Let's get politically correct or Jingle Balls (Come Write In #20)

Can I say that? Is it still okay to use the words ‘political’ and ‘correct’? Should I say, let’s get in keeping with the popular or majoritively held notion of what should or should not be? And I apologise for the non-existent word of ‘majoritively’. That’s very poor English – or should I say grammatically challenged?

Are you tied in knots yet? I really could go on like this but perhaps that would be boring (or interest depletitive).

I am inspired to write this now by a post by Alison Johnston in Facebook and although not an original one (sorry Alison) I viewed it on her wall at the same time as I was thinking about the animated classic “Aristocats” that my daughter and I had just finished watching.

It’s a lovely film in many ways and for some reason that song “Everybody wants to be a cat” inspires me to use my lungs when I sing along. However, there are some things that make it unacceptable by today’s standards.

• A beloved uncle goose is thrown out of a café for being a lazy drunkard. The attitude by his nieces is loving tolerance, perhaps, yet he is a figure of ridicule rather than of concern or any effort to help in any way. He is drunk and on the streets.
• O’Malley cat tries to get it on with the Duchess! Is this appropriate behaviour to be viewed by children?
• The butler ‘did it’ as well as tried to dispose of the cats in order to get the wealthy Madam’s will. At least he didn’t actually try to kill Madam. But what a cad. Surely reporting him to the police would have been more appropriate than posting him to Timbuktu in a locked chest with no air holes. Hmmm.

Okay, tenuous objections at best. But there are thousands of examples. Here’s another: Tom and Jerry. Do I really need to list them – mostly of extremely violent nature? Or does Itchy and Scratchy in The Simpsons have that one pretty much covered?

I watched Men in Black yesterday. At first, when Robyn became interested, I was a tad concerned about some of the content so I vigorously explained that the Squid mother giving birth was not really hurting the policeman, she was just giving him vigorous cuddles while trying to pop out her baby squid (my daughter at the ripe old age of 8 has seen sheep and guinea pigs giving birth so she has that concept all processed and understood … hoping she can wait a few years before querying how they get into the mummy’s tummy in the first place though!!!)

Anyway, I guess shooting an alien’s head off is okay because it grows back; and watching a giant cockroach eat a man is also okay because he blows its stomach up with the gun the bug ate first – and the bug was a very, very bad, nasty creature!

I put all of this and the way I guided by daughter through the film down to being the proactive practice of parental guidance! Perhaps that is the key.

Anyway, political correctness is now coming very sharply into focus as it seems to do whenever there are Christian or other religious or political celebrations in the Western world.

I have read articles in recent weeks where kindergartens in Australia have banned visits from Santa or Christmas decorations and the playing of carols. One Montessori kinder in Victoria is a case in point – Santa Banned – and although I appreciate their non-denominational approach to religious and other belief systems, I really think they got it wrong. Either you celebrate the holiday or you don’t. What you don’t do is sing altered Christmas carols with references to why it is a celebration all removed. And you do need to exercise respect for the backgrounds of people with whom you are in contact.

I make the point here that I am not Christian. Perhaps I practice some of the principles because I think they are good! And yes, I celebrate Christmas because it is a part of my upbringing. I am not willing to let that part of my childhood go. However, celebrating one does not mean you disrespect others! I don’t celebrate other religious festivals. I have no knowledge of Buddhism, any of the Jewish holidays, Ramadan or so forth, but I try to exercise respect for other people’s passionate beliefs.

Some may argue that Christmas is not a true religious celebration. Sure, the date is suspect. Cynics get on the commercialism vs gifting bandwagon. A Christmas tree … are there any cypress pines in the middle east (perhaps?) but definitely not with snow on them. Christmas cards; did Hallmark really promote this? And Santa? Bloody hell … stranger danger line crosser much?

The angle I take is that people are ‘giving’. They are wishing people happiness. They contact people they have not seen for a long time. They share food together. They spare a thought and hopefully a few dollars for the less fortunate. They stop and contemplate the values of theirs and others’ lives. They rest. Whether all of this is based on a passionate observation of Christ or not, it cannot be considered a bad thing in a world that often forgets generosity.

So, I’m ignoring my solicitor’s advice and I’m just going to say it. Have a wonderful, happy, generous, humbling, loving and very merry Christmas everyone.

Just thinking about a Merry Christmas
Just wanting a joyous season for all
Just deciding ‘bah humbug’ to the cynics and putting it out there for a wonderful new year to everyone

Journal Comments

  • Cathryn Swanson
  • Lawford