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As far as the Observer knows, Hannah Montana has never been to Farmington. But she stirred a controversy in our town last week. An item in the Daily Journal said that State Representative Tilley took his daughters to see Hannah Montana several weeks ago and had tickets for a second show in January. Abjuring greed, Representative Tilley and his daughters decided to give away four tickets to the January show via public drawing.

Not being familiar with Hannah Montana, the Observer did some research. Ms. Montana recently turned 15, and she sings pop songs. America’s pre-adolescent girls are bonkers over Hannah Montana, just like pre-adolescent girls went bonkers a few years ago over Britney Spears, before she began acting like a drug-crazed orangutan. (In truth, that comparison is probably not fair to drug-crazed orangutans, which don’t shave their heads or spend $700,000 a month).

The Observer also discovered that Hannah Montana’s real name is Miley Cyrus. Well, actually, before her name was Miley Cyrus, her name was Destiny Hope Cyrus. How is it that a 15 year old is already on her third name? The Observer is not certain. But perhaps that’s show biz. After all, before John Wayne was John Wayne, he was Marion Morrison. And Cary Grant’s real name was Archibald Leach. Jane Seymour was Joyce Frankenburg. Larry King is really Larry Zeigler. (By the way, when Larry King dies, how will they know?)

In any event, the Observer believes that Representative Tilley made the correct choice when he decided to offer the tickets to the general public, instead of taking his family to see Hannah Montana for a second time. The Observer fears that spending a second evening in a building with 15,000 screaming pre-adolescent girls may have left Representative Tilley brain damaged. And we have enough brain damaged politicians running around as it is.   

Unfortunately, some members of the local public did not deal well with Representative Tilley’s benevolence. At Tilley’s request, the Farmington Chamber of Commerce held a drawing to determine which two lucky people would win two tickets each. The rule was “one entry per household.” Some mothers tried to stuff the ballot box by submitting dozens of entries. Others lied about who lived in their households. Still others hurled anger and abuse at the Chamber’s Executive Director, Ursula Khitiri, when she made them follow the rules. The Observer cringes just to imagine the scene.

In older bolder times, we would have labeled such behavior as “base.” The Observer’s grandmother would have called such conduct “common.” Another suitable term might be “white trash.”

But today we live under the dark and omnipresent shadow of political correctness. Where judgmentalism is a pariah of public debate. Where the only thing that is intolerable is intoleration. PC prevents us from calling shameful conduct shameful. It stops us from shaming mothers who lie to get Hannah Montana tickets.

How deeply has political correctness embedded itself our psyches? Well, for one thing, the Observer suspects that you, friend and reader, were at least mildly surprised to see the Observer use the term “white trash.” Use of such a pejorative term is not PC.

Decades ago, big city newspapers published the names and addresses of men who had been arrested by the metropolitan police force for patronizing prostitution. The purpose, of course, was to discourage men from consorting with prostitutes out of fear of being publicly shamed in the newspaper. (Publishing johns’ names was also good for circulation numbers. Many a reader scrambled through the newspaper every week hoping to see the boss’s name).

It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.” Perhaps a little less political correctness and a little more shame would be a good thing.

The Settlement Observor is a resident of Farmington.

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