Tuesday, May 4, 2010

We Need Norman Lear

Norman Lear had a way of exposing the hollow center of people who were afraid of social upheaval and blamed anyone different from them for anything they didn't like. His archetypal creation was Archie Bunker, a middle aged white guy meeting 1970 with the social awareness of 1950. His every gaffe, malapropism, and outright expression of bigotry was an opportunity for us to laugh and for his educated son-in-law to explain--to Archie and the nation--why Archie's way of thinking was outdated or just plain wrong. And the nation listened. All in the Family took on the most sensitive topics of the day, and it was the number one show for years.

Who is the next Norman Lear out there, ready to present a smart political sitcom that exposes the inconsistencies, switchbacks, and muddleheaded thinking of the Tea Party to the regular laughter of today? We need you.

Here is some of Archie Bunker's classic humor from the early 1970s. Any parallel to the present is purely intentional.

Archie: ....Petey, the white-nosed Commie.
Larry: Petey? A Commie?
Archie: That's right. Remember that night we was all talkin' about Spiro Agnew--and what did Petey say?
Larry: He didn't say nothin'.
Archie: On orders from you-know-who. That's how them Commies work. And you're his friend.

You think William Buckley's gonna give blood to some Commie punk what's just blowin' up a building?

"And the rib which Lord God had taken from man made He a woman and brought her unto the man. And Adam said this is now a bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh and shall be called woman because she was taken out of man." There it is in black and white! So we didn't crawl out from under the rocks and we didn't have tails and we wasn't a bunch of monkeys neither, you atheistic pinko meathead, you!

Archie: Listen, you and me had this argument before over Jesus and I ain't going over old ground again. Jesus was white and so was Santa Claus.
George (who is black): Listen Bunker--when I was a kid, the guy who filled my stocking on Christmas Eve was black.

Your colored run faster. They jump higher. They don't bruise as easy. And because of their what you call it, jungle heritage, they see a lot better, good for night games. All I'm sayin' is it was unfair to the white ball players...who weren't exactly fortunate enough to be born with the same natural endorsements.

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