It’s Patently Absurd!

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has refused to register the name of the NFL team the “Washington Redskins” because the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” Political Correctness is no longer just a bad idea; it now has an established department – complete with a building, bureaucracy, and (gasp!) even a parking lot for its neo-Orwellian workforce! But institutions – particularly those of the political variety – have a need to expand the reach of their functions. What about going after all of the other sports names that “disparage” someone or other? Will this agency now force the University of Nebraska to stop calling itself the “Cornhuskers,” as the word is “disparaging” to farmers? And what of Notre Dame University’s nickname of “the fighting Irish,” clearly a stereotyping of an entire nation as a bunch of drunken brawlers? Nor can the Duke Blue Devils, the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Holy Cross Crusaders, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, avoid the scrutiny of governmental power intent on freeing people from religious sentiments. The name “Dodgers,” still used by one of LA’s baseball teams, is a throwback to the days when Brooklyn residents had to “dodge” the many trolley cars, the principal means of transportation for lower-income people in that borough. All teams – whether college or professional – may soon be ordered to give up their animal mascots – the lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! – because they not only disrespect animals, but bring emotional distress to animal rights supporters. And what will become of the Wyoming and Oklahoma State Cowboys? What is the nature of the work cowboys perform? Will the Chicago White Sox be informed that their nickname has racist overtones to it, and will the USC Trojans have to come up with another name lest it conjure up images of male sexual preferences? Will this agency soon have so much work to do that it will become a cabinet-level department?

And as the Patent office scrambles to find more ways to annoy more people, can we expect the public nuisances at other government agencies to remain silent? Might the Copyright Office begin scrutinizing the texts of books for which copyrights are sought, ferreting out any references to words, ideas, etc., that are deemed “politically incorrect?” Unless Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” is in the public domain, will any future editions of this classic work be sent down the DC memory hole? I have no doubt that such a campaign would be supported by Hillary Clinton, who is eager to create her own “gatekeeper” for the Internet. How can we maintain a “free society” if people can get away with saying whatever they choose to say, particularly when their words are so upsetting to those whose job it is to run society?

4:32 pm on June 18, 2014