Saturday, October 19, 2013

Political Correctness and Foster Brooks

FosterBrooks1.jpgFirst, let me apologize!  It's been nearly three weeks since I've posted.

Here we go.

I love humor.  I am sometimes healed by it.

I understand things about political correctness, and not all of them are good.

When I grew up in the late fifties and sixties and high school into the seventies, we had a different term for it.  We called it manners.  We listened to Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and Judith Martin (Miss Manners) on how to behave with our fellow humans, because according to them, manners is what keeps the human race from barbarism, from the fate left to us as described by one of the great novels in the English Language Lord of the Flies.

I, too, believe that William Golding had it right while still believing that Political Correctness (PC) can take things over the edge and has.

Manners tempers that edge to my mind.

What manners allowed for, that PC does not, is the ability to laugh at ourselves and our own foibles.  Humor.  Sometimes to laugh is to look inside and really see.  And things that we laughed at back in the day, folks would chastise us for laughing at now.

I'll offer a modest example.

Foster Brooks.

Do you know him?  If you're my age in the US, you probably do.  If not, let me give you a little bit on Foster Brooks, known in his heyday ad "The Loveable Lush."

His act was that of a drunk.

He hit the big time a number of years after he took his last drink, being well into his 50's.  During his act, he was stone cold sober, yet he forced us all to look inside, with amazing humor ... and insight.  I've met a couple of folks who said they understood their own alcoholism from watching the act of Foster Brooks.

Humor, to my mind, can do so much more than make us laugh.  It can make us look hard at ourselves and see the demons within without feeling like a cyclops in the world of two-eyed people.

What I love about manners, and hate about political correctness, is that the former allows for humor, the latter does now.  Check out this bit from the old Dean Martin Roast of Don Rickles, featuring the late, great Foster Brooks.

I know it's hard to watch with alcoholism being such a problem in the world, but do we solve it by taking away the humor?

It's just a question.  I am looking for guidance.

Please comment and let me know what you think, regardless of what thoughts you may have.