thumbnail of Chicago Tonight; No. 14060; Civility and Political Correctness
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<v Mary Ann Downes-Bagley>[starting beep and silence] Good manners, number one shouldn't cost anything. Th- they truly should be um they're going back to that that built in right and wrong belief that everyone has, it has to start in the home. [music plays] <v Narrator 1>This is Chicago Tonight, broadcast live Monday, October 14th, 1996. <v John Callaway>Good evening. I'm John Callaway and welcome to Chicago Tonight. When I was six years old, on my very first day of school, I tried to kiss Sandy Fitzgerald on the cheek in the cloakroom. No teacher was called in. No suspension was ordered. Sandy Fitzgerald, who also was six years old, handled the situation herself. She kicked me firmly in the shins. That is quite a different story from the one that occurred recently when a North Carolina six year old boy was suspended from school for a day after a teacher witnessed him planting a kiss on the cheek of a classmate. That and a rash of other highly controversial stories ranging from spitting to gesturing to offering midol to a classmate, have created a renewed national conversation about moral standards and legalistic overkill. It is a conversation that we will have right here this evening, beginning with this report from Chicago Tonight, correspondent Phil Ponce.
<v Phil Ponce>Are we losing the compass which guides our conduct? A ballplayer spits on an umpire and is allowed to play in the playoffs anyway. A star football player gives a signal of his own to a referee. At the same time a kid is treated like a hero not for acting like a kid and instinctively reaching for a ball, but for helping a team mistakenly win a playoff game. More evidence the compass is broken? A first grader is banished from class for giving a girl a schoolhouse smooch. A 14 year old girl returns to school in a stretch limo after being suspended for giving another girl a Midol tablet at school. Does any of this make sense to adults, to children? <v Keith Bryant>Like the spitting incident? That's really bad because like the next day when they come to school they might end up spitting at somebody at the lunchroom. <v Phil Ponce>What kinds of messages are young people getting like these students at Edmondson's King Lab School? How do you make the distinction from what you see and what you do? <v Chris Smith>It's basically just judgment. <v Phil Ponce>But how does one develop judgment when images like these sometimes permeate the culture?
<v Caryn Fisher>Well we talk about sportsmanship in our house anyways. Good sportsmanship and poor sportsmanship. So when something like that happens, we immediately point out that that's poor sportsmanship. <v Kellie Fox>Why would you spit on somebody anyway? Because that's that's rude and inconsiderate. <v Francine Perkins>We talk about it. I ask them how they feel about what they've seen. And they you know, we have a dialog around it. And I tell them we talk about doing unto others as we'd have them do unto us. <v Phil Ponce>In fact, the golden rule, etiquette experts say, is the basis for good manners. And those in the manners business say notwithstanding or maybe because of so much rudeness in the world, etiquette training is now booming. <v Mary Ann Downes-Bagley>The 60s and 70s were very liberated. The 80s was kind of a turning away from the me generation, but it took a good 10 years. And now with the 90s, I think we're seeing very much the the green flag coming back up saying, OK enough. <v Phil Ponce>There's renewed interest in how to negotiate this and also in how to handle social situations that have been around for generations, such as handling introductions. Traditional notions of etiquette and good behavior are often challenged by new permutations. For example, what's the correct etiquette at a cash station?
<v Mary Ann Downes-Bagley>If you're waiting in line if if you're at the unit but there's people behind you, they should give you like a five foot clearance behind you. There shouldn't be crowding and and looking over one's shoulder. <v Phil Ponce>And etiquette has developed a set of rules for talking in a chat room on the Internet. But how about instances where society's rules seem to be too strictly enforced? The Ohio Midol girl for example. School officials in the Chicago area say there's a reason for those rules. <v Albert Sye>Disciplinary action is appropriate in that case because we cannot do that. You don't know uh what kind of reaction a student may get- the other student receiving the medication may get from it and then there's a liability factor. <v Wendy Musselman>And it's harder to do what's right now because right is considered a nerd. And so that's the hardest part. <v Phil Ponce>But the kissing kid has his sympathizers. <v Mason Hoffman-Dana>Well, I would say detention or something like that. For maybe a week. Not total out of school. <v Phil Ponce>[inaudible speaking in background] There is one sign, though, that things just ain't right in America. <v Vice President Al Gore>And I would like to thank Jack Kemp for the answer that he just gave.
<v Phil Ponce>[inaudible speaking in background] When it's the politicians who are acting civilly, they may need to take a long hard look at where this country's heading. For Chicago Tonight, I'm Phil Ponce. <v John Callaway>[laughter] Now joining us are four individuals who spend at least part of their lives thinking about the difficult social issues of the day. Aaron Freeman, actor, comedian, writer, philosopher, king. [laughter] Who is host of WBEZ FM's Metropolis program and his own TV show, Talking with Aaron Freeman, which is broadcast on UPN Channel 50. Mr. Freeman is currently co-starring in Gentlemen Prefer Bonds at the Apollo Theater. Al Gini, associate professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago and contributing commentator at WBEZ FM. Lester Munson, associate editor of Sports Illustrated magazine. Mr. Munson is a former attorney and the reason he left the law will be germane to our discussion this evening. And Cindy Richards, a member of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. Ms. Richards wrote a Sun-Times column on Friday that dealt with some of the issues that we will explore this evening and welcome. A very civil [laughter] and polite and courteous welcome to you all to Chicago Tonight. Aaron as you look back over your life, I started with the story of how I kissed Sandy Fitzgerald on the first day of school, or I tried to and she kicked me in the shins. There was no fuss, no news conference, nothing. We handled it nicely and went on to be friends. Um I'm glad that uh that's the way it was handled. Have you had any experiences like that?
<v Aaron Freeman>Sure. Well yeah well I was I- the story I like to tell. When I was in fifth grade, I asked Monica Carmona if she thought I was good looking and she said for a nigger. [laughter] And she meant that. She meant that as a compliment. She meant that as a compliment and that was how I took it. Then it was really that- it and then it was at a time- <v John Callaway>And the ?pickets? are gonna be outside of this program of course. You're even saying that. <v Aaron Freeman>No no. Look at w- where we were we were, you know, in a time and in a place where that was considered appropriate and that was- again, she didn't mean any harm. <v John Callaway>D- d- I'm sorry. I wanna interrupt. Do you have any hesitation in telling that story, given the use of the term you used? <v Aaron Freeman>No, I mean, well, it's OK for me to say it. It's always been OK for for Negroes to use the term. But my only point was that she- <v John Callaway>Now there you did it again. <v Aaron Freeman>What's that? <v John Callaway>For you- you constantly come on this program and refer to African Americans- <v Aaron Freeman>Negroes. <v John Callaway>As Negroes. <v Aaron Freeman>Yes. <v John Callaway>Now you- do you do that in kind of a light jest? <v Aaron Freeman>Oh I think Negro is a funny term. I kind of like the way it sounds. <v John Callaway>[laughter] OK. <v Aaron Freeman>It's ?gramatically? appropriate more ?chromatically? accurate than black. Which obviously I'm not. But uh but the point of it was that Monica meant no harm and there was- we were all trying it. But now the rules have changed. She could no longer do that and I might well have some sort of actionable case. I'd hire [chuckling] somebody like this guy to go in- in the sewer as she said it. But th- uh you know we- the rules have just changed and we're all trying to adjust to what the rules are now. And the rules about kissing people have just changed with good reason because we're attempting to not be to not roll run roughshod over people's sensibilities.
<v John Callaway>It's not at the age of six. We don't start applying those rules there, do we? <v Aaron Freeman>We're just trying. I mean, we're trying to figure out where do you start doing it? <v John Callaway>?Munson? I mean talk about leaving the law. I mean, did you were you just tired of all of that? <v Lester Munson>When I first- <v John Callaway>[inaudible] <v Lester Munson>When I first started working in the courthouse as a lawyer, there was a certain collegiality. There was a certain way that you would make friends, become e-even close friends with the attorneys on the other side of your cases. That all somehow came to an end. And I think most lawyers would agree with that. It it is now as if every case is your last case and and the there is no civility or at least vastly reduced civility. Um- <v John Callaway>And so therefore, you went into the highly civil [laughter] and courteous world of sports and you write for Sports Illustrated which is the Bible of investigative uh work in this area. I mean please- <v Lester Munson>Well just a minute. I am now working with a group of editors and a group of writers. We get along with each other. They are intelligent, they are funny. They are wonderful people to be with. I never had that feeling in the legal profession.
<v John Callaway>The world you cover. <v Lester Munson>Well now there we have some problems, John. And and I'm sure that's one of the reasons we're here tonight. We have some serious problems and and things there seem to be deteriorating the way I saw them deteriorate in the legal profession. <v John Callaway>Ms. Richards, you went kind of ballistic in your column. I mean, you really just kind of threw up your hands and said I've had it with all of this political correctness. Tell us about that. <v Cindy Richards>Well one of my concerns about it is is not only just how ridiculous it is to suspend a six year old for sexual harassment, but the- the effect that it has on adults. There are a number of adults who'll look at that and say oh, this pendulum is just swung too far. It's so ridiculous. These women who have sexual harassment claims are being as ridiculous as the people who suspended the six year old. And it just belittles the whole subject, which is actually a very serious subject. But the fact that adults, school officials have given up their common sense have have given everything over to the lawyers to decide. H- have decided to read these these rules to the letter of the law and apply them to six year olds without thinking about what six year olds think about is just beyond me. And where are the adults and why aren't they exercising their their brains?
<v John Callaway>They're running scared aren't they. Because- <v Cindy Richards>Exactly. <v John Callaway>School districts could be sued. <v Cindy Richards>And they're getting huge settlements. I mean, we really can't overlook the fact that there are settlements out there. But the settlement that everyone talks about was the case of a 14 year old girl who was harassed regularly, who complained, and the school district didn't do anything about it. I mean, those are- that's a very different thing than a six year old planting a kiss on a little girl. <v John Callaway>Mr. Gini I called Aaron Freeman uh partially in jest our philosopher king. But you're our philosopher. Professional philosophy, professional here this evening. <v Al Gini>[inaudible] on his show. [laughter] <v John Callaway>Have have we have have we uh I mean to borrow from Phil Ponce's uh phrase in the opening piece, have we lost uh is the moral compass broken? <v Al Gini>Well, no. That's always a claim of every generation. You know, après moi, le déluge. That after us, the deluge comes and we fall apart. But I think where we got confused right now, especially in the school system and even in sports, there's a difference between manners and morals. But they always overlap to some extent. But both manners and morals enforced not by codes, not by rigid rules, but by the character and witness of another. And I never had one-
<v John Callaway>Wa- wait you just run through very, very quickly. Not by- [inaudible muttering] we don't enforce this by codes. I'm thinking immediately of the Ten Commandments [laughter] and saying well, OK Moses ?step inside?. <v Al Gini>Commandments are very broad. I mean, if you take the- <v John Callaway>Well they're very specific though. Don't murder. <v Al Gini>Well th- they're- <v John Callaway>Don't commit adultery. I mean, you know? <v Al Gini>[stuttering] And don't twice. Must have been a real problem at one time in different sects. But nevertheless, uh [laughter] uh I think that no, I think you you enforce certain kind of conduct by the witness that you offer to others, not simply codes. Yes, there are codes and they're- <v John Callaway>Witness you offer to others. What does that mean? <v Al Gini>Let me make an example. I have no similar story as Aaron did um uh from grammar school because I committed no full powers at all in grammar school [laughter]. All my faux pas are at adult, at a higher order [inaudible] [laughter] stood over us. Those good ?BVMs? and said one small infraction, no matter what it is, we're not going to specify exactly what it might be, but we'll be the one who have to deal with and my father grew up in Taylor and Halsted. I never got in trouble because I knew no matter what I did, if I went to jail for 20 years, my dad would be waiting for me outside the gate. And what he would do to me the next 20 minutes would be you know, beyond beyond what I experienced last year.
<v John Callaway>Are you grateful for that? <v Al Gini>Absolutely grateful. There was a sense of community. There was a sense of what was acceptable and not acceptable. I think we've lost our sense of common sense that Cindy's talking about. There's no one willing to say in loco parentis stop making all that noise, sit down. That's not done anymore. <v John Callaway>Aaron. <v Aaron Freeman>Well, I guess that it seems to me that we are ju- again, trying to figure out the rules of a world into which none of us were born. The rule certainly the rules for what is acceptable for me to say to a woman have changed a- as far as I've known them over the last 20 years. It is they have just changed and it is no longer clear to me what is acceptable in lots and lots of areas. <v John Callaway>But are you understanding about that? Do you say to yourself, well that we are in a changing world. We know we're no longer a colonial world wh- uh things have changed. <v Aaron Freeman>Well, I'm understanding of the people of the people in the school with this little six year old because it's 260 million people in a country. We're all trying to smoosh our way through this. And I s- can easily I don't it's not clear to me what I would think is acceptable for some 6 year old my four year old. [inaudible] <v John Callaway>So you h- so you think that it's a a debate on the 6 year old? You think it's defensible?
<v Aaron Freeman>I had not considered it until this case. And I'm glad they have a chance to think through it. Sure now, I can sit here- <v John Callaway>Can you help him? <v Aaron Freeman>Help me. <v Cindy Richards>I have no idea how to help him. <v John Callaway>Well- <v Cindy Richards>I I I this is- <v John Callaway>[inaudible] I thought maybe tonight- [inaudible] [laughter] <v Cindy Richards>I I I don't think that there's an argument here. I I don't think it's that difficult for people to understand. I- yes, things are changing and the mores are changing. And what's happening is a lot of the things that were rude and that people got away with that were rude years ago- <v Al Gini>Yeah. Right. <v Cindy Richards>The people to whom they were being rude are now able to stand up and say, don't be rude to me anymore. And I don't think there's a problem with that. And and you're bright people and you know what that is. And I don't think it would take that much, frankly, for you to figure out what you wouldn't want happen to your four year old. <v John Callaway>And a lot of people thought that it really wasn't a difficult decision on Roberto Alomar. If you're going to spit in a major league umpire's face then you're going to be suspended not next year, you're going to be suspended now at a minimum. [murmuring] End of conversation. Does anybody else wanna talk about anything else? But it didn't happen. <v Lester Munson>And the- <v John Callaway>What's going on?
<v Lester Munson>And the guy that had trouble with it was president of universities. This is what he did for a living. You would think that this would be- <v John Callaway>Is who? <v Lester Munson>The easiest. Gene Dudek is his name. He's the president of the American League. These owners of Major League Baseball thought they got a real star when they hired him. He is now uh one of the most embarrassing mistakes they've made. And as we all know, they've made a lot of embarrassing mistakes. And he looks the situation over, there was almost no way to screw it up. And he did. <v John Callaway>Yeah [agreeing and murmuring]. <v Lester Munson>And he was afraid of the celebrity of the player. He was afraid of disrupting the showcase of baseball, the playoffs. [agreeing] And he just got everything wrong because I don't think he had one of the codes in operation that we're talking about here. You you really wonder how he could be so wrong? <v John Callaway>Well, d- does coming out of the university perhaps condition you to all of that? <v Lester Munson>I I think I think we're missing one point here. I- it's real easy. <v Lester Munson>W- well one of the ways of attacking the idea of being politically correct is to take it to its extreme, to do what happened to the six year old-
<v Cindy Richards>Exactly. <v Lester Munson>Instead of accepting the idea that we should be polite to each other, somebody who doesn't like that who wants to be chauvinist, who wants to be biased, who wants to be a bigot, they take things to an extreme and they embarrass them. And that's why we have some of these cases. It's a deliberate sabotage. <v John Callaway>[inaudible shouting] So you have both extremes. You have the in-your-face culture and you the politically correct culture. [inaudible murmuring] <v Al Gini>But there was a reason why these rules came up. And I don't wanna defend the, ya know, logic of absurdum, the ridiculous uh degree to which they are applied. This is this is the uh f- this is the where we have the inheritance of the 60s. This concern for human rights, a concern for human issues, a concern for the dignity of others. But what you've set up is a rights rights conflict and the assumption is that both sets of rights can win. Well, they never can both win. And so you've got this formal- informalism that's imposed upon us and that's as draconian as um a- as as hard hard core rules. And it doesn't work because there's no human element. The parent of one of this one of these childs should've said to the other parent, that's inappropriate. I know but they're kids fooling around. You know, let's stop that. [inaudible]
<v Cindy Richards>Let's just explain to him that it's inapropriate. <v Al Gini>Explain to him what's going on here. <v John Callaway>But, you know, going back to kissing Sandy Fitzgerald, I kept thinking. What was it? I didn't see a bunch of movies and there wasn't any television in those days. But you know what I saw in my home? I saw my father constantly kissing my mother. [laughter] They were affectionate. And that's called family values. Now I go to school there, Sandy Fitzgerald and I give her- try to give her a kiss on the cheek. [laughter] No, but I'm saying it's a very interesting [inaudible]. <v Cindy Richards>Did anyone ever explain to you the difference between your mom kissing your dad and you kissing Sandy Fitzgerald? <v John Callaway>Sandy Fitzgerald did when she kicked me in the shins. [inaudibly talking over one another] It was a very wonderful lesson. <v Cindy Richards>You learned that lesson very well. <v Al Gini>But there was also a whole series of customs and traditions that reinforce certain conduct and ?negated? others. I'm sorry. <v Aaron Freeman>Well no I would just say though with- well with Alamar and with this six year old, it does not seem to me that it is as clear as it would seem as we view it through the cartoon like lens of national media. <v Al Gini>Right. <v Aaron Freeman>For example, with Alamar there are rules and the w- with the Players Association Contract that they- you can't just kick people out of the playoffs. <v Lester Munson>And uh you can kick 'em out. There is nothing in the union contract that prevented the American League president from suspending him instantly and from all of the playoffs. [inaudibly speaking over one another] No matter what you hear from the President of the Union, I have gone through the union contract. This is what I do. Uh I'm very careful about it [laughter]. [inaudibly speaking over one another] And I'm here to tell you that they could've they could've suspended him immediately and for months.
<v Aaron Freeman>But it is the position of the players union that they couldn't. <v Lester Munson>And they would have lost that case in court. <v John Callaway>To Al Gini, the very term players union, the notion that you have to have a players union in order to affect the uh relationship, etcetera. <v Al Gini>Well you gotta be careful here. <v John Callaway>I I uh mean- I'm just saying that in the old days, we would have thought, well, you don't need it, but that was a plantation. <v Al Gini>Well, I'm not sure. <v John Callaway>Had a plantation [inaudible]. <v Al Gini>Absolutely. And the problem with him is celebrity status done on national TV. Justice deferred is justice denied without without uh imposition and a and a judgment. This man now rules the roost. And you've got a bit of a sham going on here. And it's and, you know, this is physical violence. I'm sorry. Guys learn about what, when we're 20? That you can't put your fists up anymore. When you're 14 and you're on the in the playground, you have a fight. It's a yeah yeah fight. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And it's over. When you're 20 and you hit a man, you best either hit him er strap him with one [laughter] or drop it and run. Yes. And and-. <v John Callaway>In this culture? <v Al Gini>In this culture and I think in any culture, this man violated this other man in a way that is bad as a physical violation.
<v Cindy Richards>Are you telling me that's how men learn civility. <v Al Gini>Uh you learn [inaudible] [laughter] <v John Callaway>[inaudibly talking over one another] It's a very poignant moment. Yes. Go on. <v Al Gini>Wanna fight about this? [laughter] Listen, there's- [inaudible] <v Chris Smith>Can we get- can we get back- <v Al Gini>Yes. That's one of the ways. You learn by you learn by extremities. But you learn also that when you're a kid, you really can't hurt each other. But then there comes a point when you could really hurt each other. Then you best find another way to deal with each other. [inaudible] <v Cindy Richards>Can we get back to this sports piece of it? <v John Callaway>Sure. <v Cindy Richards>Because one of the things that bothers me is that people who have paid no attention to baseball and there are many who who don't. All they know is that Roberto Alomar spit on an umpire and the message that that sends about what is allowed and what is OK to not only adults, but to children or maybe I should say that oppositely, not only to children, but to adults is, I think, quite appalling and says some pretty horrible things about our culture. <v Aaron Freeman>But I see again this seems to me that this is about the cartoon-like nature of national media. <v Cindy Richards>But it is the reality with which we deal. I mean, the cartoon-like or not-
<v Aaron Freeman>Well- <v Cindy Richards>That is what people know about what's going on. I don't even know who won that game, but I know that Roberto Alomar spit on someone. <v Aaron Freeman>I mean okay but the fact that people view the incident out of context is outside of any with any kind of historical context. [inaudibly shouting over one another]. <v Cindy Richards>Well we can have a whole debate about the quality of the media. <v John Callaway>Context. You mean that if they had a of of camera of Ty Cobb's behavior years ago- <v Cindy Richards>Exactly. <v Aaron Freeman>[inaudible] <v John Callaway>They might have- <v Aaron Freeman>Any different opinion about him is big with entertainers except surprise. Tolerance of absolutely hideous behavior as far as every entertainment medium, I know of does this. Tolerates anything as long as you produce the product. And that's- <v Cindy Richards>So is this a media problem not a culture problem? <v Aaron Freeman>Well no, this is um it's an economic problem. The the the commissioners of baseball, the owners of the teams could care less. They wanna put the best team on the on the field and that's their job. <v John Callaway>I'd like to introduce another element and Lester, I'll start with you. You've got a 12 year old boy who apparently was wearing a baseball glove reaches over at a key moment in a Yankee Orioles playoff game and brings on into the stands what was a towering fly ball that might not have been a home run. And he is celebrated. This is interference with play. And he is he's made a hero. Do we worry about that when we have a discussion of broken moral compass?
<v Lester Munson>I I don't think we have to. I think that shows Aaron's point of the toxic effect of the media, particularly in a megalopolis like New York. There, where there are all these tabloid organizations swooping in on this kid and everything mushrooms. I don't think this- [laughter] <v John Callaway>Toxic megalopolises, is that right? [inaudibly speaking over one another] No no no but he said it. But can you spell it? [laughter] <v Cindy Richards>[inaudible] That was a bad call. <v Lester Munson>She's exactly right. The umpire made a terrible call [inaudible talking in background] and and he admitted it. And it was a wonderful balance to Alomar. Alomar says, I'm so sorry I spit on the man. Let's put it behind us. The umpire says oh, I'm so sorry I blew the call and hurt Alomar's team. Let's put it behind us. Was there a trade off? I think maybe there was, but but I don't think it's a media problem. I think we treat certain athletes and Alomar is one as icons. They become untouchable. And that is definitely a problem. <v John Callaway>Is it OK to make a hero out of the boy? <v Al Gini>[inaudible] is intentional? I mean [inaudible] it's like the little boy kissing the little girl. But what's the intention? What's he about? Was this really seduction or was this really experimentation?
<v John Callaway>And this boy was just enthusiastically out there reaching for the ball. <v Al Gini>Cute as can be, puts his glove out there. And the and the far fetched notion, how many of us have not brought our mitts to the park and the only thing you've done with it is sit on it. He put his glove out and the ball fell in his hand. Now, if this had been myself out there with a couple of beers, I would have been strung up by the rafters and rightfully so, I might add, because I broke the rules knowingly. What's the intention of some of these faux pas. And the attention says all. <v Aaron Freeman>It's like when Monica [inaudible] called me a nigger. She didn't mean anything. She meant that as a compliment.[inaudible] <v John Callaway>Is there is is there in our culture and should there be also a kind of safe haven aspect of this? In other words, I'm a civil person most of the time, but now I go to the ballpark and I boo the umpire or I do reach over and try [cough] and catch the fly ball or uh in a in some religions, I go to Mardi Gras Mardi Gras and perhaps have a couple of beers too many or something. I mean, should we- does somebody wise do the wise people say some of this is OK? <v Aaron Freeman>They always have. I mean as you mentioned, the Ten Commandments. I mean murder is just killing against the rules? There's all of this ev- every culture has had places where you can kill people. It was absolutely acceptable to kill people everywhere, certainly in the Bible. And there's just rules. You you put rules where it's OK to kill over here, you can't kill over there. You can s- yell over, you can move here. You can't do it over there. And it's just a question of context of where it's OK to do it.
<v Al Gini>And in the Dionysian festivals and the bacchanal festivals, it was a OK to be mad. It was a OK to be drunk with wine, it was a OK for procreation that was outside of the uh marital bed, etcetera, etcetera. These were these safety valves. And ballparks, I think, and as a sports lover, ballparks are a wonderful place for that. But you're still in community with others. And as Oliver Wendell Holmes says, uh freedom does not include the right to yell fire in a crowded auditorium, nor does it and your freedom stops at the full extent of your arm. So I have to be kind to my uh to my fellow patron here as well. So there are rules. Otherwise, communities break down and what you get is everybody running for the same damn exit at the same time. <v John Callaway>Right now, Cindy so do you have any concern about this case of the 14 year old girl who apparently gave a classmate a Midol and then is suspended for dr- what was it, drug? Infraction of drug policy? <v Cindy Richards>Well, yeah, she got something like a 4 month suspension and the girl she gave it to got 9 days off and was sent to drug counseling. <v John Callaway>Now, what's that all about? <v Cindy Richards>I mean, what kind of a message does that send to her junior high friends who are dealing with real issues about real drugs. <v John Callaway>Mmm.
<v Cindy Richards>You know on the streets or whatever, people are talking to them about taking drugs and their school is s- suspending someone for giving her an over-the-counter painkiller. Um I i- it just it it says to kids, I think that we don't really understand what the limits are. And we need to be very clear with children what limits are. <v John Callaway>Robert Coles had a piece in The New York Times saying that there's too much of this kind of social counseling going on and that we've we've taken all religion out of the classroom. We've taken all this, you know, it's not OK to do the flag, etcetera. And if you don't come up with some yeses and nos, then you've got all this kind of psychobabble and you're lost. <v Al Gini>Well, in lieu of positive values, we offer prohib- prohibitions. I mean, that's what part of this is all about because we don't know what we can tell people in a positive, affirming manner without being Leo Buscaglia and hugging them, which is, of course, against the rules in a classroom. No teacher- no teacher can touch. [laughter] <v John Callaway>And thank God. <v Al Gini>Thank God. [laughter]. Yes. Yes. Although I must- <v John Callaway>Pardon the expression! [cackling] [clapping]. <v Al Gini>I don't take any offense, but nevertheless [laughing]- I'm ju- sorry.
Chicago Tonight
Episode Number
No. 14060
Civility and Political Correctness
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WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This episode is "Civility and Political Correctness" as described above. Begins with a report from correspondent Phil Ponce, who interviews parents and children at Edmondson's King Lab School (Keith Bryant, Chris Smith, Caryn Fisher, Kellie Fox, Francine Perkins, Mason Hoffman-Dana), Mary Ann Downes-Bagley of Social Presence, Inc., school administrator Albert Sye, teacher Wendy Musselman. Callaway is joined in the studio by panelists Aaron Freeman, host his own TV show, Talking with Aaron Freeman; Al Gini, associate professor of philosophy at Loyola University; Lester Munson, associate editor of Sports Illustrated magazine; and Cindy Richards, a member of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board.
Series Description
"'Chicago Tonight is to local broadcast news what "Nightline" is to the evening network newscasts-- a show that picks up where the headlines stop.' --The Daily Herald. "For more than a dozen years now, Chicago area viewers have turned to Chicago Tonight for in-depth reporting. One of the very few prime time news analysis programs in the country, Chicago Tonight regularly tackles the kind of news that television increasingly avoids. Politics, the economy, urban planning, and the arts are among the bread-and-butter issues that Chicago Tonight regularly devotes a full half-hour to four nights a week. "With a small staff, tight budget and shot deadlines, Chicago Tonight consistently goes after complex stories and succeeds in producing balanced, compelling, intelligent television. "Our entry includes a brief summary of the 203 programs produced last year, as well as tapes of five programs that demonstrate the quality and range of the series. 'Interest Rates' looks at the impact of a recent Federal Reserve Board decision to hold the line on interest rates. 'Civility and Political Correctness' is a good-humored examination of the state of our moral compass in the wake of the Roberto Alomar spitting incident. 'Gary Sinise' is a different kind of celebrity interview. 'Welfare Reform' assesses the state of welfare reform in Illinois. 'Property Transfer Tax' chronicles a local tax revolt brought on by attempts to push through a record-breaking increase."--1996 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-a9ecd7bcad7 (Filename)
Format: Betacam: SP
Duration: 0:30:00
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Chicago: “Chicago Tonight; No. 14060; Civility and Political Correctness,” 1996-10-14, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Chicago Tonight; No. 14060; Civility and Political Correctness.” 1996-10-14. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Chicago Tonight; No. 14060; Civility and Political Correctness. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from