If you grow up part of a minority group in America there are some things you just “get”. One of those things is probably more fine tuned in someone who is black and then, in order, Hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals, women—(even though they are in the majority, women are most often treated like members of a minority)--- Asians old enough to remember their treatment in the 1940s and the internment camps definitely qualify and would probably come next or, perhaps, the Jews… especially those of a certain age. I fall into this last category.
Like the blacks, the Hispanics, the Muslims, gays, women and Asians…. I “get” it; I recognize a bigot when I see one. I hear the buzz words. I am familiar with the terrain of their terminology. Now that we have an African American as President, and it is more prevalent than I have heard in… oh, such a long time…, my antennae are even more attuned than usual.
These days, here in the USA, we Jews are close to our apogee in terms of popularity. I am happy to relate it has been a long while since anyone saw those bumper stickers reading We Need Oil, Not Jews!! Thanks to Christian fundamentalists, who have come to realize you can’t have a “day of days” without an Israel, plus a whole bunch of tough guy “chicken hawks” rooting for the Jewish State to nuke Muslims… especially seein’ as how the US doesn’t “have the guts” for such a task… why, things have been down right quiet on the anti-Semitic front.
Bigots come in all shapes and sizes, but all brands of bigotry have ignorance as the common denominator. You can’t be at the top of your game and be a bigot. Prejudice of race, gender, sexual preference or religion has its root in stupidity and since we, as a people, are dumbing down even faster than most of us can calculate it is becoming a very big issue. Sarah Palin as Vice President? Rush Limbaugh as the spokesperson for one of the two great political parties of this nation? What ever happened to conservatives such as Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Earl Warren, William Taft, Dwight Eisenhower… even Richard (you may not have liked him, and he may have had some personality flaws, but dumb he was not) Nixon?
I am reminded of this because of a memo I received today from our distributor of the Cagney & Lacey reunion films. Several retailers throughout the country have taken exception to the sub-title, The Menopause Years. I smiled when I heard this. I have been down this narrow road before.
What do we know? We know, for sure, that the merchants in question are guys. I mean, can you imagine a woman taking exception to the word “Menopause”? These male managers are taking exception and offense, and just like that southern governor, who so sanctimoniously lectured all of us on the sanctity of marriage before he started using his Passport to Argentina, these retail giants are determined to dictate their sensibilities… or what they like to call their “values”… to everyone else in their community. Since most of these middle managers… whether at retail stores or at your local TV station are guys… and, let’s face it, not the brightest lamps on the tree, our DVD distributor has a problem on his hands.
Never mind that every woman in the western world hears the word menopause in this context and knowingly smiles… Never mind that Cagney & Lacey is a brand name that is as current as your latest NYTimes crossword puzzle. This is another opportunity for stupid to win and it is the closest that this male manager is going to get to drape something in his own version of a Burka. You can bet, he just ain’t-a-gonna miss that opportunity.
Here’s your opportunity… drop by a store selling DVDs sometime soon. Don’t buy anything. Just tell the guy at the counter how you feel about this, tell him that come September you want to see Cagney & Lacey: The Menopause Years on his shelf or maybe this fall he will find a whole bunch of gals in burkas on parade outside his store. I would bet there is a female TV anchor out there in your town who would love to cover that story.