In 1975, I was ten and had no clue of what I was singing. Some of the songs we sang around the old campfire in Girl Scouts back then would get you burned, or maybe even a lawsuit today! Consider these lyrics: “Big red indian, beats upon his drum, rum tum-tum, rum, tum-tum. Woo-Woo-Woo!” There was an obnoxious hand gesture of hitting your lips in a war cry on the woo-woos!
Another song, which I didn’t get at the time, was about a man named Ruffus Rassius Johnston Brown not paying his rent on time. Another one that I thought was so funny was about Fried Ham, Fried Ham, Cheese and Baloney. Each of the four verses was sung in different ethnically-slurred accents! Gads!
The topper had to be “Just plant a watermelon right on my grave and let the juice slip through…Now Southern fried chicken might taste mighty fine, but nothin’ tastes better than a watermelon rind..”
A sign of the times. Don’t make it right.
I don’t mean to pick on the Girl Scouts. In fact, some of my best childhood memories are from Camp Higganumpus, a Girl Scout camp in Higganum.
We kids picked up politically insensitive lyrics on our transistor radios. At recess, we’d march across the playground belting out, “Half Breed” by Cher at the top of our prepubescent lungs.
It was around this time, thank goodness, of the advent of Archie Bunker and All In the Family. The creators did us a favor by holding up a mirror. Each episode was blaring hyperbole of how small-minded and racist we could be.
Do you remember thinking your older relatives “were just like Archie Bunker”?
There was still some of it going on in the 80s, though. Recall the movie Sixteen Candles by John Hughes starring Molly Ringwald? Whenever the international student staying at the main character’s house appeared in a scene, a gong would sound punctuating his obvious Asian background.
So what is my point? As decades are unfolding now, just rounding my fifth one, I have to believe we are a little less coarse and more sensitive as a society today. I am pretty sure the Girl Scouts of 2014 would only allow sanctioned ditties that are 100% PC as a matter of good conscience, and not fear of litigation.
What do you think? Are we politically correct enough today? Do you think we’ve gone overboard and are too overly PC?