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January 24, 2011

In 2012, Sarah Kate Silverman for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

Americans and Speech. We've become too thin-skinned and polite with Words. Many of us still live by a script. We've made progress in the last few years with efforts to retire PC-Speak--but it's still a Mr. Rogers-Fest. Maybe Sarah could help.

We'll say it again. The idea of Bedford, New Hampshire's Sarah Kate Silverman temporarily chucking writing and performing mega-edgy comedy, and holding elected office for a few years, does appeal to us. Greatly. And why not? She's smart, energetic, outspoken, attractive, photogenic and young. Three weeks ago, on December 1, she turned 40.

She's not PC, either--she intuitively gets and uses the First Amendment--and America sure could use that. And use it right now. Everyone is so offended by Everything, and so smug, morally superior and emotional on All Subjects, that the inevitable has happened: no one can think straight. Ideology is the new substitute for thought. Contempt prior to investigation is the reigning methodology to process remotely alien or threatening ideas.

So try to picture a couple of years from now a new mainstream and new public but more serious Sarah: Rep. Sarah Silverman(D-NH). She could fix PC culture quickly, and just by being herself, provided of course that her language and persona(s) stay the same. No one could profess any longer to be shocked and offended by anything anymore.

Traditionally, of course, and with infrequent but near-heroic past exceptions in Great Britain (Churchill, often Disraeli), the U.S. Senate (Jim Abourezk of South Dakota) and the House (the late Bob Eckhardt of the 8th district in Texas), politicians don't tell you what they really think unless it's convenient.

For centuries, the West has given pols a pass on candor. We get it. Not a problem.

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Silverman is a Total Betty, too.

However, in just the past two decades, the various and increasing regimes of Political Correctness in America in all aspects of work and life have meant that no one else tells the truth much about anything. Candor, certainly, is not encouraged. We are all too busy trying not to offend or "enjoying" our being offended.

Being outspoken? That is no longer the virtue it once was. Having No Stones in America is an epidemic--and in more and more circles (not just lawyer ones) considered "smart". These days you can't say anything interesting, or do anything in an interesting way, at work. We live by a script.

Even Alpha males are on the outs--at least for a while. We are somehow breeding them out. In our offices younger males are so careful about what they say and do--around both co-workers and superiors--that they are stone boring. No gospel, no moxie, no spirit. No glimpses into the soul and personality that make them unique and interesting. Younger workers of course were brought up on gender neutral role models. That's so nice, and sweet. But was that a good idea? Hey, Justin and Britanny, you got any original thoughts and ideas in there anywhere, folks? Anything of your own? Anyone alive and thinking? Or is this the New Peasant Culture?

So what's up? Are we turning into Canadians and the Junior League?

Keep reading. We'll get back to Sarah.

We hope for a different kind of culture revolution. We seek to include different ideas and expressions: old, new, objectionable, dumb-downed, bland, trite, creative, stupid, smart. But let's not leave anyone out. This is America. For example, after the Revolution, when politically-correct culture, and other goofy forced-conformity social agendas wane and disappear, you will be able to say what you want. Okay, anything that puts kids at risk--and about Mothers--will not be fair play. But you will be able to use words like "secretary", "stewardess"--and even "stew", if you've had a few drinks on the plane. You will have choices. If you're a lawyer, you will start using the term "Chinese wall" again. You will be able to swear, and loudly, in the workplace, and start war stories with: "You know, I had this case in the Southern District, back in 1987, when men were men." After the Revolution, you will be able to flirt, and be playful and even a tad eccentric, at work.

If someone you work with is lazy and disorganized and a loser, you will be able to say things like, whoa, that dude Josh "is lazy and disorganized and a loser". Rather than have to say it's so awesome that Josh is "low profile/independent/a team member requiring minimal face time/empowered by his flexible hour arrangement/a pioneer in work-life balance". The expression "Not Work-Oriented" will be okay, too. Using "not work-oriented" rather than "lazy" is also a proven attention-getter. Granted, it's too indirect. It's soft. Sounds a bit PC. But think of it as a transitional term you can employ until people start saying what they mean.

For example, we have used "not work-oriented" frequently in recent years in telephone conversations with people, unknown to us, who check references, of former employees, who we know too well. Saying that your ex-employee Kendall, who had top grades at Dartmouth and Duke Law, and had interviewed well, is "not work-oriented" is easier, faster and frankly more fun than struggling through on the phone with:

Mr. Bloor, it just wasn't a 'fit'. Kendall has many gifts. But we always knew she would flourish more in an alternative work setting where, you know, team members were, uh, not required to do any work per se, or actually perform, or add value. You know what I mean.

After the Revolution, you will also be able to use your real name when you give your opinion in the ether of the Internet. In fact, anonymity will be banned--and reserved for rape victims, Iranian and Cuban dissidents, Ned Beatty "Deliverance" casualties, and the ballot box at primary and general elections. You will be able to utter all manner of potentially rude, offensive, defamatory and even straight-up tacky things--but you will take responsibility by backing it all up with your real name.

Males will be different. My own offices over the last 5 years has been full of "sweet" and "dainty" males who, frankly, I am a bit nervous about being with at night. They are not gay, even though at first I thought a lot of them were. (It's natural to wonder--so no letters, please.) They are not show-tunes flashy or YMCA-esque or anything. It's just that they are way too "nice". Way way too nice. Someone did a terrible thing in raising them. They are confused. The don't get what is okay/not okay about being a human being. They don't even swear well. The are not warriors. America's new males are stone-creepy "men".

After the Revolution, we'll get some of the more boorish and traditional--but at least authentic--males back. That would be "nice", too. More great news: In the New Order of Things, long after PC culture has dissipated and died, the Seas will not turn Red. No One will go to Hell. The Family Unit will not Implode. The Clintons won't Abduct Your Kids.
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So you get the idea. We don't like "PC culture" that much--sane First Amendment people of any political persuasion never do unless to make fun of it--and so we do cherish Sarah Silverman. Right now, America needs shock troops. Yanks don't think much on their own anymore. We are too bland and nice. Too consensus-driven. So Sarah's our girl. Besides, Sarah is saucy and attractive. If you don't think that's important, you're wrong--but you can dash off an angry letter, not invite us to parties, or report us to Nina Totenberg and NPR.

Silverman's also a fine comic, writer, actress, musician, and rebel's rebel who never met a taboo she did not like. While at first blush Silverman's humor may seemed based on stereotypes, she's smart and ironic, not mean, and an unrelenting satirist of life and priorities in America. Meet Lenny Bruce's adorable grandchild who has escaped from Scarsdale, New Canaan or Shaker Heights and now has a bunch of uncomfortable questions for us all. She's going to ask them, e.g., "Sell the Vatican, Feed the World".

Let's see, what else? Her sister is a Rabbi. But Jesus is Magic? She's ethnically Jewish--but for years allegedly wore a St. Christopher medal from her boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel ("It was cute the way he gave it to me. He said if it doesn't burn a hole through my skin, it will protect me..."). She claims ancestry from Hungary, Poland, France and Slovakia. She does not drink. For you snobs, she graduated from a prep school in New Hampshire. She attended NYU. She turned 40 this year.

How about this: Can we run her for Congress in, say, California, New York, or New Hampshire, this year or 2012? That might help move things along. That would be "nice".

(from several past posts)

Posted by JD Hull at January 24, 2011 10:59 AM

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