Sept. 26, 2001

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho,
A Politically Correct Life for Me

By Roy Rivenburg
It’s a PC World: How politically correct can Disney get? Let us count the ways. In 1997, the company sanitized Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride so the buccaneers would chase food instead of women. In the 1980s, the park changed the paint on its submarines from gray to yellow, not as a tribute to the Beatles but because gray was deemed too militaristic. And just a few weeks ago, skippers on the Jungle Cruise ride had to surrender the pistols that were used to fire at a menacing hippo. (Florida’s Disney World disarmed its Jungle Cruise pilots in 1998.) The list goes on.

Now, Off-Kilter has obtained a secret memo outlining other politically correct changes ahead:

-- The Mad Hatter will henceforth be referred to as the Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder Hatter.
-- Country Bear Jamboree, which unfairly stereotypes bears as fiddle-playing bumpkins in overalls, will be replaced by a new Suburban Bear Soiree attraction, in which the animals wear Gap khakis and discuss Marxist economic theory.
-- A carpool lane will be added to the Autopia.
-- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride will be renamed Mr. Toad’s Lawful and Responsible Ride, so as not to imply that frogs and other amphibians drive recklessly.
-- The Electrical Parade at Disney’s California Adventure theme park will become the Geothermal Energy Parade.
-- Pinocchio will undergo psychological counseling to improve his low self-esteem, which is believed to cause his lying.
-- Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will reopen as Great Moments with Mr. Sharpton.
-- All 101 Dalmatians will be neutered and spayed to promote responsible pet ownership.

The Season of Lint: October is National Dryer Vent Safety Awareness Month.

Alarming Trends Bureau: A Canadian entrepreneur is rolling out a line of Osama bin Laden toilet paper. Priced at an astronomical $19 per roll, the terrorist TP has bin Laden’s face emblazoned on each sheet.

The 411 on 911: Ever see ‘‘The Simpsons’’ episode in which Homer dials zero and blurts, ‘‘Hello, operator. Give me the number for 911’’? Well, it’s closer to reality than you might think. According to a new book titled ‘‘What’s the Number for 911 Again,’’ Americans who use the emergency number can be pretty stupid.

For example, one man dialed 911 to report spilling antifreeze on his pizza. Another wanted the dispatcher to tell him how long his ‘‘24-hour flu’’ would last. And a woman dialed 911 to ask if a policeman could swing by her house to unplug an electric coffee pot.

No word on how many people call to report dryer vent safety emergencies.

Quote of the Week: From columnist Bill Flick of the Bloomington-Normal Daily Pantograph, reacting to Heinz’s new purple ketchup: ‘‘Have you noticed we haven’t seen Barney lately?’’

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: Ed Gotwalt, the curator of Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, Pa., owns nearly 6,000 pachyderm artifacts, including an elephant-shaped toilet seat, an elephant-shaped marijuana bong and an elephant hair dryer that blows hot air out its trunk.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Bill Catches Hillary With Space Alien! Romantic Nights in NY Love Nest!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, also from WWN: ‘‘Drunken Scientists Go on All-Night Cloning Rampage! Booze-Fest Docs Duplicate Rats, Snakes -- and Each Other!’’

Unpaid Informants: Linda Whitmore, Allison Joyce, Wireless Flash News Service, Chicago Sun-Times, The Oregonian’s Edge column.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate