Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inciting hatred?

This witty little piece is worth pondering for the light it throws on changes that have occurred in the social, cultural and legal environment over recent decades. The song (as the text on the video notes) ruffled a few feathers when it was released more than 30 years ago.

But would such a song have been written today? And, if it had, would it have been given a mainstream release? I doubt it.

Individual ethics and manners once bore a far greater load and played a more central role in the functioning of society. But now, as Western governments seek to modify behavior through 'education programs' and a progressive legislative agenda, the role of private judgement in morality, manners and professional life has been downgraded.

Legal systems, once perceived as staid but respected, have become pro-active players in an intra-societal struggle, as an ever-expanding inventory of groups and sub-groups and categories of individual seek to benefit from their minority or 'oppressed' status.

I have the strong sense that Western societies were not only considerably freer, but also considerably saner in previous decades.


  1. I think this is a meta-satire. It's a satire on our tendency to satirise some things but not others. Smallness is not one of the things we do satirise, so it is meta-satirical to satirise it.

    My local newspaper today had a similar spoof satirising our tendency to satirise accountants. Here:

  2. I liked the Danny Katz piece you cited. There are similarities to, but also differences from, the song. Katz is ostensibly defending accountants while in fact making fun of them, whereas Randy Newman has only that one soppy bit and the rest is (mock) abuse. Another difference is that shortness is something one has no choice about - like skin color etc. - and so one is on more dangerous ground here. (Part of the humor of the Katz piece derives from the fact that being an accountant does not in reality represent a serious problem, social or otherwise. Being short can.)