Thursday, November 01, 2018

The “Apu” Syndrome Encapsulates Political Correctness

Pop culture, entertainment, and comedy use humor in critiquing society and representing the vehicle of defusing tense rhetoric with the tonic of laughter. It is a time-tested and implied cultural norm that all genders, races, politics, religions and businesses are equal opportunity members in being roasted through zingers, one liners, or blatant stereotypes that are completely over the top. At least that how it is supposed to be.

Instead, the hypocrisy of Hollywood is on full display for the universe to see, as television signals beamed into the vast expanses of the cosmos will now only feature gags and schtick bashing white families, Christians, gun owners, and Republicans, as the agenda of extreme leftists has forced the producers in the entertainment business to focus shame in proliferating a disgusting bias. And this is time for laughter, as the thought police have invaded the matrix of comedy.

The latest controversy of unchecked political correctness surrounds the timeless award winning show of the Simpsons and rumors that popular character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, proprietor of the Springfield convenience store and of East Indian descent, may be written out of the show, because somebody apparently complained. Apu, voiced by Hank Azaria and known for one line quips, terrible karaoke, and a graduate education background, has been the focal point of a number of episodes, including the infamous “Who Needs The Kwick-E-Mart?”, where he is unceremoniously terminated from his dream job and replaced by James Woods. Woods gains employment on the thankless night shift to hone his acting skills for an upcoming movie role. How is this not funny on a multitude of levels?

With the pending removal of Apu, the stunning hypocrisy does not require a complex explanation. As a white male, I can laugh at the negative role models of Homer Simpsons, Krusty, Barney Gumble, Mr. Burns, Moe, Ned Flanders, Auto, Kearney, Chief Wiggum, and Reverend Lovejoy. Throughout the entire spectrum of zany characters, there very little semblance of respectable qualities, as the writers portray Caucasian men as lazy incompetent criminal drunks, who flounder in mediocrity and destroy the environment, pervert religion, and are the epitome of mediocrity. But again, the show is a humorous cartoon, and the bits are clever and funny. The premise behind the Simpsons, before the latest brush with out of control PC crappiness, is that everyone and everything  in society was subject to the barbs and hijinxs of the comedy. That was the pure and underlying  raw brilliance of the show.

Instead, individuals culturally affected by the concept of Apu, have gone as far to produce a documentary profiling the apparent profound societal impact of the character in creating a decadent mental masturbation dialogue resonating in confusion and utter defeat, as the idea of a cartoon has crossed the line as sacred mechanism of indoctrination and not conducive to free speech and entertainment. Can one imagine if a public hissy fit had been made over the title of the movie, “White Men Can’t Jump”? But the film was edgy and funny and entirely in the realm of comedy.

My advice to those who choose to be offended by Apu, get over yourselves, and realize that one of the greatest privileges afforded by a society of liberty and freedom, is the ability to laugh at oneself. The world of entertainment does not and should not follow social morays and allows for an escape for the polarizing and toxic news cycle of the extreme of the political spectrum threatening to tear the country to shreds. And similar to the base tenets surrounding government, once something is demonized, it is forever.

Learn to laugh, and if you don’t like something, don’t watch.

God bless Apu, and we hope the rumors of your demise have been greatly exaggerated.


Ireland is still no haven for free speech

We are replacing one form of blasphemy with another.

Last Friday, 1,492,338 Irish people went to the polls to cast their vote in a democratic exercise which they knew would achieve nothing, which few of them really wanted, and which had been most notable for its long periods of torpor and apathy, only to be interrupted by a late burst of hysteria and accusations of racism.

Oh, we also voted to get rid of blasphemy from our Constitution – by an impressive 69 per cent to 31 per cent margin.

The presidential election was held on the same day and saw the popular incumbent, Michael D Higgins, face off against two women and, rather improbably, three judges from the Irish version of Dragons’ Den.

The whole jamboree had trundled along in a boring and predictable fashion until American-based Irish millionaire and Dragon, Peter Casey, touched the closest thing to a third rail in Irish politics – the vexed issue of Travellers.

That, at least, imbued a previously dull and uninspiring contest with something approaching relevance, and the fact that he rose from bottom of the heap on one per cent in the polls on the Tuesday to a remarkable 23 per cent, and second place in the vote, on Friday provoked a paroxysm of outrage from the great and the good of Irish society, with one prominent Irish Traveller, the actor John Connors, muttering darkly about ‘concentration camps’ being planned for his people.

The run-up to the blasphemy referendum, on the other hand, was even more subdued, despite the fact that it was a far more important vote than whoever gets to be president, which in Ireland is a largely ceremonial position whose main requirement of the winner is that they know which cutlery to use at state banquets.

In the curiously Irish way of doing things, blasphemy had been on the books since the 1937 Constitution was framed, but the legislation was obsolete and had been considered redundant for several decades.

Then, in 2009, and for reasons still best know only to him, then minister for justice Dermot Ahern amended a new Defamation Bill to include a provision for blasphemy and described it as: ‘A matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.’

The decision to tack this ludicrous clause on to a Defamation Bill which was, ironically, meant to liberalise the media, and which came with its own €25,000 fine, never made sense to anyone – least of all Ahern, who tried to claim that they had framed it in such a way as to make a prosecution virtually impossible.

That was the first time any Irish observers can remember a minister for justice boasting about creating a deliberately unworkable law.

There was widespread consternation at the inclusion of blasphemy at the time, further exacerbated by the fact that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan both congratulated Ireland for our stance. Even for a country which has often had an unhealthy obsession with what others think of us, that fact, more than even the legislation itself, enraged many Irish people.

But while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may have made for uncomfortable fellow-travellers on the road to blasphemy, it was a case brought against Stephen Fry which made international headlines.

During an interview on Irish television in 2015, Fry was asked about his views on God and what he would say to that deity should he ever meet him.

Fry’s response was that he would say: ‘How dare you create a world in which there is such misery? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’

Those remarks may have come from the Holden Caulfield school of posturing-while-stating-the-bleeding-obvious, but an Irish TV viewer immediately contacted the Gardai and a criminal investigation was opened.

In a moment worthy of Flann O’Brien, the cops later admitted that because they couldn’t find a ‘substantial number of adherents’ who were grossly offended, there was no victim and therefore there would be no prosecution, giving Fry license to be even more smug than usual when he said he found the whole thing ‘enchanting’.

There has always been a whispered suspicion that the person who made the original complaint was actually an atheist activist who wanted to highlight the patent absurdity of such legislation and, for many Irish people, the whole notion of blasphemy on our books was seen almost as a minor quirk; a legislative anomaly which had no relevance.

It was, went this smug and ignorant narrative, a victimless crime.

That there were still people holding that point of view in the run-up to Friday’s referendum provides an example of the convenient amnesia which afflicts many of us in the West.

What seemed to have been either forgotten or ignored was that in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in January 2015, when 12 journalists were murdered for offending Muslims, Irish newspapers and broadcasters were warned by Islamic leaders in this country that we would would be prosecuted under the blasphemy legislation if we ran any of the offending cartoons.

It’s still a topic of some debate in some newsrooms whether any Irish paper would have run the cartoons at all, or whether it provided a convenient excuse to cover the story without showing the images.

But the fact remains that one Islamic cleric in one mosque in Dublin was able to make an editorial decision for all Irish media.

That incident provided a reminder, even if it was seldom mentioned in the build-up to last week’s vote, that you don’t have to use specific legislation to shut down free speech – you merely have to threaten its use.

With the exception of the predictable Muslim opposition to its removal, and the spectacular, almost impressively ill-conceived assertion from one campaigner who claimed that the Holocaust only happened because there was no blasphemy clause in Nazi Germany, even many of those who argued against removing it seemed to do so reluctantly and rather timidly.

Our last two referendums, which ushered in same-sex marriage and then abortion, were widely regarded as a sign of Ireland’s rising appetite for a more liberal society, and it would appear that even those religious conservatives who would prefer to have kept blasphemy a criminal offence realised that this wasn’t the hill they wanted to die on.

Ultimately, the value of removing the legislation is arguably less than the danger it would have caused had it been retained.

But it would be a mistake for observers to get too excited about Ireland apparently emerging, blinking into the light of a new day where freedom of expression is enshrined in law.

After all, many of the groups who wanted to remove blasphemy from our Constitution, such as Amnesty Ireland and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, are also in favour of introducing stringent hate-speech laws.

That would immediately make our vote entirely moot, seeing as hate speech and blasphemy are now essentially distinctions without a difference in Europe.

Indeed, as the greatest Irish comedian of them all, Dave Allen, once said – if they don’t get you one way, they’ll get you by another.


Warren's Ludicrous DNA Discrimination Hypocrisy

Defining gender by one's biological sex is "fundamentally wrong," the "Honest Injun" asserts.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was looking into rescinding the Obama administration’s 2014 redefinition of sex as “gender identity,” to instead legally define gender by the “clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable” standard of an individual’s biological sex at birth. In other words, DNA, not a self-declared “gender identity,” would be the standard the government uses in legally classifying an individual’s gender.

Cue the leftist outrage from none other than America’s favorite 1/1024 Native American, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). It’s “discrimination,” Warren declared. “The Trump administration is trying to make discrimination more available all across the country. This is just fundamentally wrong.” (Clearly, “discrimination” and “fundamental” don’t mean what Warren thinks they mean.) She continued, “This is not who we are as a country. It does not reflect our best values. I will fight them on this. I will fight for anti-discrimination provisions.”

Evidently, Warren believes that objective, scientifically established fact is biased. In spite of the results from her recent DNA test, she continues to assert her claim of Native American ancestry and now she’s attacking DNA for discrimination based on “gender identity.” Hypocrisy always was her strong suit.


Non-Cognitive Deficits and Young Adult Outcomes: The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program

Correlation ≠ causation, but a universal childcare program in Quebec has just been evaluated and the cohorts who had higher access to childcare have been found to have worse health, lower life satisfaction, and higher crime rates later in life


Past research has demonstrated that positive increments to the non-cognitive development of children can have long-run benefits. We test the symmetry of this contention by studying the effects of a sizeable negative shock to non-cognitive skills due to the introduction of universal child care in Quebec. We first confirm earlier findings showing reduced contemporaneous non-cognitive development following the program introduction in Quebec, with little impact on cognitive test scores. We then show these non-cognitive deficits persisted to school ages, and also that cohorts with increased child care access subsequently had worse health, lower life satisfaction, and higher crime rates later in life. The impacts on criminal activity are concentrated in boys. Our results reinforce previous evidence on the central role of non-cognitive skills for long-run success.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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