We’ve taken political correctness to ridiculous extremes in this country, and I’ve ranted about it before. These days you can scarcely say or do anything without offending someone. It just depends on who observes your actions and whether they opt to play the PC card (and these days we have far too much playing of cards).
CNN did so today in what struck me as a really sad excuse for a news story. It seems that recently in Arizona there was a roast of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. A representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, attended the roast and recorded the goings on. According to CNN, the voice recording included some racist remarks by State Sen. John Kavanagh (R):
“Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love, as long as you have papers,” Kavanagh quips in the recording.
“Going out with Joe is always an adventure,” he continues, “because usually when we walk into a restaurant, most of the waitstaff and cooks dive out the back window, and when they don’t, I never know what the hell’s in my food.”
That’s just a sampling.
CNN leaped into action and sent a female Hispanic reporter (to ensure a biased report?) to cover the outrage. Kavanagh declined to be interviewed but Arpaio, never one to shy from the cameras, agreed to talk to her. She asked if he was offended by Kavanagh’s remarks. No. Why not? Kavanagh’s a friend and it was a roast. Well, I’m Hispanic and I’m offended. Goodie for you, lady. You were not an invited guest. Neither, I suspect, was the SPLC member who recorded the evening’s remarks.
Seriously, did she not understand what a roast is? It certainly didn’t sound like it. Roasts, which I don’t care for at all, are intended to roast the guest of honor. Friends tell jokes at the expense of the honoree. During the few roasts I’ve been unfortunate enough to come across on TV, the jokes usually consisted of insults, cheap shots, crude language, bathroom humor, etc.
It seems safe to assume that if you are roasting a man like Joe Arpaio, and the guests are all friends of Arpaio who probably have much in common with him, many of the jokes and insults about him are going to center on his well-known treatment of illegal immigrants in Maricopa County.
It was a roast. Roasts are, almost by definition, politically incorrect. And it was closed to the press. Don’t go to (or sneak a recording of) an event like that sponsored by a group like the Western Conservative Conference for a man like Arpaio and then complain about being offended by what you hear.