Political Correctness

I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH THIS "PC" SHIT! Why can't we just laugh at ourselves? Why, when a comedian does a joke on anything even vaguely controversial, do certain people moan like somebody let one rip during an audience with the Pope? I mean, come on, who actually moans at a joke? Who is responsible for that? Well, quite frankly, I'm pinning it on the gays, okay.

Now, now, I know there's some reflexively irate homosexual in the crowd thinking, "How dare you, Miss Thing?" And what I'm saying to you is this: I think so little of the variations in human sexuality that I refuse to treat you like a Faberge egg. You are part of the human collective. Come, join in our reindeer games. You too can be poked fun at. And that goes for the whole spectrum of special interest groups out there wandering the freakazoid Serengeti plain.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but trying to negotiate straits of what's acceptably funny nowadays is like trying to navigate through the Sargasso Sea of plastic toadstools in the middle of a bumper pool table. I understand where political correctness comes from -- a scant forty years ago, we were doing "Amos 'n' Andy" jokes on the airwaves, for chrissakes. We were barbaric louts. But now, suddenly, we find ourselves in a classic overcorrection, where we're all supposed to zip through life like some huge societal squadron of Blue Angels, flying six inches off each other's taste wing, never ever deviating even one angstrom. Well, folks, there are a lot of different aircraft careening through the social stratosphere, and we better start working out some respectfully independent glide paths right now, or it's gonna start getting really messy.

Why don't we start by letting humor serve as our guide? Laughter is one of the great beacons in life because we don't defract it by gunning it through our intellectual prism. What makes us laugh is a mystery -- an involuntary response. If I could explain to you why Jerry Lewis makes me laugh when he's trying to be serious, and why he makes me straight-faced when he's trying to get me to laugh, I'd have the answer. But I don't. But damn it, I'm telling you the key lies somewhere in Lewis! Yeah, Jerry is the "Stargate" on this. And I'm pretty sure, the comedic Rosetta Stone lies somewhere in his "catching the cigarette in the mouth" bit. And I think Charlie Callas will back me up on that.

The point is, people who are threatened by jokes are the same people who tend to refer to actors on the soap operas by their character's name. Listen, there's a real world, and then there's the joke world, okay. The joke world we can get tough -- wear a cup. When I watch Dana Carvey tee up his impression of me and how I run my hand through my hair, it momentarily irks me. But only for a second. Because I realize it's a joke, and I don't want to waste one more moment being angry when I could get back to my true avocation, which is completely idolizing myself.

Y'know something, folks, it wouldn't hurt if everybody held their cards a little closer to their vest. Don't let 'em know they've rattled you if it hits close to home. You should be able to take that joke right in the solar plexus, get up, get that two-cycle weed-whacker engine of a brain humming, and give as good as you got. And if you get bested, go home, sharpen your verbal machete, and get ready for the next thicket.

Don't call Gloria Allred. Don't go to court. Don't steal a machine gun and shoot everybody at the party who made fun of your Jiffy Pop rag-hat.

Relax. Relax. The truth is, the human sense of humor tends to be barbaric, and it's been that way all along. I'm sure on the eve of the Nativity, when the "tall" Magi smacked his forehead on the crossbeam while entering the stable, Joseph took a second away from pondering who impregnated his wife and laughed his little carpenter ass off.

You know a sense of humor is exactly that -- a sense. Not a fact, not etched in stone, not an empirical math equation, but just what the word intones -- a sense of what you find funny.

And obviously everybody has a different sense of what's funny. If you need confirmation of that, I would remind you that "Saved by the Bell" recently celebrated the taping of their one-hundredth episode. Oh well, one man's Moliere is another man's Screech, and that's the way it should be. But there are those who feel the need to enlist you in a cult whose core doctrine consists solely of their personal beliefs. Well, I subscribe to the theory of "The Cult of One." The cult of the individual. That way, if I "lemming off the cliff, I'm only following my own nose and not the ass of another lemming. That's what America's all about. A great nation that guarantees you the right to lead whatever sort of existence you want to lead, that guarantees me the right to ridicule it mercilessly.

Come on, am I the only one who absolutely delights in the fact that somewhere out there near the pillars of Hercules there's a crazy old bitch like Marge Schott?

You know something, there's nothing wrong with a culture where everybody has a different idea of what's humorous. The last time I can remember an entire nation being on the same page, it was Germany in the late thirties and it didn't really turn out that funny. Remember: In its time and place, what Hitler said was considered politically correct; and it's that blind adherence to what is situationally palatable that is truly dangerous. We should question it all. Poke fun at it all. Piss off on it all. Rail against it all.

And most important, for chrissakes, laugh at it all. Because the only thing separating holy writ from complete bullshit is your perspective. It's your only weapon. Keep the safety off, don't take yourself too seriously, and remember that at the end of the day, this is just an ant farm with beepers, and it takes zero politically correct assholes to screw in a light bulb, because they are perpetually in the fucking dark.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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Air Travel

Now I don't want to get off an a rant here, but flying in this country has turned into an amazingly arduous process, especially boarding the plane, which has now become this tedious Bataan death march with American Tourister overnight bags. I get stuck behind this one guy, who takes forever to get situated. He's clogging the aisle like a piece of human cholesterol jammed in the passengerial artery. You just want to get that soft drink cart and flush his ass out the back door. He's folding that sport jacket like he's in the color guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

Or else I get stuck behind a wizard who wants to beat the system by gaffer-taping a twine handle onto a refrigerator-freezer box and calling it "carry on." Wedging it into the overhead with hydraulic jacks. It's like trying to get Pavarotti into a wet suit, for Christ's sake.

And exactly when did stewardesses in this country get so fucking cranky? I know it's a tough job. There's got to be a thousand different ways to tie that neckerchief but why piss on me, huh? You know the worst thing about it is they don't even come clean with you and tell you much they hate you. They treat you with that highly contrived air of mock civility, that tight, pursed-lip grin where they nod agreement with everything you say. You know right behind that face plate they barely tolerate your very existence. I'd rather they just come out in the open and say, "Hey, listen asshole. When I was eighteen years old, I made a horrible vocational error, all right? I turned my entire adult life in for cheap airfare to Barbados. Now I've got hair with the tensile strength of Elsa Lanchester in 'Bride of Frankenstein.' I haven't met Mr. Right. I'm a waitress in a bad restaurant at thirty thousand feet. Jam your Diet Slice up your ass, all right?" At least show me something. Come down the aisle like the old broad in 'From Russia with Love' with the knife point coming out of her shoe. "Peanuts, Mr. Bond?"

What about when you leave the plane and they've got them propped by the front door in that complete android catatonic stupor where they look like the Yul Bryner robot from 'Westworld' when he blew a headpipe and iced Marcus Welby's assistant. "Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye." It's like your stockbroker on Thorazine or something.

And am I the only one who likes to get on a plane and unwind with a good book? Sit there in a little peace and quiet. I'm constantly in conversation with complete strangers - always being approached by these overly ebullient Jonathan Livingston Human types. This eighteen-year-old kid who's on his way back from Aruba and wants to show me this skull bong he purchased there that's carved out of volcanic rock. You know he's always got a dream he wants me to interpret for him. What am I, Queequeg? And you're afraid to not talk to him. You never know who the fucking terrorist is on the plane. I'd hate to alienate anybody who's looking for a prom date to Valhalla.

There's a lot of terrorism in the air, but you know when you walk through the air terminal and see the crack security people manning the perimeter, I think we all sleep the sleep of angels. Came into Phoenix the other day, the woman working the X-ray machine had the attention span of Boo Radley. She's sitting there like Captain Pike from "Star Trek." She had a channel flicker. She's watching baggage from other airports, for Christ's sake.

You think pilots make fun of those guys who bring them the last ten feet into the terminal with those cone flashlights? "Well, thank you, Vasco da Gamma. I kited in from Malaysia, you're going to take me the last furlong, Captain Eveready. I hope you don't blow a D-cell. I'd hate to be stuck out here in the Bermuda Tarmac for the rest of my life."

What about those masks that drop down in the event of decompression? That's a pretty flimsy-looking apparatus, isn't it? Doesn't this look remarkably like a Parkay margarine cup on the end of an enema bag or something? They always have these bizarre instructions to start the flow of oxygen. "Tug down lightly on the cord." Yeah, you know when I'm shoulder-rolling at seven hundred miles per hour, "lightly" just isn't in my fucking vocabulary, all right? You know people are going to be Conaning those things right off the bulkhead. Something intrinsically cruel having the last forty seconds of your life turn into a "Lucy" skit.

I think instead of oxygen, they ought to pump in nitrous oxide. This way, if the plane does wreck - that first rescue team comes onto the scene - you're up in a tree still strapped in your seat just laughing your ass off. Guys say, "Bobby, get over here. Look how hip this guy is. I mean, he's naked, he's blue, he's howling. This cat is centered, huh?"

You know what I hate is when you're sitting in coach class and they pull that curtain on first class. Oh, I see, they paid and extra forty dollars and I'm a fucking leper. I always get the feeling that if the plane's about to wreck, the front compartment breaks off into a little Goldfinger miniplane. They're on their way to Rio and I'm a charcoal briquette on the ground.

You know who I feel sorry for in the whole air-travel scenario? It's the poor bastard who has to drive the jetway. You know that little accordion tentacle that weaves its way out to meet the plane? Everybody else is Waldo Pepperin' around in their Bobby Lansing leather bomber jackets, the right stuff coursing through their veins as they push the outside of the envelope. Your job is to drive the building.

A lot of qualifications to sit next to that exit door, huh? When did that happen? I've been a physical klutz for years. I'm like Clouseau. Nobody's ever said a word. All of a sudden they want me to be a fucking Navy SEAL. I guess they want to be sure the person sitting there doesn't panic in the event that the plane goes down in water. Item number 8 on the qualification list was "You must not be Ted Kennedy."

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Sexual Harrassment

All right, lets put our cards on the table. We got a dicey little subject this week: Sexual Harrassment. Now, its pretty easy for me to come out here week after week to do some high concept screed about how, for instance, I think violence is bad...oh, well, thank you Dr. Insight ! But this week were crotch-deep in a good old-fashioned quandary, arent we? The age old battle of the sexes situated in the Circus Maximus of the workplace. Look, I should tell you right up front that while I'm sure many of you think of me as the world's most insightful hermaphrodite, I am in fact a guy. So I ...so I have to confess that my first thoughts on this issue were well, it can't be all that bad, can it? Certainly a lot of these cases have to be trumped up, dont they? But then I flashed on the fact that much of what goes through my head is shot through the dick prism

You know, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but what do I really know about what it's like to have some fat, foul-breathed, ham-handed boss leaning over your shoulder while you type or laying his hands on your waist while you fax something? I have no idea about how it feels to have some leering, pawing, needy co-worker breathing down your cleavage while you try to keep the best job available in a small town without much opportunity so that you can put your kids in clothes without the help of a deadbeat ex-husband; that has got to be brutal . So all I can say, is to be really honest with you and myself about what I have observed in my forty years of dragging a penis around this pebble we call Earth (laughs). And that is this; I think men more often than not are probably guilty of a lot of the shit that they are being accused of. From my observations, a lot of guys act so badly and so stupidly with women in nightclubs and at the beach and on the street, I know that if they got some occupational leverage they would probably use it as a come-on.

Why are men like that? Well, because over the years men have written the rule book...not all men, sit down, Donahue . But many men have written the rule book that says its OK to look the other way when certain members of the male herd squeeze, pinch, and demean women. Well now the rules are finally being rewritten and as men and women go through this period of readjustment the bad behavior is coming back to haunt us, isn't it? Because nowadays were hearing more and more stories of men being accused of sexual harassment and instantaneously presumed guilty until proven innocent. But just because MANY men are guilty it is dangerous to jump to the conclusion that ALL men are guilty. All right, now that we understand our game, lets introduce tonights dualists; Jones vs. Clinton in the Board of Education building . Do I think something happened between them? I most certainly do; he's a powerful man who also happens to be a tenth degree horndog (laughs and applause) and you know something I think most of you will agree once you get beyond all this faux patriotic rebob about besmirching the Presidency with tawdry accusations, the fact is Bill Clinton probably achieved emeritus status in the Players club while governor of the state of Arkansas . There is too much rumor, too much innuendo, and just enough evidence; bottom line, folks, where there's smoke, there's friction.

You know, Stephanopoulos must be feeling like the guy that Louis B. Mayer assigned to accompany Erryl Flynn around town. Georgie-boy has become a sexual Red Adere and it appears our good president was sinking a whole lot of wells in the mid-80s . Having said that, do I think he sexually harassed Paula Jones? Hard to say and here's why: she did in fact receive several salary increases after the incident. Whatever cheesy chicanery went down in that hotel room it doesn't seem to have affected her wage-earning ability. I also think that it undermines her case a tad that it seems to be so much about the MONEY. Seven hundred thousand dollars? How'd they arrive at that figure, what's that, a hundred K per inch ? You know something, theres a fair to midland chance that old P.J. is a big-haired opportunist propped up by small-minded politically thwarted enemies of the President. Now having said that the sexual harassment charge might be suspicious; do I think that Paula Jones might have been compromised by the clumsy, sophomoric sexual advances of a presumptuous Huey not-so-Long type lording his power over a backwoods empire: yes I do .

Do I think that Paula Jones could have been embarrassed by the highest elected official in her state doing a Lurch impression with his Dockers down around his ankles : yes I do. But I would say this to Paula Jones; the next time a man drops his chinos in front of you, look him in the eye and say Listen, you silly son of a bitch, pull your pants up and start thinking with your big head for a change, OK pal? Look, nobody wants to make light of the serious crime against women that men commit far too often; but isnt that what frivolous complaints like Paula Jones are doing? We've gotta get clear with each other on how our respective gender tribes wield sexuality in this culture. Because some of this stuff should be a no-groiner.

Here are some guidelines: to the women who are ready to haul the bagboy at the

Safeway into court because he complimented you on your culottes , take the extra second and try to differentiate the innocuous from the malicious. And all the men who don't get the fact that when she says no she means no, well I'm telling you Quest-for-Fire-boy, she means NO , OK? Its over. Pack up your encyclopedias and go knock on the next fucking door . Let me also advance the following immodest proposal so we can all get on with our goddamn lives: I think we should pour all our time, energy, and know-how into genetically engineering a third sex that we can both fuck indiscriminately and never feel the need to phone the next morning. We could call them...recepticants! And they would heal the world.

And while this solution may seem silly, its no sillier than what were doing now; which is a tentative sexual two-step in which neither partner wants to lead, neither partner wants to follow, and everybody's feet are getting stepped on.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong

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Dysfunction

WHY DID JOHNNY FAIL IN SCHOOL? WHY DID Johnny start hanging out with heroin addicts? Why did Johnny get caught boosting stereo equipment? Why did he go to the big house? And why was he released two years later and then apprehended with a Mannlicher Carcano in a hotel room overlooking the President's motorcade route?

Well, Johnny will tell you, in this week's People magazine, that his problems are all about the fact that when he was five years old he was in the school play, and get this, Mummy arrived ten minutes late. You see, Mummy disempowered him. Mummy ruined Johnny's life.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but thanks to the notion of the dysfunctional family, every zipperhead in this country can now tap themselves with the Freudian wand and in a flash go from failed frog to misunderstood prince. Tad tubby? Mummy mistakenly thought food was love. You say you're angry. Must have been your brother's midnight wedgie raids. Huh?

Or maybe you haven't fulfilled your sappy little junior high daydream about being the greatest person on earth, hailed by all, from the lowliest bootlick to the richest barons of the industry -- And you just know it would have happened if only your selfish parents hadn't totally ruined your self-esteem by obsessing on paying the bills instead of obsessing on paying attention to you and your silly, talentless antics on the diving board at the public pool.

Listen -- folks, we all have dashed hopes, mere figments of futures crushed by graduations, jobs, marriages -- reality. Sure, it's tough waking up from a deep REM delirium starring you as the focal point of the universe to an Eraserhead reality in which you're the condiment guy at Der Wienerschnitzel. But you know something, that shouldn't give rise to this shrieking cacophony of blame.

Every day we get a new escape hatch from the psychiatric community: Co-dependency, addictive personalities, inherited personality disorder, multiple personality learning disorder, no personality whatsoever disorder, fetal membrane subcutaneous infectious submissive sexuality dislocator, Epstein Roseanne Barr . . . for Christ's sake, we are going over a Niagara of psychobabble in a barrel full of holes.

We have become a community of ragged recidivists dedicated to the proposition that all parents are created equally bad and the progeny/progenitor dynamic should be the landfill for all our personal shortcomings.

And if you're deep enough in denial to actually think that you did have a happy childhood, then your shrink will tell you, you must be forgetting something.

"Think back, think back, way back . . . would some drugs help you remember? . . . Maybe a subtle question or two will help jog your memory, like . . . did your auntie Hortense ever make you take a bath with her? Did your own father ever put his mouth on your stomach and blow? And what for, if not to humiliate you? Sure, there you go, there's a good reason why your friends make more money than you.

"Hey, Jinky, you shouldn't feel bad about flunking out of school and getting fired from the trampoline center. It's not your fault. It all goes back to when you were an embryo.

"Don't you feel better knowing that all your problems were laid on you, man? All right, we have to stop now, Mr. Jinkelstein. That'll be a hundred and eighty bucks. And now that we know you have more personal baggage than Joan Collins on safari, I think you should start coming in twice a day for the next four Olympics or so because I need to pay off my Lamborghini."

Look, I'm not insensitive to the real victims of abuse, the human casualties of alcoholic neglect. There are people out there who have been dealt absolutely fucking brutal cards, and it breaks your heart.

But you cannot join that club solely through intellectual ledgerdemain. Let's be honest; too many unhappy, unfulfilled, people see the bulletproof excuse of dysfunction lying there and pick it up like a cudgel to ward off any personal responsibility for their lives. And as long as we continue to allow people to make the easy turn and casually claim that they're victims, they will never even make the effort to Fitzcarraldo the boat over the mountain and achieve true personal victory.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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America the Touchy

NOW I DON'T WANT TO GET OFF ON A RANT HERE, but that's the problem with America. You can't tease anybody. I read now that gay people don't even want to be called gay anymore. They now wish to be referred to as Asian.

"Hey, what's Dennis saying there, man? Is Dennis saying all Asians are gay? Is Dennis saying all gays are Asian?" You know what I'm saying . . . all Asians are gay.

Now somewhere out there, there's an Asian person talking pen to paper in protest. And I want you to hear me out . . . put the pen down, it was a joke. Walk away from it. Let it go. It never happened. It was a comment on how pathetically neurotic we've all become over our own little piece of turf. Obviously, you know don't believe that all Asians are gay. For Christ's sake there's a billion of you, I know somebody's fucking out there, okay?

And yet this is what it's come to.This is what it's come to in contemporary America. Everybody's broken off into these petulant little Travis Bickle tribes. Everybody walks the perimeter of their own damaged esteem ever-vigilant against an incursion by They, Them. The Other Guys. Everybody's touchy and everybody's encouraged to be touchy, everybody that is . . . except me: the White Anglo-Saxon male. I'm everybody's asshole. Black people think I'm oppressive and physically deficient. Women think I'm oafish and horny. Gay people think I'm overly macho and latently homosexual. And Asians think I'm lazy and stupid. Hey, you think you've got an ax to grind? I'm fuckin' Paul Bunyan over here, okay, folks?

And if I'm expected to be genial, there's a principle of reciprocity here, I expect you to do the same. Why are we so hung up on the name calling? We are all such overgrown babies. As it turns out adult life is just a tall grade school: "You suck," "With your mouth," "Hi, my mouth," "Hi, me." It's embarrassing. I can't believe it, the playground is way back there in the mist. We've got to let it go and get on with it. Why do you think we get hung up on all the little bullshit?

I have a theory: I think we're far less evolved ourselves. I know we consider ourselves to be very nineties creatures, we take it all in, we deal with it . . . we put it back out. We are just the hippest little creatures, but you know something? I think in a deep gut level we're scared shitless. We live in a madhouse and it's brought into our living rooms on a day-to-day level via CNN. And we see things that we probably aren't equipped to even vaguely get our head around. Children in Somalia . . . the atrocities in Bosnia -- Cal-a-frag-a-listic-ex-pee-al-a-docious. I think all this shit comes down and we think, "Christ, it really is out of control."

So what we do is we take all the little bullshit things, we trump it up into something bigger than it actually is, something we can mold and handle, and in some vague pathetic way keep our feet tethered to the planet.

And that's why this entire country has turned into Gladys Kravitz from "Bewitched."

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

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The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Radio - 4x07

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The Family Experience
Tory Leaders: Who is the hardest?
Mark Hurst - Hostages/Musicals/John Major/Kane toads/Old clothes/Recorder/Seeing bands
The Correspondence Experience - Letter about nothing/Request for Christmas gift ideas
The Work Experience
Prudential ad parody ('I want to be...')
Punchline Competition: Mohammed Ali and Saddam Hussein
Christmas Pantomime (1). Additional cast: Mark Hurst (Final appearance).

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The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Radio - 4x06

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Pre-sig: Audience member asked to leave
Sig tune (Hamlet cigar parody/Retirement home in Dulwich)
Thatcher's Resignation
Children In Need
Tracy Brothers link: 'Bison in your towels...'
Punchline Competition: What did the Queen say to Mrs Thatcher?
The Correspondence Experience (Tory leaders)
The Music Experience (Part 2)
The Tracy Brothers: 'Get Your Knob Out'
Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn
Tracy Brothers: 'Gig on a wit...'
Entertaining The Troops (3)
Credits (Recorder). Additional cast: The Tracy Brothers.

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The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Radio - 4x05

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The Medical Experience
The Having Workman In Experience
Mark Hurst - Unmeltable chocolate bar/Gangster films/Prequels/Condoms
The Correspondence Experience (Favourite swear words)
The Drugs Experience
The Music Experience (Part 1)
Entertaining The Troops (2)
Credits (Satanic). Additional cast: Mark Hurst.

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The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Radio - 4x04

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Intro - Jonathan Ross
The Sport Experience
Common European Currency
Mark Hurst - Rupert Murdoch/Tabloids/Divorce laws/Bad relationships/True love
The Correspondence Experience (Adverts)
The Swearing Experience
Superstition
Entertaining the Troops (1)
Credits (Geoffrey Howe). Additional cast: Mark Hurst.

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The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Radio - 4x03

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Intro - New football superleague
The Animals Experience
The Fireworks Experience
Punchline Competition (Channel Tunnel diggers)
The Death Experience
The Sleep Experience
The Correspondence Experience (Encounters with celebrities)
Mark Hurst - Childhood
Vidal Sassoon (Going into hiding)
Credits (Vidal Sassoon). Additional cast: Mark Hurst.

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