Cancel Culture – A Quiz

Artist Unknown

We live in dangerous times.  These days, everybody’s looking over their shoulder for the ominous shadow of cancel culture.  Anything you say, can and will be used against you — with disastrous consequences.  And it’s impossible to know what is and what is not acceptable.  For example, last month, Mr. Potato Head was just a toy (a pretty lame one, actually.) Now, it’s a sexist symbol of exclusion and oppression.  (BTW, you might think your life is crap right now, but it’s never going to be as crappy as the lives of people who are worried about the gender of a plastic potato.)  Anyway, not since the Reign of Terror have so many, been so frightened, by the opinions of so few.  But it’s real!  People are losing their jobs for not toeing the politically correct line.  One woman made an insensitive Tweet, went to sleep, woke up in the morning and discovered she’d already been fired.

But help is on the way.  Here is a quiz that will assist you in navigating the minefield that is contemporary culture.  Each statement is either true or false – you have to figure out which.  The answers are at the end.  You get one (1) point for every correct answer and minus five (5) for every wrong one.  (That’s the way politically correct works!)  Then multiply your score by 5 and that’s your “woke” percentage.  Be honest, good luck — and if you use Google, you’re already screwed. 

1 — A Star Trek super-fan was told his personalized license plates “ASIMIL8” (“Assimilate,” catchphrase of the Borg) was being recalled because it represented cultural genocide and was offensive to indigenous people.

2 — Speaking of Star Trek, the first press release for Star Trek Voyager described Security Officer Tuvok as an “African American Vulcan.”

3 — The term YOLO (You Only Live Once) has been deemed offensive to Hindus and other religions that believe in reincarnation.

4 — Advertisers are replacing the word “pyjamas” with “sleepwear” to avoid charges of cultural appropriation because the word “pyjamas” was borrowed during the British colonization of India.

5 — A local city council in the UK has banned the term “brainstorming” because it is offensive to people with epilepsy.

6 — Shanghai DisneyLand has removed all references to Winnie the Pooh so as not to offend the people of China.

7 – A number of universities have banned clapping at all public performances because that might trigger anxiety in nervous people.

8 — Transvestites have been banned from Gay Pride parades because they’re considered offensive to true transgender people.

9 – The word “hysterical” is unacceptable because it is derived from the Greek word for uterus.

10 — There is a claim that calling someone “exotic” has “nasty racial overtones” and is a micro-aggression.

11 — The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, once corrected a woman audience member for saying “mankind” by saying, “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind.  It’s just more inclusive.” and was accused of mansplaining.

12 — The standard size of chairs in arenas, auditoriums, airplanes and classrooms is considered a micro-aggression against people who are overweight.

13 — The word therapist is being replaced with counselor or analyst to avoid subconsciously triggering people who may have been sexually assaulted.

14 – Now that “heart attack” has been replaced with “cardiac event,” the acceptable term for fatal heart attack is “life-limiting experience.”

15 — In many jurisdictions, the term police force has been changed to police service because the word force is considered too confrontational.

16 – Some universities have stopped using trigger warnings because there is concern that warning students about offensive material might actually trigger emotional distress.

17 — “Long time, no see” and “No can do” are unacceptable because they mock the English dialect of 19th century Asian American immigrants.

18 – The name of the string instrument mandolin has been changed to Italian lute to be more inclusive and reflect that both men and women play it.

19 — Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is under pressure to remove “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” because it’s sexist to suggest that women are more vindictive than men.

20 — An advertisement for exercise bicycles, featuring a man (presumably a husband or boyfriend) giving a woman an exercise bicycle as a Christmas gift, was pulled off TV for being overtly sexist.

ANSWERS

1 — A Star Trek super-fan was told his personalized license plates “ASIMIL8” (“Assimilate,” catchphrase of the Borg) was being recalled because it represented cultural genocide and was offensive to indigenous people.

True – The guy’s still fighting it in court.

2 — Speaking of Star Trek, the first press release for Star Trek Voyager described Security Officer Tuvok as an “African American Vulcan.”

Also true — even though the planet Vulcan probably doesn’t have either an Africa or an America.

3 — The term YOLO (You Only Live Once) has been deemed offensive to Hindus and other religions that believe in reincarnation.

False.  But, on second thought …

4 — Advertisers are replacing the word “pyjamas” with “sleepwear” to avoid charges of cultural appropriation because the word “pyjamas” was borrowed during the British colonization of India.

False — but you don’t actually see the word “pyjamas” around much anymore, do you?

5 — A local city council in the UK has banned the term “brainstorming” because it is offensive to people with epilepsy.

True — It’s has been replaced with “thought showers.”

6 — Shanghai DisneyLand has removed all references to Winnie the Pooh so as not to offend the people of China.

True — Guess why?

7 – A number of universities have banned clapping at all public performances because that might trigger anxiety in nervous people.

True — There are two (that I could find) in the UK and several in the USA.

8 — Transvestites have been banned from Gay Pride parades because they’re considered offensive to true transgender people.

True — The most notable case was in Glasgow in 2015, but there have been a number of other places, as well.

9 – The word “hysterical” is unacceptable because it is derived from the Greek word for uterus.

True — Many “woke” writers have made the case that linking hysteria and women is inherently sexist.  (Apparently, the ancient Greeks were insensitive bastards.)

10 — There is a claim that calling someone “exotic” has “nasty racial overtones” and is a micro-aggression.

True — The convoluted argument is that if you’re “exotic” you’re not from here; therefore, you’re being excluded.

11 — The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, once corrected a woman audience member for saying “mankind” by saying, “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind.  It’s just more inclusive.” and was accused of mansplaining.

True — Unfortunately, this is absolutely true.

12 — The standard size of chairs in arenas, auditoriums, airplanes and classrooms is considered a micro-aggression against people who are overweight.

True — and several organizations have taken that argument to court — especially against airlines

13 — The word therapist is being replaced with counselor or analyst to avoid subconsciously triggering people who may have been sexually assaulted.

False … so far

14 – Now that “heart attack” has been replaced with “cardiac event,” the acceptable term for fatal heart attack is “life-limiting experience.”

False — although I like the sound of that.

15 — In many jurisdictions, the term police force has been changed to police service because the word force is considered too confrontational.

True

16 – Some universities have stopped using trigger warnings because there is concern that warning students about offensive material might actually trigger emotional distress.

True — One wonders if they’re even teaching controversial subjects anymore.

17 — “Long time, no see” and “No can do” are unacceptable because they mock the English dialect of 19th century Asian American immigrants.

False — No lesser authority than the OED has judged both phrases have been in common use for many years by a number of ethnic groups.

18 – The name of the string instrument mandolin has been changed to Italian lute to be more inclusive and reflect that both men and women play it.

False

19 — Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is under pressure to remove “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” because it’s sexist to suggest that women are more vindictive than men.

False — although a number of quotes have quietly disappeared from the pages over the last few years.

20 — An advertisement for exercise bicycles, featuring a man (presumably a husband or boyfriend) giving a woman an exercise bicycle as a Christmas gift, was pulled off TV for being overtly sexist.

True — And aside from a ton of free publicity, I’ve never been able to figure out why.

Why Aliens Won’t Talk To Us – An Update

About five years ago, I wrote a piece titled “Why Aliens Won’t Talk To Us.”  I trotted out the usual suspects – cricket and crop circles – but our world has come a long way in 5 years, so it’s time for an update.

Unless you flunked out of Math, Science, Stats, Probability, Literature, Philosophy, Biology and Logic — all at the same time — you realize that millions of galaxies, billions of stars and trillions of planets equal a damn good chance that there is intelligent life (besides us) somewhere in the Universe.  It just makes sense, right?

So why won’t aliens talk to us?

BTW, Bubba and Bobbi-Sue’s shaky iPhone video of the sun glinting off a Frisbee™ doesn’t constitute alien contact.  And — just for the record — aliens probably have better things to do with their time than probe fat guys, lose their skulls in Central America or leave painfully childish clues to their existence for weirdo TV documentary filmmakers to find.  (Just sayin’!)

So, with no credible evidence, we must assume that aliens simply don’t want to talk to us.  Why?

I think that they think we’re strange.  And not just regular isn’t-that-cute strange, either – more like “Mother of God!  We need to stay away from those weirdos” strange.  Let me give you a few examples:

Our Choice of Beverages – Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, an essential ingredient to life, but rather than just drink the stuff and get on, we do things to it.  We add sugar to it, we add caffeine, we add carbon dioxide, we add dyes to give it colour, artificial flavour to give it taste and toxic chemicals that we’ve already proven are going to kill us if we ingest them.  Then, just to insult our own intelligence completely, we take all that crap out, bottle it and call it healthy.  Aliens have to be thinking, “What’s wrong with you people?”

Professional Sports – Games and recreation are an important aspect of intelligent life, but when you’re paying a man more than the GNP of Mali to kick a ball once a week and the guy who scrubs the floor in a hospital minimum wage, something is definitely out of whack.  Aliens can sense this stuff.

Tattoos – It must be very confusing to aliens when the same people who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing last year’s fashions are still sporting the same ink they got when they were dating Joshua — three boyfriends ago.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift – When these two are the result of 3 million years of natural selection, aliens must wonder just how much of the human brain is devoted to ego.

Litter – If you were an alien, you’d have to ask yourself, “What kind of intelligent life would promiscuously throw their garbage all over their own planet?”

Crocs – Why would an intelligent species make an indestructible piece of footwear that everybody hates and that looks hideous?

And finally, the real reason aliens don’t wanna talk to us:

Twitter – If aliens are monitoring our social media (which I’m sure they are) they’ve obviously run across Twitter.  Think about it! Would you want to communicate with a species whose idea of an intelligent conversation is hurling insults and calling each other nasty names?  Seriously, aliens probably take one look at the shitshow on Twitter and say, “Screw it, Zoltran!  Let’s go to Mars.  They might not have any water, but at least Martians are civil to each other.”

When Harry Met Oprah

These days, it’s much easier to bury Caesar than to praise him, and even though I like to think I’m a better person than that – I’m not.  Given the opportunity, I’m right in there, shovelling the dirt with everybody else.  So it was with a little bit too much glee that I noticed there’s going to be A Royal Event on March 7th.  Buckle up, boys and girls, because the Queen of Jell-o Journalism, Oprah Winfrey, has granted an audience to the Queen of Southern California, Meghan Markle.  Not since Henry VIII of England met Francis I of France on the Field of The Cloth of Gold in June 1520 has there been this much Royal star power in one place at one time.  In fact, there’s a danger that the San Andreas Fault may buckle under the weight of their combined egos.  But, what an occasion!  In a more civilized time, there’d be jousting and jugglers, puppet shows and magicians, minstrels and at least a dozen suckling pigs.  Unfortunately, the 21st century is a dark, joyless age, so, we’ll have to settle for two women talking (more about that later.)  However, I do not exaggerate when I speculate that over a billion people will tune into this regal — uh – conversation.

Wow!  This is a match made in celebrity heaven.  Meghan Markle, former suitcase girl on Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal, gets to sit on the same sofa that Tom Cruise bounced up and down on.  And even though, before May 19, 2018 Winfrey wouldn’t have given Markle, the second banana on a 3rd rate TV show, the time of day (never mind a spot on the vaunted Oprah sofa) Meghan’s the one who’s going to help Ms. Winfrey kick that little upstart Ellen off the top of the TV ratings pyramid.

Of course, the actual television show won’t be anything special.  The two women will trot out the usual suspects — how difficult it is to be filthy rich, how the media (present company excluded) are a bunch of dicks, how the Royal Family were unreasonable and why — as a mother — Markle just wants to give her children a normal life.  (On that last point, when you can rent Disneyland for your kid’s birthday party, that “normal” ship has kinda sailed.)  Anyway, Winfrey will call Markle “brave” a couple of times, she’ll share a cute anecdote from the wedding and maybe squeeze out a tear or two.  Then, they’ll take a break … “And when we come back, Prince Harry will join the conversation.”  WHAT?  That’s right!  For the first half of the program, Harry isn’t even going to be there!  He’s going to be cooling his heels, nice boy, in the Green Room.  Frankly, I’m not surprised.  After all, it would be totally out of character for Meghan Markle to share the spotlight of her magical moment on Oprah with anybody else – including the guy who got her there.

In the end, they’ll all agree that, despite the horribly hard row Mr. And Mrs. Mountbatten-Windsor have had to hoe, they are just an ordinary couple who want to shun the public eye (Yeah!  That’s why you’re on Oprah!) and have a normal life.  Oprah will give everybody in the studio audience a diamond tiara.  “You get a tiara!  You get a tiara!  You get a tiara!  Everybody gets a tiara!”  Both brands, Harpo and Archewell, will get a kick up the Social Media ladder; both PR entourages will do some high fives; and everyone will go home happy with a job well done.   

Meanwhile, however, in a dark corner of the cutthroat world of Daytime TV, Ellen, the nastiest sycophant on the planet, will be beating the bejesus out of her producers, screaming “What the hell am I paying you for?  Those two cash cows should have been mine!”