Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 25, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Archie Bunker: funny, but not ovable Thursday, Hay 25, THE LETIIBFJBGE HEfAlD 3 By Ralibl Simon L. Eckstein. In The Ottawa Citizen TVTILLIONS of Americans and J Canadians, wilh a regu- larity that borders upon re- ligious zeal, turn lo a television program wliose title is a slroko of genius. CBS introduced the program "All In The Family" about two years ago and if has been off rind running ever since. Along Ihe 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 il. All In The Family was Ihe piirase chosen lo depict the life of Archie Bunker, his long-suf- fering wife, Ins adolescing daughter, and her almost liber- al husband. The four of them co-inhabit a painful shabby home, with Archie the lord of the manor. Arcliie, the blue- collar worker, hard hat and rcd-ncekcd, ventilating upon lus family the frustrations of his own existence. And out of those frustrations, spewing forth ev- ery kind of hateful and hate- tilled statement one can possi- bly create. Several weeks ago, 1 watched H, 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 if, 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 Ihe humor all about? The humor is the humor of a dirty story, the kind that men de- light to tell each olher. 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 HohFon of Gentle- man's Agreement, was that Archie is "a lovable bigot." I know what she is trying to say, but the truth of [he matter is lhat Arcliie is not a lovable bigot. He is a bigot, but he is not lovable. lie is a despot whose prejudices are 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. lie 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? npHE recent U.S. Surgeon General's report on the ef- of TV violence on children is being supported in several wajs by the research of a Uni- versity of UUh psychologist. The psychologist, Dr. Victor 13. Cline, adds motion pictures to the list of media that may be leading Americans into a i era of unrelenting violence and exploilive sex devoid of love and responsibility. "Evidence is mounting that motion pictures and television can alter behavior patterns, in- fluence v a 1 u c p and altitudes snrl possibly conl.ribule to changes in life styles." Clino remarked riflrr '.-omliieling a cmt sludy cf theatre fnre in Ill's home town. "By making violence appear plamnrous and exciting and il. licit sex normal and desirable, these media ar" seHinc Ilia stage for a society based on s i o n and irresponsibil- he added. To ermine some of today's theater offerings, Cline 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, N'EA Service of heroes, etc., they found the following in the 37 films: C33 aggressive acts. 566 sexual acls or displays. 59 murders. 89 "justifiable killings." 76 attempted murders. 11 massacres. six bombings. JG3 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 21 per cnil "fi." -16 per cent "PG" and 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 to "pay and was presented ss a success f u 1, exciting pas- time with no negative conse- quences. In 43 per cent of the films the heroes were lawbreakers or antisocial characters. In GO per cent of the films, pre-marilal and extra marital sexual rela- tions were presented as "nor- mal, acceptable and desirable." Only or.e film out of the 37 depicted sexual relations be- hvecn a man and a woman le- gally married to each oilier. According to the Kur g e o n General's report, there is a cau- link between tlie 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 Clmo nrtal. "It rtanils lo reason that .MIU can alfo change altitudes ,-iiid emotional responses to vio- lence, and various antiso- rial behavior by repeated expo- sure." The real question raised by all of tliis research, however, is tills: Is (lie 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 boi's down to the chick- eu or the egg riddle, and since we don't know where these be- havior patterns come from, we are hard put to [ind ways to slop them. Bunker ain't ever gonna do." 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 Polackfi. And jusl 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 to 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 mealhead. This is the man they call lovable? What makes people call him lovable is the same tiling fiat makes the program acceptable. It is the fact that Arclue 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 lo failure. Every per- son lie tries to belittle or cheat or brow-beat in the end defeats 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- duct, and that cede demanded that the criminal always lose, lie could live like a king for 90 minutes, but at the end he must be brought to justice, while everyone silently cheered the truth recorded at Sinai, CRIME DOES NOT PAY. Of course, out there in Iho si reef, in the world of reality, crime 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 fron humor into horror? Let Arclue win. Just once. Just once let Archie be triumphant and the comedy becomes trage- dy. Archie, the loser, is funny and unreal. Arcliie, the winner, is monstrous and very real. Easy Choice. FIVE STAR CANADIAN RYE WHISKV JOSEPH E. SEAGRAM SONS LIMITEp WATERLOO. ONTARIO, CANADA 23 02. The smooth taste of quality that is unmistakably Seagram's. Seagram's FIVE STAR Canada's largest-selling rye whisky. Blended tnd bolilcd by Joseph Seagram Sons Ltd., Waterloo, Oni. The liberals who walch the program .'mile in smug super- inrily over Ihe life and follies of Archie. But the rednecks of America walch him and cheer. He has made their world re- .sijeclablc They don't care lhal ho loses. He is Iheir hero, and he spffaks their thoughts. For (he Arclue Bunkers of this world exist. They exist and they are the ones who make things possible. Like lynchings and Buchenwalds, night riders and beatings. They may participate in the deeds, but Iheir mouths and Iheir atti- tudes creale Ihe selling- Be- hind every lynching is a city of Archie Bunkers wilh Iheir Hebes and Iheir 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. The 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 who never had a hero on I3'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, hitler, be- lieving the world has somehow played on him a monslrous joke, a dirty trick, he is trap- ped and he is filled wilh rage. I.ct not the laucnlcr blird n-, imr Iho humor hirin Irulii. Archie Bunker i.; nul lovable, nr likable. But neilher is the world Hie world that is (no much for him, the world lhat hems him in. That world is our world, the only world we have. And we 1'ail heller s look at (he v.ho'.e of il, El wo love and those we do rot love, rt thore we know and those we do no', know, ,-rd (hat we are bound together, tied lordlier, locked tonelher, part and parcel, single fate and single future. For the trulh is we are all in the family, and the family needs our help. Emigrants By Leslie Colilt 1JERLIN 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 reseltlcnient cr.mp Ihe 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 Uzbekhistan, Tadzlukistan 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 (lie Second World War when Iheir families trekked westward with the retreating German armies. Married couples who have bron separated since the war EI-C being reunited. Even some elderly widows of soldiers who fought on the German side are arriving to pick up generous West German pensions lor their fallen husbands. The Germans from the East report that after the war thou- sands of (heir compatriots who had lived for centuries along the Volga River find Black Sea and in the Ukraine scllled in Ihe "green lands" of Sovic-1 Central Asia when they U' o r o forbidden lo return to their Irndilionnl haunts. There they formed collective farms in which German with n Swabian or Hessian dialect is still spo- ken. The children cf the repa- triated Germans who are dis- embarking at Kriedlnnd nearly nil speak fluent German. If the Soviet authorities con- linnc lo be co-operalive well over Sinict Germans will arrive Ibis year in Ihe West. Unlike Jews leaving Ihe So- viet Union Ihe Germans arc nol forced Ifl give up Iheir jobs when l.hfy siihmil applications lo leave. They do, however, an- lomalically renounced their So- viet citizenship. (Written ten- The llrrnltl nurl The Observer. Britain makes the criminal pay The Boston Herald Traveler pN'GLAXD 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 uill be able to serve his time in prison and get (jut to enjoy the money he stole. The fruits of fraud or theft will be denied the criminal leaving jail through the application of bankruptcy laws forcing him to live frugally until the court is salisfied be 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 sociely in the form of community seriice. Such praclical work as tending hospital gardens, looking after the elderly or aiding deprhcd 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 (lie loss it caused lo society. The reason (or 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 vailing to try a means of punishing the guilty by making him repay those he has injured at the same lime 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 simply 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 th e use o f -d: woras Theodore Bernstein p'LORY 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- for an a'.vninpiij-iuncrit. Tre only (rouble v.ith the word (more corrccl- ly the trouble is with users of the wordl is that its final s misleads some people i''to thinking it is a plural. Thinking thus, they assume the singular is kudo, but there is no such word. Kudos is a singular noun lo begin with There is no more reason to regard il as a plural than there is to as- sume lhat lens is a plural with a singular form Icn. Iiiinly, inler. These two words are fre- quently confused. Imply means to suggest ur 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 this 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 Uie pitcher and the inferrer is the catcher. Uniled Stales 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. The key issue that has deadlocked the American demand for inclu.sion of Sub- marine-launched missiles in a treaty on (concerning) limitations on (of) offensive v. capons remains on (ah, this one is right) the table, Mr. Kuon said." A postcript: Mrs. Sidney Friedman of Philadelphia asks whether the first word [if the following sentence should not be upon: "On tlieir return to the campus, the stu- dents will be required to write a paper on (about) their experiences." On and upon are interchangeable 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 the designation of the religious upbringing of an adoptive child did not violate the constitutional rights of potential adopters who have no religious affiliation.'1 The child is adopted; it's tho parents who are adoptive. On and on and on. For the writer of headlines the two-letter word on is more serviceable than the live-letter about or the nine-letter regarding or the (en-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 Uie point (the more natural word is paren- thesized in each "President Nixon said that the discussion between the Word oddities. The adjective prone has at least three meanings: 1. liable or tend- ing lo; 2. inclined or willing lo. and 3. lying flat, face down. The word derives from the Latin pronus, which means in- clined, or leaning forward. Thus, Ihe root is almost a pun; it involves the literal meaning of Inclined bent forward the derived meaning of the a tendency or disposition lo. leaning to- ward. Anither postscript: prone used in ils literal, physical sense docs 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 pie. jusl n o pleasing some pco- A while back, I mentioned I'd slopped smoking, after having been a Iwo-pack-a- day man for quite some time. You'd have thought this might have pleased Ihe anti- smoking crusaders, wouldn't you? I did. I even thought there might have been a modest brand-plucked-from-the-buming cl- fcct, perhaps even a murmured "Well done, old chap." But no. Instead of the slightest sign nf approbation, I'm being abused more vehemently than ever by tho tobaeco- hatcrs, simply because T mentioned at the same lime that, after about a year of lo- lal abstinence. I'm Mill awaiting the first signs of the promised resurgence of health, youthful vigor, happiness, peace and all the. other good things lhat are denied users nf Ihe evil weed. So il would seem eschewing tobacco (isn't that isn't enough: you hav to hale it. tlplcsl il. lell lies about il. anything to make Ihrte who still use il fecl guilty and inferior, means il must be a .Sin. Hut ncrhnns 1 can redeem myself, a little bit anyway, by offering what seems a rather sp.usiMc reason (n slop smoking, and thereby possibly giving someone else. I'll admil Ihe. idea won't have much clout wilh the youngsters, hut oldsters and even some middlestcrs 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 wovlh a Juct suppose you're looking ahead to rc- liring in a few years. One thing you're bound to think about now and then is Hie. amount of your retirement income, espe- cially with all Ihe recent talk of what in- flation does lo folks whose incomes are fix- ed. Bother you a bit? II did me. Suppose, you use up four or five hundred dollars a year (or smokes. (And maybe your wife docs, Now, it doesn't lake much fig- uring to see what uill have to go. if gel really lough. Well, when would be best lime to quit, then or now Or look nl it another way. If you really waul lo retire, hut have to keep working "for a few more years" to put by enough In live, on fairly decently, just how would needing forty or fifty less dollars each month affect Ihe silualion? As you've proh- nhly found out already, it takes quite a while lo save enough dollars lo bring in an extra forty a month for (he of your life, so wouldn't it mean you could quit a year or two earlier' Ard you might bn hi-i-.iT ijnii iv nr I ga all the. other ix.