Opinion

Be wise to audience in sharing humor | Publisher's column

I’m not politically correct.

Hopefully that admission won’t land me in the kind of hot water that’s currently boiling TV cooking show host Paula Deen. Her career is falling faster than a bad butter soufflé.

That said, I was raised not to use the “N” word. Had that word spilled out of my mouth, my “politically correct” mother would have — as she was apt to threaten — slap me right into next week. And justifiably so.

I believe I have enough Native American blood running through my veins that I can publicly say I don’t buy into the kind of political correctness that recently led the Port Townsend School Board to drop the “Redskins” as their mascot. Others may be offended by that mascot, I get that.  I am not.

I’m not so uptight that I don’t enjoy a politically-incorrect joke on occasion. I’m a horrible joke teller myself. After countless awkward attempts at joke telling, I don’t even try anymore.

Schools in particular, I believe, tend to be over politically correct. Society as a whole has led to these microcosms where our children are held to a rigid set of rules and standards that sometimes seem to defy common sense. Fighting back, for example, is NOT allowed.

Several years ago, I went to my son’s middle school and argued with the vice principal. Earlier in the day, my son was walking down the hall of the school talking to a friend when another kid, one he didn’t know, came up behind them and smashed their heads together. It was a pretty solid “thud.” My son’s immediate response was to turn and hit the other kid.

The vice principal explained to me that my son was wrong to fight back. Instead of defending himself, he should have gone to  a teacher and reported the assault on him and his friend.

Uh huh!

My son was suspended from school for two days. The instigator was suspended for a week. The one lesson my son learned that day was that life is sometimes unfair.

I’ve learned some lessons during my lifetime as well.

First, while I don’t drink from the well of pure political correctness, there is a line it is wise not to cross.

Second, to be aware of my audience, because irreverent humor doesn’t resonate with everyone.

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