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.

Stuff I’m Cheering For …

For the last ten years or so, I’ve been surrendering slowly.  Like a dwarf peeing on a forest fire, I’ve been raging against the forces of evil who want to turn everybody on this planet into a grim-faced, Politically Correct automaton — just as miserable as they are.  These are the folks who destroyed satire, abolished irony, replaced love with the “relationship” and sucked the fun out of every holiday from Valentine’s Day to Christmas.  And I’m not even going to go into what they did to sex and junk food!  Anyway, with Covid-19 and American politics fueling the fire, for a while there, I thought all was lost.  Man, do I need to replace my rose-coloured glasses!  There are tons of cool things happening all over the world, and every one of them is a bucket of hope to pour on the flames.  So here are just a few things I’m cheering for these days. 

Hallowe’en parents – It’s a tough year to have little trick-or-treaters, so I’m cheering for anybody who’s trying to keep the holiday alive – especially the one who aren’t boycotting Mulan.

Women who wear skinny jeans – I have no idea how they get into them, and I’m sure they can’t be comfortable, but anybody who strikes a blow against yoga pants gets a cheer from me.

Movie makers – Actually, I’m giving 3 cheers to the people who’ve decided only villains wear those hideous Man Buns.  Good going, folks!

My niece and her husband – They’ve been together forever and have never once mentioned the word “relationship.”  (I think they’re in love.)  And now they’re having a baby.  The audacity of optimism!  Total congrats!

Je suis Samuel It goes without saying that I’m cheering for anybody who stands up to those idiot terrorist bastards

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – Since she was elected leader in a very weak minority government, she’s handled a terrorist attack, a couple of natural disasters and kicked the crap out of Covid-19 – and, oh yeah — in her spare time, she had a baby.  Living proof that not all politicians are dolts.  BTW, last week, she was re-elected with the largest majority in 50 years!

That Guy in Canada – A Canadian onion seller tried to put an advertisement on Facebook, but it was rejected because it was “overtly sexual.”  (The ad was just a picture of onions.)  Laughing all the way to the bank, Jackson McLean posted the same picture and Facebook’s rejection on his own website.  The onions sold out in 3 days!  Take that, you mindless techno-tyrant!

And finally:

The Danes – Every one of them.  The Danes have a word, samfundssind that basically means “community spirit,” but it’s more about people taking responsibility for the community — kinda like “Hey, we’re all in this together, so don’t be a dick!”  This flies in the face of the WHAT-ABOUT-ME culture most of the rest of us have.  But it also means Denmark is a cool place to live.  People there are nice to each other; they wait their turn; they don’t throw trash in the streets; they say please and thank you and clean up after their dogs.  But mostly, they trust each other to be just as reasonable.  FYI, Danish parents routinely leave their baby buggies on the sidewalk when the go into shops and cafes.  That’s some serious trust!  We should all take a page out of that book.

The War On Free Speech

silence

In 1946, Martin Niemoller wrote a damning bit of prose to illustrate the rise of fascism and the cowardice of the intellectuals (including himself) who let it happen.  Here is one of the original versions.

First they came for the Communists —
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists —
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists —
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews —
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me —
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

In the 21st century, they may call themselves innocuous names, profess their moral authority and say they speak for the betterment of society.  But don’t be fooled.  This is all about power.  This is about who controls the flow of ideas.  This is about silencing the opposition.  And the pattern is exactly the same.

First they came for Hate Speech —
And I didn’t speak out
Because it sounded like a good idea.

Then they came for Controversial Speech —
And a lot of people didn’t speak out
Because they didn’t want to get lynched on Social Media.

Then they came for Offensive Speech —
And most people didn’t speak out
Because the ones who did were losing their jobs.

Now they’re coming for Opinion,
And everybody is too frightened to speak out.

So when they come for Free Speech,
Don’t be surprised
When there’s nobody left to defend it.