All in the Left’s Family: Roseanne Barr and Archie Bunker - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
All in the Left’s Family: Roseanne Barr and Archie Bunker

Conservatives seem intrigued by the new rendition of Roseanne, which, for the record, I plan not to watch. A mere small sample of the typical cultural gruel served up by the TV networks can be seriously unhealthy to body, mind, and soul. But I digress.

The resurrected Roseanne is the talk among the nattering nabobs of the Kultursmog because, evidently, Ms. Barr has been recast as a Trump deplorable. Of course, Hollywood’s cultural engineers will straighten this up, furnishing “Roseanne” with an agreeable assortment of the post-modern first-things liberals love. In due course, this should include everything from a smattering of transgendered children to a Fed-Ex delivery girl with Bernie Sanders’ mug tattooed on her forearm. The liberal zeitgeist will inevitably infuse the Roseanne reboot.

Indeed, such already has been signaled by one Whitney Cummings, someone I hadn’t heard of until yesterday, but, I’m told, is an actress and writer and producer for the new Roseanne. She eloquently promises that the episodes beyond the premiere “are going to piss off conservatives.”

That’s surely the case.

This stage is set. The fix is in. As for Trump enthusiasts excited about the prospect of a primetime poster-gal… well, plan on being suckered, duped, disappointed.

Andrew Wilkow, one of the sharpest minds in talk-radio, is reminded of All in the Family, when Norman Lear and pals thrilled sanctimonious liberals and outraged thoughtful conservatives by portraying Archie Bunker as the conservative prototype: bigoted, prejudiced, ignorant.

The analogy is apt. We can expect a gleeful Bunker-fication of the jolly Roseanne by the wizards of “tolerance” and “diversity” crafting their slick scripts.

And yet, the Archie Bunker analogy is even more keen than at first glance.

I just happened to recently catch two old episodes of All in the Family. I hadn’t seen the show in 20 years. What I saw was illuminating — revealing less about Archie and Edith and Meathead and Gloria than about liberals and their political nastiness and ideological insecurities.

The first of the two episodes was one of the very first broadcasts. The characters were in early development, as evident by the acting and writing. Most remarkable was that Archie was portrayed as much shrewder than he would be through the entirety of the series. He and Meathead went at each other, as they always did, but this time Archie wasn’t a caricature of a boorish right-winger. He gave it to Meathead as good as he got it, if not better. Interestingly, in this particular episode they were debating marriage, which Archie insisted had to be rooted in Scripture, whereas Meathead (and Gloria) argued that marriage is simply about two people loving one another. It was an Age of Aquarius version of “Love Wins.”

Needless to say, Meathead and Gloria weren’t arguing for “same-sex marriage.” Even a ’60s hippy on a bad acid-trip couldn’t have hallucinated that one. The very notion of two men or women “marrying” was as unthinkable in 1971 as it was in 971, 71, 71 B.C., 971 B.C., or, frankly, as recently as the 1995 Defense of Marriage Act when nearly every Democrat joined Republicans in asserting that marriage was between one man and one woman. The unprecedented idea — this modern whim, this ideological lark — that marriage could be redefined to include same-sex couples is a complete fundamental transformation, to borrow from our President of Fundamental Transformation, Barack Obama.

But here’s my point: In this early episode, Archie was smart, and a fair representative of a segment of mainstream public opinion.

Two nights later, I clicked the other All in the Family episode. It was from a few years later. Alas, the intelligent Archie had vanished. This new and permanent Archie was not only dumb but effortlessly hurled insults at blacks, Jews, Catholics. Inarticulate and a laughingstock, he ceaselessly mispronounced words, as liberals in the live audience roared approval at Lear’s splendid creation. This Archie was a joke, literally. Gone was an engaging, lighthearted, and fun representation of two sides, in which each could laugh at the other. Liberals, apparently, couldn’t handle that. Mockery, like “diversity,” is a one-way street for the left.

What had happened?

Clearly, the lefties running All in the Family couldn’t allow an Archie Bunker witty enough to shoot down liberalism’s silly sacred cows and ad-hominem pabulum. Thus, armed with the power to craft fictional “reality,” they invented the Archie they desired: a babbling buffoon who in scrambling to defend a conservative position truly couldn’t put syllables together.

It was an Archie Bunker that satisfied and pacified the liberal imagination.

Ah, yes, that feels better.

Give liberals the ability to fabricate their own alternative reality and they’ll go wild, whether reinventing TV characters or the multi-millennia definition of marriage, gender, sexuality, whatever.

And so, surely this is what we can expect with the new Roseanne. Put aside any hopes of Ms. Barr sympathetically representing a Rustbelt family who voted for Trump because of economic dislocation or Hillary revulsion. (Liberals still accept no responsibility for nominating a horrible candidate in Hillary Clinton.) When Hollywood’s fundamental transformers finish with their new Roseanne, she’ll be stumping for a Trump-David Duke ticket in 2020. Picture a Roseanne waving the Stars-and-Bars and organizing Troglodytes for Trump.

Ah, yes, that feels better.

It’s therapy for the progressive psyche, so bruised by the Hillary rejection in November 2016 and seeking to exact its cultural revenge in the medium it manipulates best. The new Roseanne will be such a slobbering simpleton that she’ll make Archie Bunker look like William F. Buckley, Jr.

So, Trump supporters, you’ve been forewarned. If it turns out I’m wrong, let me know. I won’t be watching.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is Editor of The American Spectator. Dr. Kengor is also a professor of political science at Grove City College, a senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values, and the author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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