The earnestness of being ignorant

THE country may be getting too politically correct.

A newly opened Hard Rock Cafe in Kota Kinabalu has had to apologise to animal lovers for featuring an orangutan playing the electric guitar in its advertisements.

“We sincerely apologise to those who have been offended by recent advertisements for the new Hard Rock Cafe Kota Kinabalu,” a HRC statement declared.

“We have removed the buntings and are working with Hard Rock International and local councillors to ensure that all future advertisements are culturally sensitive.”

Culturally sensitive? I mean, did anyone ask the orangutans? You didn’t hear them getting all hot and bothered when the US came out with its version of the Beatles – the Monkees.

And who can forget Disney’s The Jungle Book?

The film is still relevant, a carefree fantasy of trust between a boy and his animal friends; where good triumphs over evil amidst great songs and witty dialogue.

It had marching elephants and a panther with crisp British accents; a singing bear and four vultures that sounded uncannily like the Beatles; King Louis, an orangutan with its infectious rhythm and blues-inflected I wanna be like you: an obvious nod to the great Louis Armstrong.

It was my three-year-old daughter’s favourite movie back in 1995. And the film was made in 1967! Imagine if the politically correct set had objected then! The world would have been a poorer, less-entertaining place without Mowgli et al.

Come to think of it, an orangutan with a guitar isn’t so strange. Just look at some of our Malaysian grunge bands with their pants so tight they look like they’ve been painted on; their songs all beginning on a screechingly loud A-minor.

That’s simian enough to grace the walls of, HRC, no?

This political correctness is going too far. In fact, it’s beginning to take on epidemic proportions.

Two weeks ago, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban performances by “wild or exotic” animals for public entertainment, including appearances in circuses or on the sets of movies, television shows or commercials.

What about the rights of animals to have self-esteem-inducing jobs? Or to look at it another way, a circus might also be defined as a place where monkeys, horses and elephants get to witness men, women and children making fools of themselves.

Mightn’t it?

Indeed, political correctness has been taking over the world. Nobody was stupid anymore. They were all “intellectually challenged” or “a couple of clowns short of a circus.”

Let’s call a spade a spade. Unless it’s a hoe of course.

But no, the dead were “metabolically challenged” and the bald were similarly beset, only “follicularly” this time. Kojak would have been so appalled he might have even quit lollipops altogether.

Now the term “Founding Fathers” has become sexist and “Garbage Man” too degrading, which is why it’s been replaced by “sanitation engineer”. What do you think the real engineers in Indah Water Consortium feel about that?

A criminal wasn’t what society thought he was. No, he had merely been “behaviourally challenged” when he killed, raped, plundered or molested.

Homeless people could no longer be called bums while a guy who was crazy couldn’t be characterised as such. He was merely mentally “unbalanced”.

In short, it was getting crazy.

On the other hand, politicians might be quite happy with the PC definition of criticism. It was an “unjust, self-esteem reducer”.

But one doubts if that cuts any ice with the breed. I mean, if criticism had any real power to harm, politicians should have been extinct by now.

Or, as Mark Twain once put it: “No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

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