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PC Culture

The Impossibility of Heathers

The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, Calif. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A few months ago, I wrote that it would be impossible to make the Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles today: the abusive racial language, the ethnic humor (not just the black-white stuff of the main storyline but the Yiddish-speaking Indians and maybe even the German stuff), the gay humor, such punchlines as “I like rape!” etc.– none of that would make it past the modern version of the Hays Commission.

I had the same thought watching Heathers for the first time in many years. It’s a different world: The teen-agers in that film wonder whether the Christian Slater character will get in trouble for firing off a revolver loaded with blanks in the cafeteria; in 2018, Jason Dean would be in custody — or shot dead — for that prank.

I’d like to hear from my colleagues and our readers on this: What film or television show from your youth would be impossible to make today because of the conformist hysteria that we sometimes call “political correctness”? And what does that say about freedom of speech de facto vs. freedom of speech de jure?

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