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Killing Joy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Remember when you could have fun at someone else’s expense? Not in a mean-spirited way, but in a fun way. Ribbing your friends, your enemies, and just about anyone you had a funny comment about was a time-tested way of having a little fun in life. It wasn’t personal, and nothing and no one was off limits. That day is done.


The political correctness movement ruined honest political discourse, funny movies and decent sitcoms, and now it’s sucking the joy out of everyday life for people uninvolved in any of those things.

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but it was only the 1970s when “Blazing Saddles” was made and embraced by a culture simply looking to laugh. It was offensive. It was silly. But most of all it was funny. Same goes for “Airplane!” Richard Pryor and George Carlin were mocking people and cultures, and it was hilarious. Now we are no longer ready to laugh; we’re ready to be offended. No, we seem to crave being offended.

Maybe there were a bunch of people in the pre-Internet age with hair-triggers to outrage, but licking a stamp and the speed of the U.S. Post Office didn’t allow for them to mobilize and terrorize people easily enough for it to matter. But I somehow doubt it. Political correctness had not yet sucked the fun out of life, and people could laugh at themselves. But the Internet has empowered these pathetic loners to unite, connect with like-minded parents’- basement dwellers, and form a cabal of “thought policers” to demand subordination and get it.

Plus, and most importantly, there wasn’t a major political philosophy built on the concept of dividing people to obtain power.

As progressives went from an unwashed few in coffee shops in Manhattan and Berkeley to unwashed hordes in elected offices, newsrooms and tenured professorships, they forged an Outrage Industrial Complex ready to be offended on behalf of others. They were quick to cry racism at any joke that involved someone with different amounts of melanin. They were quick to cry homophobia if the target was gay. Actually, they’re just quick to cry – and cry loudly enough to scare anyone who simply heard crying and didn’t want to be blamed for causing it.


Progressives took a nation that was getting along pretty well and highlighted differences. Rather than focus on what we all have in common, they demanded we “celebrate diversity. That celebration has mutated into a club with which to pound anyone who steps out of the line they’ve placed us in.

Political correctness was weaponized, then monetized, and now it is the Sword of Damocles hanging over everyone’s head, ready to drop if we don’t use their approved nomenclature.

There is an entire industry in the United States of people who make a lot of money being offended on behalf of others. Media Matters for America employs an army of sad, lonely people paid to spend their days consuming media they despise in the hope they can find something they can twist into a slight against some victim group progressives have created. Every ethnicity, sexual proclivity, religion, body shape, etc., has a well-funded organization claiming the mantle of leadership on its behalf ready to jump (and fundraise) should someone string together words in an unapproved order. It’s pathetic.

There’s an effort to alter the First Amendment moving through the Senate right now, but there’s really no need for it. We, as a society, have voluntarily forfeited the reason for it already. The horse is dead; stop kicking it.

If you don’t use the proper hyphenate before speaking of someone not sharing your skin tone, you’re worse than Hitler. If you don’t marinate in guilt over injustices committed before your birth, and govern your life and vocabulary accordingly, you might as well tattoo “History’s Greatest Monster” on your forehead.


Remember, “live and let live? It’s been murdered. The “celebrate diversity” crowd demands conformity of thought and language and wields enough power to make life hell for anyone who strays from the reservation.

I don’t hunt, despite my last name. I don’t get those who do. That’s what grocery stores are for.

But I respect those who hunt and eat what they kill. And even though I don’t get it, I realize I don’t have to. As such, I don’t understand the idea of big-game hunting. I’ve never looked at a beautiful animal and thought, “I want to fly to the other side of the planet and shoot one.” But again, I’m not forced to engage in it. But the Outrage Industrial Complex not only can’t fathom why other people hunt, it won’t accept that they do and it demands they stop.

Kendall Jones, a Texas college student, loves hunting big game and spends a lot of money flying to Africa to take part. I don’t get it, I’d never do it, and I think it a rather bizarre compulsion—even though the meat went to others. But it’s her life and money.

That didn’t stop others from attacking her for what she likes to do. They even started a Facebook page calling for her to be killed. She exists differently than I do or would, but it would never occur to me to demand she not live that way. But I don’t make my living feigning outrage over things with which I am not involved.


Axelle Despiegelaere is the latest target of the Outrage Industrial Complex. She’s not a politician or public figure, or even an American. She’s just a Belgian soccer fan. The attractive 17-year-old was photographed at the World Cup and landed a modeling contract with L’Oreal. An amazing story, right?

Well, it was. Now Axelle is yet another cautionary tale.

Seems the 17-year-old beauty also is a hunter and posted a picture of her over one of her conquests to Facebook before the USA vs Belgium game saying, “ready to hunt Americans today haha.” Clearly a joke, but joking isn’t allowed anymore.

The media has always found joy in building people up, then knocking them down, but they’ve never done it with such speed. Media-created “outrage” over the photo already has cost Axelle her gig with L’Oreal.

Live “wrong” and the Outrage Industrial Complex will make sure your life is hell. Live under their boot or else. It’s disgusting but not at all surprising.

We live in a time of dichotomy. We’ve never had more access to information and greater ability to communicate our thoughts, but we’ve never had more forces aligned against us ready to destroy us for simply being individuals.

I suspect this flirtation with fascism will be temporary, that there will be a line crossed that will have the vast majority of Americans rebelling against it in the name of liberty. I just hope that comes before the Outrage Industrial Complex does kill the First Amendment and codifies its will into law.


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