Machine Design

A most politically incorrect statement

One day my wife and I were leaving the Mountaineer Casino and Resort in Chester, W. Va.

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The casino has two installations connected by a shuttle bus. One is a hotel and casino, and the other is a racetrack and casino. As we departed the racetrack, a shuttle bus from the other installation pulled up to the door.

A crowd filed off the bus, and almost everyone was holding an alcoholic drink. (You normally don't carry free soft drinks from one building to the other.) Also, many of the passengers were smoking cigarettes. In this day of political correctness run amuck, it did my heart good to see there are at least some people who ostensibly spend a day drinking, smoking, and gambling, and then continued these activities into the evening while also playing the horses.

Aside from the other activities, why did I enjoy seeing people smoking? I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I am nevertheless appalled at the witch-hunt suffered by smokers and the tobacco community. Also, I think alcohol is going to be next. The 0.8% blood-content limit for drunken driving is probably only the first step on the road to prohibition. And insofar as casino gambling is concerned, my wife and I are still forced into a 4-hour round trip to have the type of recreation that should be more convenient.

That brings us to Howard Stern, the shock-jock who is jumping to satellite radio to escape censorship by the FCC. I don't listen to Mr. Stern, but I have heard him from time to time in the past. And despite the criticism I hear about his show, there is more potty-mouth content on broadcast and cable TV. I was happy to leave lockerroom obscenities behind when I graduated from high school, and I know bad language when I hear it, but I didn't hear much from Howard. Moreover, much of his material is insightful social criticism. For example, he once interviewed a group of girls who were contestants in a beauty pageant, and the operative question he asked was: What is the square root of nine? Their responses were illuminating insofar as telling us in which direction we are moving on a Darwinian scale.

In another politically incorrect vein, I happen to own a sweatshirt with a Smith & Wesson logo emblazoned on the front. One day I intended to wear it to my grandson's Boy Scout awards ceremony in Vienna, Va. I thought the soccer-mom, SUVdriving, cell-phone talking, gun-fearing, suburban community would take the sweatshirt for the joke it was meant to be. My son, however, discreetly informed me that such apparel could cause palpitations, fainting, or calls to Homeland Security. You can't even joke about Smith & Wesson in suburban Washington, D.C.

Even in your own company, consider two white males washing their hands in the men's room. One wants to tell a joke to the other, but the joke contains a mild racist term or maybe something making fun of women or homosexuals. The first thing the joke teller has to do is make a visual sweep of the stalls to ensure no one else is within earshot. Yes, political correctness has come to that holy of holies, the men's lavatory.

Just recently, our local Board of Elections held a training session where staff members were taught how to assist voters with language problems. One employee happened to remark that his parents emigrated from Poland to the United States, and he casually mentioned that they had to learn English before they could vote. Some Hispanic members at the session were outraged at the remark, and the worker was fired. Talk about draconian political correctness!

Have I offended anyone yet? Well how about this? My next vehicle will be purchased without my considering front-impact protection nor rollover potential. (I don't intend to wreck or roll it.). Nor do I want side airbags, and I would dispense with front air bags if I could. Finally, when I heard that I may not be able to get a flu shot this winter, I was not the least bit disturbed. If any of what I have written has caused you to have a panic reaction, call 911.

-- Ronald Khol, Editor
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