Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 25, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Archie Bunker: funny, but not lovabl Thursday, May 25, 1972 THE lETIIBKIDGE 3 By nahbi Simon L. Eckstein, in The Ottawa Citizen TVTILLIONS of Americans and J Canadians, with a regu- larity that borders upon re- ligious zeal, turn to a television program title is a stroko of genius. CBS introduced the program "All In The Family" about two years ago and it has been off and running ever since. Along the way it has engendered more disputes than just about any show in recent history. And the title itself, for me at least, re- mains a crucial aspect of it. All In The Family was the phrase chosen to depict the life of Archie Bunker, his long-suf- fering wife, liis adolescing daughter, and her almost liber- al husband. The four of them co-inhabit, a painful shabby home, with Arciiie the lord of the manor. Arciiie, the blue- collar worker, hard hat and red-necked, ventilating upon his family the frustrations of his own existence. And out of those frustrations, spewing forth ev- ery kind of hateful and hate- filled statement one can possi- bly create. Several weeks ago, I watched It, and I sat there in a state of shock. It was worse far worse than 1 had imagined, and it was funny, and I laugh- ed, and I hated myself for laughing, and I ended up pretty confused. For three or four weeks in a row I watched it, and by now my emotions are sufficiently sorted out. It is a very funny show. It is almost impossible to watch it without laughing. But what is the humor all about? The humor is the humor of a dirty story, the kind that men de- light to tell each other. Only now the dirty story is out in the open, and the shock of seeing it and hearing it publicly is part of the humor. One of the complaints, voiced by Laura HoliFon of Gentle- man's Agreement, was that Archie is "a lovable bigot." I know what she is trying to say, but the truth of the matter is thai Arciiie is not a lovable bigot. He is a bigot, but he is not lovable. He is a despot whose prejudices are implaci> ble. His mind is totally closed in a condition that is clearly terminal. He just is not going to change- I have yet to see him perform one single act of decency or compassion or un- derstanding or love. If he is lovable, then bigotry is lovable. He calls blacks "colored" to their faces, and behind the'r he refers to them as spades, spooks, coons. "There's one tiling Archie Screen violence: contagious? T r e c e n t U.S. Surgeon General's report on the ef- fects of TV violence on children is being supported in several ways by the research of a Uni- versity of Utah psychologist. The psychologist, Dr. Victor B. dine, adds motion pictures to the list of media that may be leading Americans into a i era of unrelenting violence and exploitive sex devoid of love and responsibility. "Evidence is mounting that motion picture; and television can alter behavior patterns, in- fluence values and atlitudes slid possibly conl.ribule to changes in life styles." Clino remarked aflrr rondudinq a re- cent study of theatre fare in his home town. "By making violence appear glamnrous and exciting and il- licit sex normal and desirable, these media ar" seHing the stage for a society based on aspres s i o n and irresponsibil- ity." he added. To examine some of today's theater offerings, Clino and four of his research assistants sat through 37 movies in one week in Salt Lake City. After care- fully analyzing the films' con- tent, themes, values, behavior By David Hendin, NBA Service of heroes, etc., they found the following in the 37 films: 833 aggressive acts. 566 sexual acts or displays. 59 murders. 89 "justifiable killings." 76 attempted murders. 11 massacres. six bombings. 163 nude scenes. It all averaged out to some 23 acts of violence and 15 epi- sodes of sex per film. And these weren't "skin flick Cline says, because there are no hard core pornographic the- atres in Salt Lake City. Break- ing down the films by 16 per cent were 2i per cenl "R." -16 per cent "PG" aud 14 per cent "G." In 57 per cent of the films the movie watchers found that dishonesty was presented in a heroic light. In 33 per cent, criminal activity was made lo "pay and was presented ss a success f u I, exciting pas- time with no negative conse- quences. In 43 per cent of the films the heroes were lawbreakers or antisocial characters. In per cent of the films, pre-marital and extra marital sexual rela- tions were presented as "nor- mal, acceptable and desirable." Only one film out of the 37 depicted sexual relations be- tween a man and a woman le- gally married to each other. According to the Sur g e o n General's report, there is a cau- link between the exposure of some children to television violence and subsequent aggres- sive behavior. "Psychologists have for years demonstrated, for example, that you have overcome a person's fear of snakes by gradually ex- posing him to others who cas- ually play with Cline pried. "It rtands lo reason lhat you can change altitudes and emotional responses to vio- lence, sex and various antiso- cial behavior by repeated expo- sure." The real question raised by all of this research, however, is tliis: Is the violence in tele- vision and the movies the cause of troubles in our society? Or is the trouble in our society, perhaps, being accurately por- trayed by these media? It all hoi's down to the chick- en or the egg riddle, and since we don't know where these be- havior patterns come from, we are hard put to find ways to stop them. Bunker ain't ever gonna he boasts, "and that is break bread with any jungle-bun- Jews are always Hebes, or Chosen People, or Yids. Chi- nese are Chinks. Poles are al- ways dumb Polacks. And just about everyone else in his life, is a Commie, pinko, spic, pansy, bleeding-heart, dingbat, meathead, tamale eater, fairy, fruit, or fag. He is willing lo do anything for a buck. His scruples are questionable; his ill will, un- speakable. His sex concept, Victorian prudery. Greedy, cruel, bigoted, insensitive. His wife is a dingbat. His daughter is a dope, and his son-in-law a meathead. This is the man they call lovable? What makes people call him lovable is the same tiling that makes the program acceptable. It is Uie fact that Arciiie Bunk- er is going to lose. He stands for everything we despise, and we pay to watch him lose. And he does. He loses every time. Every plan he has is doomed to failure. Every per- son he tries to belittle or cheat or brow-beat in the end dcfeals him. The Jew, the black, the Chinese, the liberal, they all de- feat Archie- This was for years the thesis of the theatre. Every film maker followed a code of con- duet, and that code demanded that the criminal always lose. He could live like a king for 90 minutes, but at the end lie must be brought to justice, while everyone silently cheered the truth recorded at Sinai, CRIME DOES NOT PAY. Of course, out there in fho slreel, in the world of reality, ciime very often did pay. And justice was very often denied. And the police were very often the crooks. But inside the thea- tre, the morality charade con- tinued. Do you want to see All In The Family change in an instant from, humor into horror? Let Arciiie win. Just once. Just once let Archie be triumphant and the comedy becomes trage- dy. Archie, the loser, is funny and unreal. Arciiie, the winner, is monstrous and very real. Easy Choice. FIVE STAR CANADIAN RYE WHISKV JOSEPH E. SEAGRAM i SONS LIMITED WATERLOO. ONTARIO, CANADA 25 02. The smooth taste of quality that is unmistakably Seagram's. Seagram's FIVE STAR Canada's largest-selling rye whisky. Blended and bolllcd by Joseph E Seagram Sons Ltd., Waterloo, Out. The liberals who watch the program smile in smug super- iority over the life and follies of Archie. But tho rednecks of America watch him and cheer. He has made their world re- speciablc, They don't care that lie loses. He is I heir hero, and he speaks their thoughts. For the Arclu'e Bunkers of this world exist. They exist and they are the ones who make things possible. Like lynchings and Buchcnwalds, night riders and beatings. They may participate in the deeds, but their mouths and their atti- tudes create the setting- Be- hind every lynching is a city of Archie Bunkers with their Hebes and their Yids. Before you can destroy a per- son, or a people, you must de- humanize them. The atrocities of Vietnam are one case in point. Tile Archie Bunkers do the dehumanizing, and '.he night riders follow after. If he is lovable on television, a thesis I deny, lie would not be lovable in your neighbor- hood. And you would not want him for your neighbor, and he would net want yu! And yet Archie Bunker exists. He is the voice of people never had a hero on ts'e- vision before. He is the blue collar worker who can never live in your neighborhood. He is hard-working with no place to go. Frustrated, bitter, be- lieving the world has somehow played on him a monstrous joke, a dirty trick, he is trap- ped and he is filled with rage. I.cf not the laughter blind nor tho humor hir'c tlio truth. Archie Bunker is not lovable, cr likable. But neither is the world ]-e the world that is too much for him, the world that hems him in. That world is our world, the only world we have. And we had belter take a belter look at the whole of it, st those we love and those we do not love, ?t those we know and those we do no', know, that we are bound together, tied together, locked together, part and parcel, single fate and single future. For the truth is we are all in the family, and the family needs our help. Emigrants By Leslie Colitt "RERUN In a gesture of good will to the West Ger- man government a nearly for- gotten group of Soviet citzens of German descent who have long desired to emigrate is now be- ing permitted to leave for West Germany. They are finding de- parture from Russia a lot eas- ier than the Soviet Jews. Trains arriving from Moscow at the Friedland resettlement crmp the West German bor- der with East Germany are un- loading whole families of Ger- mans whose ancestors first came to Russia under Empress Catherine the Great (herself a The latest Soviet cen- sus shows citizens of German "nationality" of whom have so far applied to leave. The names of many of the latest arrivals, who come from isolated collective farms in Uzbekistan, Tadzliikistan and Kazakhstan, were presented to the Soviet government by West German Foreign Minister Wal- ter Schccl last September in a list of 700 special hardship cases. Among them are Ger- mans left behind during the Second World War when their families trekked westward with the retreating German armies. Married couples who have been separated since the war Ere being reunited. Even some elderly widows of soldiers who fought on the German side are arriving to pick up generous West German pensions tor their fallen husbands. The Germans from the East report that after the war thou- sands of their compatriots who had lived for centuries along the Volga River and Black Sea and in the Ukraine settled in the "green lands" of Soviet Central Asia when they were forbidden to return to their traditional haunts. There they formed collective farms in which German with a Swabian or Hessian dialect Is siill spo- ken. The children of the repa- triated Germans who are dis- embarking at 1'riedland nearly all speak fluent German. If the Soviet authorities con- tinue lo he co-operative well over t.flflfl Soviet Germans will arrive Ibis year in Ihe West. Unlike .lews leaving the So- viet Union Ihe Germans are not forced tt> give up their jobs when '.hoy submit applications to leave. They do, however, au- tomatically renounced their So- viet citizenship. (WriKon for The Herald and The Observer, London) Britain makes the criminal pay The Boston Herald Traveler this year will put into effect J an interesting and innovative new theory of penology. Under terms of a new law, criminals will soon be made to pay compensation for their crimes. The embez- zler no longer will be able to serve his time in prison and get out to enjoy the money he stole. The fruits of fraud or theft mil be denied the criminal leaving jail through the application of bankruptcy laws forcing him to live frugally until the court is satisfied he has accounted fully for the money he stole. For criminals who have no means of making restoration or whose crime did not entail theft of property, the new system will provide that minor offenders make their payments to society in tJie form of community service. Such practical work as tending hospital gardens, looking after the elderly or aiding deprived families is likely. The criminal will not be punished by imprisonment alone; he will be made to pay for his crime in a way that makes up some of the loss it caused to society. The reason for this new venture in pen- ology is that Britain's prisons have be- come badly overcrowded and conditions for effective rehabilitation in them are poor. Nearly all prisoners are released sooner or laler and the British are willing to try a means of punishing the guilty by making him repay those he has injured at the same time he is being rehabilitated. Parallel conditions exist on the American prison scene, but the idea of making the convict repay the victims of his crimes has not been widely advanced here, though any benefits it might bring would be fully as welcome in America as in England. The victim of crime in America regains none of his loss tirnply because the criminal is caught and locked up. Making punishment not only fit the crime but provide some compensation for those who suffer from it is a bright new idea, and all eyes should be on England to see how it works On the use of word words By Theodore Bernstein pLORY BE. Originally British univer- sity slang, kudos is now generally re- garded as standard. It comes from a Greek word meaning glory and it denotes com- mendation for an The only trouble v.ith the word (more correct- ly the trouble is with users of the word) is that its final s misleads some people into thinking it is a plunil. Thinking thus, they assume the singular is kudo, but there is no such word. Kudos is a singular noun to begin with. There is no more reason to regard it as a plural than there is to as- sume that lens is a plural with a singular form Icn. Imply, infer. These two words are fre- quently confused. Imply means to suggest or say indirectly; infer means to deduce or conclude from facts or indications. The mistake most often made by confused users is to say infer when imply would be tha proper word. Example: "I did not mean to infer that you were dishonest." Sir Alan Herbert has been quoted as illustrating the distinction between the two words in this way: "If you see a man staggering along the road you may infer that he is drunk, without saying a word; but if you say, 'Had one too you do not infer but imply that he is drunk." In a general sort of way the implier is the pitcher and the inferrer is the catcher. On and on and on. For the writer of headlines the two-letter word on is more serviceable than the five-letter about or the nine-letter regarding or the ten-letter concerning. Thus, the little word on ap- pears quite frequently in headlines. Unfor- tunately this seems to have an influence on ordinary language, where the word is used more often than it should be. The use is not necessarily incorrect, but it is stylistically poor because it introduces re- petitiveness and a note of unfamiliarity. Here is a paragraph that demonstrates the point (the more natural word is paren- thesized in each "President Nixon said that the discussion between the United States and the Soviet Union on (con- cerning, regarding or about) a limitation on (of) strategic arms would not come to a decision until his trip to Moscow. Tile key issue that has deadlocked the .-ID American demand for inclusion of sub- marine-launched missiles in a treaty on (concerning) limitations on (of) offensive weapons remains on (all, this one is right) the table, Mr. Nixon said." A posteipt: Mrs. Sidney Friedman of Philadelphia asks whether the first word of the following sentence should not be upon: "On their return to the campus, the stu- dents will be required to write a paper on (about) their experiences." On and upon are interchangeable l.'pnu is usually thought of as the more formal, more impressive w o r d. So, if you want to be impressive, use upon, but on is every bit as good. Like, parent, unlike child. The. following sentence contains an improper use of adop- tive: "The Court of Appeals ruled that a state law permitting Uie designation of the religious upbringing of an adoptive child did not violate the constitutional rights of potential adopters who have no religious affiliation." The child is adopted; it's tho parents who are adoptive. Word oddities. The adjective prone has at least three meanings: 1. liable or tend- ing to; 2. inclined or willing to, and 3. lying flat, face down. The word derives from the Latin pronus, which means in- clined, or leaning forward. Thus, the root is almost a pun; it involves the literal meaning of Inclined bent forward the derived meaning of the a tendency or disposition to, leaning to- ward. Anither postscript: prone used in its literal, physical sense does not mean merely lying flat; it means lying flat on one's belly. The word for lying on one's back is supine. And the word for just plain lying is prevarication, but that's something it. (The New York Times) JIM FISHBOURNE Tobacco., again pic. just n o pleasing some peo- A while back, I mentioned I'd stopped smoking, after having been a two-pack-a- day man for quite some time. You'd have thought this might have pleased the anti- smoking crusaders, wouldn't you? I did. I even thought there might have been a modest brand-plucked-from-the-burning ef- fect, perhaps even a murmured "Well done, old chap." But no. Instead of the slightest sign of approbation, I'm being abused more vehemently fhan ever by the tobacco- haters, simply because I mentioned at the same time that, after about a year of to- lal abstinence, I'm still awaiting the first signs of the promised resurgence of health, youthful vigor, happiness, peace and all the other good things that are denied users of the evil weed. So it would seem eschewing tobacco (isn't thatfrl ght f isn't enough: you have lo hate il. deles! it. tell lies abmil il. anything lo make those who still use il 'eel guilty and inferior. Which means it must be a Sin. But perhaps I can redeem myself, a little hit anyway, by offering what seems liku a rather sensible reason lo stop smoking, and thereby possibly saving someone else. I'll admit the. idea won't have, much clout with the youngsters, but oldsters and even some middlesters probably are worth sav- ing, and a few of them might be moved to do the simple arithmetic involved. (I've a feeling it won't get me off the hook, sin- ning being what it is, but maybe it's worth a Just suppose you're looking ahead to re- tiring in a few years. One tiling you're bound to think about now and then is the. amount of your retirement income, espe- cially with all the recent talk of what in- flation does to folks whose incomes are fix- ed. Bother you a bit? It did me. Suppose you use up four or five hundred dollars a year for smokes. (And maybe your wife does, Now, it doesn't take much fig- uring to see what will have to go. if thine-; pet really tough. Well, when would ba tha best time to quit, then or now Or look at it another way. If you really want to retire, but have to keep working "for a few more years" lo put by enough to live on fairly decently, Just how would needing forty or fifty less dollars each month affect Ihe situation? As you've prob- ably found out already, it takes quite a while lo save enough dollars (o bring in an extra forly a month for the re.'t of life, so wouldn't it mean you could quit a year or two earlier? Arc] you might bn hr-KiT IJMII IT' nr.l go, all the other l-w.