Tuesday, November 08, 2005

P.C. Takes It on the Chin, For Once

Longtime Musings readers may recall how I've railed against political correctness in all its forms in several previous posts. Actually, except for the bassist Paul Chambers, the great tune ("Mr. P.C.") that John Coltrane named after him, and my late pet rabbit that I named after the tune, I'm not a big fan of anything with the initials P.C. (including computers, since I'm a die-hard Mac man). But political correctness has been running amok in our society for a long time, so it's nice to see it get turned back at the gate every now and then.

I meant to post on this topic quite some time ago, when I first heard the story: The Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement was contemplating changing its name to "West Settlement" because the current name is...well, un-P.C.:
The "White'' part is just not right for today's business world, Mayor James Ouzts said.

"When people see the name, the question of race comes to mind. They ask `What is that all about? Why is that name there?' '' Ouzts said.

"If you start out in a negative spot, it's hard to overcome that.''
Granted, many locals were not in agreement with the name-change idea; one city official noted that if this change were to take place, they might as well change the name of the White House too. Where does it stop?

OK, if the town had a history as a Klan stronghold or something, it might have been a different story. But that's not the case at all: The town got its name back in the 1840's when a small enclave of Anglos settled near a number of Indian camps. (And I'm not paying any mind to those who might even say that I'm un-P.C. for using the word "Indian" to describe someone not from the vicinity of New Delhi. Sheesh.) And if the voters were to approve the measure, a city that's already strapped for cash would have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to change everything from stationery to city vehicles to the water tower...all because someone might get their feelings hurt. As the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's history columnist pointed out, "[i]t just means that there was a group of whites who were daring enough to come west and settle in the midst of the Indians. We are going to lose the record of what the city meant historically.''

My definitive thoughts on this matter were posted a few months ago:
I remember when I was a little kid, and I would (as kids always do) get teased by other kids who called me bad names. I'd run home and complain to Mom about it, and she'd usually offer that timeless motherly pearl of wisdom: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." But since the whole political-correctness movement took hold in the early '90s, that old "momily" has been turned on its side...so that now, it's more like "If you hurt me with words, I'll break your bones with sticks and stones." Bleh. And people wonder how we've cultivated such a culture of victims and whiners who sue each other at the drop of a hat.
As Joe Bob Briggs might say, I don't want to have to tell you this again.

But the best news came just a few minutes ago, when I was watching the 10:00 news: The voters rejected the name change by a huge margin (2388 against, 219 for). The good guys win one this time.

How low can you go? A bass-trombonist friend sent me a link to a page for a very unusual horn called the tubax. It has the same range as a contrabass saxophone (an octave below the bari!), but it's smaller (relatively speaking, of course) and much cheaper than having an actual "contra" custom-made for you. Be sure and listen to this clip of a guy playing "Stardust" on the tubax.

1 comment:

Eric Grubbs said...

Whenever I hear about this kind of P.C. tom foolery, all I can think is that this is the lowest common denominator raising their voice. Whenever they do, we all laugh at them.