Let’s Hear it For … Dan Quayle????

Let’s face it: if you had to choose out of all the social media/sharing sites, it’d have to be YouTube. How many times have you been reminded of something, or been told of something you never knew existed?; or seen something incredible or just been entertained?

What makes the YouTube experience so enjoyable is its sheer randomness. Something pops in your head, then you go looking, you maybe find what you want, but perhaps even better you find something you weren’t looking for but which is better than what your initial random thought.

Recently, the comedy series Murphy Brown popped in my head. I used to watch it when a teen. A professional woman trying to cut it in the world of news, surrounded by caricatures of US news celebrities. At the same time (and this is the great thing with YouTube serendipity) I didnt know what I was looking for when I typed Murphy Brown into the search engine.

Lo and behold, up popped Dan Quayle! Oh, another memory! Quayle was a political joke who once happened to be the 2nd most powerful man (on paper) in the US. He had this unfortunate habit of sticking his neck out and getting it kicked. His name suited him: Quayle was hunted game in Washington.

However, my sojourn into the YouTube search engine led to a feeling of respect for our tarred and feathered friend.

In 1992, Quayle singled out Murphy Brown for criticism. The TV series – in Quayle’s mind (probably rightly so) – was promoting single motherhood. Bearing children alone, Quayle demurred, was advocated as just another ‘lifestyle choice.’

At the time, he got buried in an avalanche of criticism. The usual PC frenzy. Yet, who can honestly criticise Quayle today? Absentee fathers are a major problem and promoting single motherhood as no different to a married family life is the height of moral relativism (Disclaimer: yes there are people who find themselves in this unfortunate situation and single mothers who do a great job but that is not what is being discussed here). No one needs to be told of all the downsides but I’ll provide this information anyway.

Why I really admire Quayle, moreover, is the fact that he had the courage to take on the laissez-faire free speech lobby. This came across as government interfering in personal choices at the time. But Quayle occupied a position of influence and used his power in a beneficial manner. And personally I don’t believe that the entertainment industry is as open and free-wheeling as it is perceived. The message emanating is tightly controlled. Family, perhaps above all else, is routinely condemned by the entertainment industry. The Murphy Brown storyline was propaganda offering an alternative to proper parenting.

It took considerable bravery on Quayle’s part and his argument was sound. So, lets hear it for Dan Quayle (and why not click on this link?).

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