Political Correctness Strikes Again
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By etrigan - Last updated: Wednesday, August 6, 2003 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

My moderate colors are going to show through again. (Wait — moderates are probably gray, right?)

A Boston judge is being put on “administrative leave”:http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2003/08/04/tarzan/index.html for cracking a Tarzan joke with an Ugandan immigrant.


I will give on two grounds: (1) the joke is probably not U.S./Uganada cross-cultural; and (2) making jokes during a political assylum application is possibly not appropriate. This is enough reason for the judge to be chastised. In his position he should be aware of phrases and culture references that may not cross boundaries with his clientelle. Also, these types of applications are generally not made lightly and a jovial atmosphere does not fit the duties involved. However, I don’t see justification for him being put on leave.

Maybe I am basing my opinion too much on my Johnny Weissmuller/Disney influenced version of Tarzan. Sure, in today’s light “Tarzan”:http://us.imdb.com/Title?0023551 movies may seem racist but it was my understanding that it was progressive for it’s time. (and even more modern versions of the story show a deep symbiotic brotherhood between Tarzan and the natives.) Is the Edgar Rice Burroughs version very different? Also, Jane was *British caucasian*. How is this racsit?

My biggest complaint, though, is why did the writer of this piece (and the lawyers who sold it to the press) need to mention the specifics of this woman’s situation? Why mention at all that she was raped? Is this a part of the Tarzan myth I am unfamilar with? Has Disney white-washed the story of a rapist? Or are this poor woman’s P.R. folks trying a little too hard to get her entrance to the U.S.?

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2 Responses to “Political Correctness Strikes Again”

Comment from jank
Time August 6, 2003 at 4:24 pm

Tarzan was a caucasian, too. His folks were killed when he was a kid, and he was raised by chimps.

Comment from cynsmith
Time August 7, 2003 at 10:06 am

I think this is probably a case of the lawyers doing their duty of representing their client’s interest. The judge was talking about trying to sell his condo, making jokes, etc – not concentrating on giving this woman a serious hearing. I’m guessing he’s seen as somewhat incompetent but has been given lots of leeway in the past, but the lawyer was fed up and is making a mountain out of this particular molehill.

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