the point, too.

    As to the navy videos, I think these show a great deal of unprofessional behavior for an XO (later Capt.). The humor is sophomoric at best. Losing his command is suitable: it sends a message to think about consequences. If they had been brilliant satires, on a Robin Williams level, say, I’d be inclined to suggest a different career path.

  6. I so agree with you and your post Nick. And I love your daughter’s statement…more people need to get a grip and worry about what is important…like child abuse, sexual exploitation of children and the list could go on and on.

    Thanks for writing…

  7. Nick yake 2 ounces of scotch every half hour after whilw you wont care if you are sixk lol what is wrong using the word nigger as having been stationed in the south for while srveral times they would call each other that. As far as the navy commander I would not want to be the new commander on the ship when the crew is not happy things don’t go as well get better soon

  8. Jon Ensminger says:

    I’m sure that you all read “1984”, and that is a precursor to todays world. It’s just that a bunch intellects want to put that book into action.

  9. Connie Braidh says:

    Political correctness is ridiculous. No matter what you do you risk the “problem” of offending some one.

    As some one else also said here, in the south you can hear the black people use the word nigger in speaking to one another. They also use the term, boy, when talking to one another.
    The word Negro comes from the Latin word nigra for the color black. Just as the word albino come from the Latin word alba for white. NAACP stand for National Associated of Colored People. Calling some colored now is considered a no no so why do they themselves still use the word?

    I remember when the word gay meant being happy and having fun. The gay ninties was all about the 1890s and having fun. So what is really politically correct and WHO are the politically correct police?

  10. Elaine & Mike says:

    Once again i have to agree with you 100%. Re-writing a classic just to take one word out it a disgrace. that was how it was back in that era. As you said you here the N word in almost all rap songs, and among the young. Leave the classics as they are.

  11. Bob Martel says:

    My concern with the “XO Honor videos” does not revolve around the content but rather the author. An XO and/or Captain of a US aircraft carrier needs to show impeccable judgment and leadership. That’s just not possible while acting out in videos such as those. I think the Navy did the right thing and wonder why his Captain wasn’t also disciplined? Had these videos been produced by some junior officer or NCO, there would have been no fuss.

    I think the Huck Finn thing is plain stupid. As offensive as the N word might be in modern day to day speech, changing it in the book destroys the artistic work. Remember, when the author wrote that book, the N word was already considered offensive (perhaps not as much as today.) So he probably intended the reader to be at least partially offended every-time he read that word. It’s part of the experience of reading the book. To take out the N word destroys the book and the author’s intent.

  12. Frank Serrao says:

    Even bringing this up as if it is a big issue that we’re so offended about makes us a bunch of wussies. Let the Navy manage its own internal affairs according to the high standards it wants to uphold and lets keep our big noses out of it. The Navy is within its rights to enforce the code of ethics it desires. Honors should have known better period.

  13. Howdy ‘Bad’ Nick,
    As a US Navy veteran of the Korean era, I am ashamed of the
    need to use this sort of crap to ‘build morale’!! The Navy would have never ALLOWED ANYTHING LIKE THIS to be broadcast(we didn’t have television aboard) to the crew ‘for morale purposes. We also didn’t make jokes about the other crew members. We were proud of our ship, shipmates and just let a ‘jarhead’ make a crack and someone would be ‘upside’ his head.. We might fight amongst ourselves, but we were not undisciplined and our officers were ‘mature men'(no women officers then) who were RESPECTED, NOT OUR BUDDIES TO JOKE AND CUT-UP WITH..

    This kind of NO RESPECT IS WHY AMERICA IS IN THE TOILET RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!! AND FOLKS WONDER WHAT HAPPENED??

  14. Linda says:

    Political correctness is such a bunch of bull. Just say things plain so people can understand. I make no bones about not being politically correct & if that offends someone it’s their problem, not mine.

    Actually when a black person calls another black person a nigger it is much more derogatory than when a white person uses the term.

    My family had a black lab named Nigger too when I was growing up. We inherited him from some nice maiden ladies who owned the farm, they named him.

    When I read about the Huckleberry Finn revision I just had to shake my head in wonder. Doesn’t this country have more serious problems to worry about??

    Keep up your battle against the absurd, Nick. Somebody has to speak up.

  15. I was advised by a university professor friend many years ago that there is a one word definition for “politically correct” it is WRONG

  16. bucky says:

    Once again Nick you have hit the nail on the head… This country is going down the tubes, because of all the political correctness bull, our so called leaders are shoving down our throats….

  17. Dennis M says:

    I agree with you on both issues Nick, especially the point that one needs to consider the audience that Captain Honors was addressing.

    On the Mark Twain issue I had the same reaction, however…I heard the author of the redacted version on NPR the other other night and he is surprised by the negative reaction it has created. His mission was not to replace the original version. He was disturbed by the fact that students were missing a great piece of American literature due to the book being excluded from reading lists based on the use of the word “nigger” more than 200 times.

    He pointed out that none of the TV, radio, or print criticisms (guess he had not read yours) had the bravery to actual use the “N word” in their critique – thus proving his point. He meant his version to be a sanitized version that could be freely taught in schools. So he brought me around to thinking that this maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.

    By the way, did you know that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is number two on the list of most frequently banned books? Right after George Orwell’s 1984. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer comes in number 4.

  18. Orville Schinke says:

    This politically correct has to stop. I get so riled up and fed up with having to watch everything I say. I even have grandsons who are offspring of a white (light colored, caucasian; my son) and a dear dark colored, non-Caucasian lady (my daughter-in-law) who call me a racist. I am far, far from being a racist. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as a “racist.” We are all of the “human” race and are all the same color; some are light, medium and dark, but all from the same basic color. We live in climate zones for which the color of our skin can acclimate.

    The use of the N word or any other such thing is just an excuse for someone to raise their voice to bellow out inane sayings.

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