Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What is and is not politically correct?

I fully intended to be writing about something entirely different from what you are about to read.
I had a different topic in mind as I left the house Monday morning (an aside to Wayne Beck, that would be May 4) and I had been mulling it over much of the morning as I thought about sitting down at Robin Palmer’s computer at The News-Herald to a little composing.
Hey, if Beethoven could do a little composing when the mood struck him, why can’t I?
But I digress.
Monday morning, and throughout the lunch hour, I got so much response to the final thoughts expressed in this space last week that I felt compelled to have a few more things to say about political correctness.
The first half of last week’s column, about Andrews Osborne Academy and about Dan and Carol Fishwick, also got a thumbs up from everyone who had something to say about it.
But so many readers made unsolicited comments about the other subject, political correctness (PC), that I feel I must say a little more about it.
It was used here in the context of the opera that was rescheduled at South High in Willoughby because of an anonymous complaint that it violated the so-called “separation clause” of the First Amendment.
But the often-abused amendment says only that Congress shall not enact any laws to establish a religion in the United States.
The word “separation” exists only in the minds of people who have nothing better to worry about at a time when the Indians have lost more games than they have won this season.
Which brings us to baseball and further onslaughts against common sense in the name of PC.
I must point out that I love the Indians, and I have since 1936, when Grandpa Sherman used to take me to League Park in his stately Buick and pay residents who lived near Lexington and E. 66th Street 50 cents to park in a front yard so we could go to the ball game.
The Tribe is near and dear to my heart, and nothing will ever change that. But there are three things about them that drive me batty.
Maybe it is deliberate on the part of the team. Driving me batty, that is.
The first thing I hate about the Indians is the Sunday uniforms that have no names on the back. This is an extreme disservice to fans watching the game because there are only a handful of players who can be recognized by their appearance. There are so many new relief pitchers marching in from the bullpen that there is no way of knowing who they are solely by the numbers on their backs.
I have complained to team Vice President Bobby DiBiasio about this situation more times than I can count. But he is a company man, and defends the practice.
I even complained once to the owner, Paul Dolan, when he spoke at a meeting I attended, but he shrugged it off.
So they will be happy to hear that I have now decided to stop worrying about it.
The second thing that bugs me, which I attribute solely to PC, is the mindless manner in which Chief Wahoo is being phased out on the telecasts and being replaced by the Block C.
Yes, I know. Chief Wahoo is still around. He is on some of the baseball caps and sleeves of the players. But have you noticed what representation of the team adorns the clothing of the vast majority of fans at the games?
It is not the Block C. There may be some of them in the grandstand, but by far most of the symbols in evidence are of Chief Wahoo.
The voice of the people is clear. No matter what the team, the protesters and the PC people think, average folks really like Chief Wahoo – and always will.
Here is something a little more subtle. When Rick Manning and Matt Underwood, two outstanding analysts, by the way, show a replay, the TV screen dissolves and a Block C appears.
It used to be Chief Wahoo that appeared in that space. Now it is the Block C. Pay attention next time. You will see it. Not that there is anything you – or I – can do about it. It is a corporate decision that reeks with PC.
Here is the third and final thing that makes my skin crawl. Figuratively, of  course. My skin has never actually crawled since I was in third grade and I was out in the rain and my corduroy knickers got soaked.
It is the name of the place where the Indians play. Progressive Field. I am fully aware that it is the name of an insurance company which paid a handsome sum for the privilege.
But to me it reeks of politics. And it is not my brand of politics.
If you disagree, it is your First Amendment right to do so. So don’t bother telling me about it. You have a right to your opinion and I have mine.
Please respect mine. But when you are in my company, keep yours to yourself. I say that with all appropriate kindness and understanding of our differences.
But if you don’t mind too much, my brother and I will continue to call the place where they play “The Jake.”
We are not politically correct.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am neither PC nor a protestor, but Chief Wahoo is a grotesque. How pompous of you to suggest that average folk will always "really like" this cartoonish image of an American Indian. Do people REALLY care about Wahoo? No. People like you oppose the change to the C only because you feel the team is being either politically correct or corporate. Well, guess what? The Indians ARE a corporation, so the "legal person" that matters apparently thinks it is time for this image to be phased out. There are many examples in sport of being able to have an honorable portrayal of an American Indian that gets support. Even the Washington Redskins only face protests for the name, not for the logo that adorns their helmets.

"If you disagree, it is your First Amendment right to do so. So don’t bother telling me about it. You have a right to your opinion and I have mine."

Then don't post blogs that allow for comment.

May 8, 2015 at 12:31 PM 

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