Speech Police and Political Correctness


Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard died 25 years ago next month after his fourth open-heart surgery. For years, he was my favorite columnist and I read his column every Sunday in the area daily newspaper.

Lewis was the one who first revealed the Speech Police existed. It was in 1976 and Earl Butz, secretary of agriculture under President Gerald Ford, became the first victim of the Speech Police. Earl apparently told a joke one day, something he had done countless times before, but this one was told in public.

He probably had been telling jokes for years, and he had never gotten into trouble before. But this time, somebody overheard Earl tell this particular joke, and they told somebody else, and somebody else told somebody else, until it was in the papers and on television and Earl Butz lost his job because he told a joke.


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