Monday, November 21, 2005

If You Can't Beat 'Em....Ignore 'Em

As I usually do during the teaching day, I was listening to little snippets of the Ernie Brown show on my trips between schools, and today, he was in rare form, ridiculing political correctness (a favorite whipping boy here at The Musings as well) once again . The story du jour was the recent flap about Wal-Mart replacing the use of "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays":
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday said it no longer employs a worker who wrote to a shopper that Christmas is a mix of world religions, but that the company does support the generic greeting, "Happy Holidays," as being more inclusive amid year-end celebrations by numerous faiths.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights criticized the world's largest retailer and called for a boycott over Wal-Mart's approach to Christmas.

"We want a) an apology for insulting Christians by effectively banning Christmas and b) a withdrawal of its insane statement regarding the origins of Christmas and c) a revision on its website," Catholic League President Bill Donohue said on the group's Web site.
Heh, I thought to myself, boycott Wal-Mart? That shouldn't be too hard for me, even though I did have to go in one in Stephenville the other night, strictly by default.

As Ernie pointed out, it used to be an uplifting thing to tell someone "Merry Christmas," but now it's considered an insult by some. But you know what? If someone gets offended by such an innocent, almost always well-intentioned greeting, that's their problem, not mine. And I think that Ernie was onto something good when he said that the best way to fight the PC problem is just not to let yourself get sucked in by it at all. Give people whatever holiday greetings you see fit, and if someone doesn't like it, they don't have to listen. (The funny thing is, I'm probably even a bit more accommodating, since I'll readily wish someone I know to be Jewish a Happy Hanukkah, but yet I wouldn't be offended in the least if they responded in kind. Can there ever really be too much happiness spread around?)

The callers on the show today brought up some good points, including the fact that many of the people who are offended by the use of "Merry Christmas" would squeal like a stuck pig if the perks of the holiday were taken away from them. Offended by the word Christmas? OK, then you lose your Christmas bonus. You don't get December 25th as a holiday, either. What's that, you say--that's different? But hang on--can you really have it both ways?

At some point in time, most sane, rational, mature people will have some sort of "tipping point"-type event that will make them say "enough already!" to the PC plague. Me, I got there a long time ago, but then, I was born white and male, so I guess I never had a chance with the PC crowd. But as I've said before, I've read the Constitution, and among those "inalienable rights" listed in the Preamble, "the right to not get one's feelings hurt" is nowhere to be found. So those who waste their lives (and lungs) complaining about things like that should indeed just be ignored, just like little kids throwing temper tantrums...which is really what they are, in adult bodies, most of the time.

I'm sure this subject won't go away anytime soon, so I'm likely to make fun of it again in future posts.

Oh, Please... (10/22/04)
Political Correctness Run Amok (10/28/04)
P.C. as a Jazz Bassist? Good. P.C. as a Lifestyle? Ridiculous (8/6/05)
P.C. Takes It on the Chin, For Once (11/8/05)

What can Brown do for you, or the importance of being Ernest: I've mentioned the Ernie Brown show before, because it's very entertaining and covers a lot of good topics, but I haven't yet discussed this cool personal connection (which could almost qualify as a Fun Fact): I've learned in the past month that the Ernie Brown who's on the air now is the same one who was my Little League teammate in Houston when I was in fourth grade (he was in fifth). I'd listened to the show during his previous stint on KRLD and noted the name coincidence, but I didn't think much of it until he came back to Dallas a few months ago and mentioned quite a few things about growing up in Houston, which led me to believe that he was indeed the same guy. I eventually contacted him; we compared notes by email and discovered that it was true. He stopped by my Broadway Bistro gig a few weeks ago, and it was great to talk to him after all that time. Not only is he a really cool guy, but he's 100% real; the guy on the air and the guy in the flesh are totally one and the same--a refreshing thing in a business where so many people are fake. It just makes me appreciate the show even more. At any rate, that's my "full disclosure," I suppose; if I quote the show a few times, it's not just because I enjoy it as a listener.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We thought you guys were Mormon....or maybe a hockey team."--a couple of off-duty Chili's waitresses/bartenders at Bennigan's last night, after seeing our group of fifty or so fraternity brothers--mostly all dressed up in coats and ties--arrive after an induction.


Eric Grubbs said...

I think you can say the same about something as harmless as "Have a good day," "Take care" and "Take it easy." It's just a nice gesture instead of saying something derogatory.

My question is, who are these people that get offended by a comment like "Merry Christmas"? Is this like how Chris Rock put it something like this once: "Spice Girls sold millions of records but I can't find a single person that owns one of them"? My point is, these people are out there but we're hard pressed to find them. When they get their say in the channels we frequent, this leaves only one thing to do: ridicule them.

Rant on my bloggin' buddy!

Shawn said...

I say Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving, or happy Holidays at work lately (As the other booksellers do as well) and no one has a problem with it. And if they do, well I could honestly care less. It's going out of my way to wish them good and if they are insulted, then they aren't ready for the real work and their minority religion which they seem to not get by from.

Also, the other day we got a shipment of a new documentary about Wal-Mart and how bad it is with employees and why they can be so cheap. I believe it's called "Wal-Mart the High Cost of Low Price." It looks very interesting but I'd hate to buy it for $10 only to be completely appalled. Although slightly off topic, I thought I'd mention that.

Anonymous said...

To Kev (and your friend Ernie) I say go get em guys! WE are responsilbe for our own feelings/reactions, not the other way around so if they are offended by someone wishing them well, too bad! THEY have issues!

To Shawn: What I can't understand is that if Walmart is so bad to its employees, how can they have so many stores open and making profits? Surely they can't be worse than any other company; especially those companies who try to get rid of their older employees and hire younger ones in at less salary!

Kev said...

Eric: The people who get offended are the ones who have way too much time on their hands and decide to launch careers as "activists." The attention they get way outlasts their allotted 15 minutes of fame, but they become so in love with the notoriety that they'll pretty much say anything just to get more attention (cf. Cindy Sheehan, etc.).

Anon: I'm pretty sure that a company can do just fine, profit-wise, and still treat their employees badly. For one thing, cutting benefits to employees would almost certainly guarantee that the higher-ups/shareholders got a bigger piece of the profit. Also, there's bound to be an almost unending pool of potential Wal-Mart employees among their downtrodden target clientele, because in hard times, a job's a job.

Kev said...

Oh, and Shawn, if I were to ever buy that book about Wal-Mart, I'd make sure to buy it across the street at Super Target. ;-)