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The Decline of "Controversial"
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When I was a kid in 1970, the word “Controversial” was a term of praise, as illustrated by this ad for Robert Altman’s movie Brewster McCloud:


In 2019, however, “controversial” means “not respectable, probably should be deplatformed.”

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  1. Jack D says:

    Contraversial starts with “con”, like conservative. Liberal, even leftist views are never controversial (nor are they extreme) – only rightist ones. In fact whatever is the leftist party line at the moment (and the Overton window keeps rolling to the left) is just the normal or correct view and is not controversial at all. So when Obama still opposed gay marriage this was not a controversial view at all. Today anyone who has this view is an “extremist”.

    Joe Biden has been around long enough that this is a problem for him. All Kamala has to do is drag out his view from early in his career and he appears to be an “extremist” by 2019 standards. Can you believe that he once supported sending black people to jail when they committed crimes? Well I never….

    • Replies: @IHTG
  2. anonymous[312] • Disclaimer says:

    I seem to remember something about young Bud training himself to fly inside the Houston Astrodome? Or was it just the brown acid?

    • Replies: @el topo
  3. jcd1974 says:

    From the era when students protested against speech codes. Of course, now students protest in favor of speech codes.

  4. J.Ross says:

    What has obviously happened is that our society has become more rigid and our people weaker.
    But our movie posters got better (then they got much worse, recently, where all of them are just a photo of the main actor anyone could snap in seconds on their phone).

  5. B36 says:

    Also when you were a kid “conformity” was a bad thing.

  6. dearieme says:

    Just wait until something is called neocontroversial.

  7. keypusher says:

    OT: Why the Trump Administration is worthless, Chapter MCLVII

    Law360 (September 10, 2019, 9:03 PM EDT) — The U.S. Department of Justice can move forward with claims that a staffing company discriminated against foreign and dual citizens while helping Clifford Chance LLP staff up a project in 2017, according to a decision made public Tuesday.

    Administrative Law Judge Jean C. King found that the Justice Department had presented enough allegations to support claims of discrimination against Chancery Staffing, previously known at TransPerfect, including that the company only considered U.S. citizens for a document review project and sent out an email that U.S. citizenship was a requirement for it.

    Why did Transperfect do such a dreadful thing? Because the law firm that was hiring it told it to, given the sensitive nature of the documents being reviewed.

    Clifford Chance had told investigators that it placed a citizenship-based staffing restriction on a specific document review project because it believed it was required by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, which in certain circumstances requires only a “U.S. person” to review highly sensitive materials.

    Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? But not to Trump’s Department of Justice.

    But the DOJ said the law firm misunderstood its obligations under the ITAR and that the regulations did not excuse discrimination on the basis of immigration status or nationality.

    TransPerfect claimed at the administrative court that it had not deliberately violated immigration laws because it had relied on its client’s claims that ITAR required that only those with sole U.S. citizenship touched the documents for the project.

    But Judge King held that intent is a “factual inquiry” that should not be decided this early in the case, preserving that claim as well.

    Read more at:

  8. IHTG says:
    @Jack D

    That must mean the word “libertarian” is really annoying for liberals.

  9. They’re trying way too hard with the promo. It was a box office flop no doubt.

  10. IHTG says:

    SCOTUS finally comes through:

  11. off topic, let’s just check in on what David French is tweeting about for 9/11

    Hm, let’s see, his take is “we should all be thankful for what a great job the establishment is doing”


  12. Daniel H says:


    Bud Cort was an alt-Superstar for a few years back in the late 60’s early 70’s. MASH, Strawberry Statment, Brewster Mc Cloud, Harold and Maude. I wonder what happened to him.

    • Replies: @el topo
  13. Hodag says:

    Serrano’s government funded “Piss Christ” was controversial and challenging.

    What about a rainbow flag in a vat of urine? Would anyone have the guts to try it?

    And if a brave queer person would try to save it Rick Monday-style…would you stand up for artistic freedom of go running afraid of the spray?

    Is art challenging enough for you?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Known Fact
  14. Hodag says:

    And why do the fates conspire against us so Tuesday Weld never married Rick Monday?

    Tuesday Monday could have adopted Wednesday Addams so we could get Wednesday Tuesday Monday.

    The fates are cruel.

  15. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    Im not sure we could have a hot lips fantastic blonde character anymore either. Except in porn where anything goes.

    Hopefully its cyclical. Whats certain is marketing is now desperate to prevent anything that the broader media will use to either sue them or limit sales.

    Like everything else, its turned into just another racket, not literature art or social critique.

  16. Steve

    Off topic:

    27 Retired US Army Generals and Admirals sign a letter calling for a massive increase in Muslim LEGAL IMMIGRANTS comming to the US…

    What I saw this past summer…..18 years after 9/11….

    1)Lake George NY has been handed over to Muslim Men dressed in TALIBAN-Al QUEDA-ISIS outfits sporting the scraggly Taliban-Isis-Al Queda beards…Pregnant Muslim wives wearing the purple Afghanistan Poppy Field outfits….The extended Patel Family Family own all the Hotels in Lake George….

    2)I saw 1)driving past Harbes Farm out in the North Fork Farm Country(Long Island East End)
    …..picking black raseberries….it looked like a scene from an Afghanistan Poppy Field…

    Quiz time for Steve’s Readers:What did three star General Casey say after the incident at Fort Hood….



  17. I often ask people: when is the last time you saw the the bumper sticker “Question Authority” on a liberal’s car?

    Nowadays you’re more likely to see it on a Deplorable’s car.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    , @trelane
    , @NOTA
  18. @candid_observer

    “Question Authority” is only popular with people who don’t have any.

  19. NOTA says:

    Why, it’s almost like the issue is *which* authorities we’re to question!

  20. J.Ross says:

    I cannot believe Serrano put an antique Torah scroll in a large glass jar of labeled urine. The balls on that guy.
    (Except that it’s just meaningless defilement that goes nowhere and cost him nothing.)

  21. “Controversial,” adj., Anything or anybody we don’t like.

    I was thinking this might be about one of those fascinating media word-usage charts we’ve seen lately, showing “controversial” actually dwindling from the lexicon after some peak years. But I’m sure the word will remain in use as long as there’s some common-sense proposal or mildly outspoken conservative figure guilty of arousing media disdain.

    54 genders or free stuff for illegals? Nope, nothing “controversial” about that

  22. @Hodag

    Did the relentlessly pretty good Rick Monday ever imagine he was about to make one of the most legendary plays in baseball history?

  23. Corvinus says:

    “When I was a kid in 1970, the word “Controversial” was a term of praise, as illustrated by this ad for Robert Altman’s movie Brewster McCloud…”

    You mean one data point lends support to what you thought at the time was a word that meant endearment. Nostalgia can play tricks on one’s mind.

    “2019, however, “controversial” means “not respectable, probably should be deplatformed.”

    That would be a great platform for you to run on, Mr. Sailer. Now more than ever you should run for political office. You have the clout. You have the funding.

    Or am I being too controversial?

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    , @Lot
  24. That movie inspired Where’s Waldo?.

  25. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    Controversial doesn’t mean problematic, yet. It means that there are two sides, and they are perceived to be more polarized than general, like those Amazon reviews that have a U-shaped curve, lots of 5s and lots of 1s.

    You can produce your own ad hoc, Oxford English Dictionary-esque usage corpus by searching Google for “controversial” and so on with various URLs.

  26. @War for Blair Mountain

    The racial makeup of the village is 97.36% White, 1.02% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.71% of the population.

    This is the census data from 2000.

    Did this really happen or are you exagerating?

  27. @Hodag

    The Twi people sometimes name their kids according to what day of the week, especially if the kid was born on a Friday. Kofi is a very common Twi name, meaning a boy born on Friday. The most famous Twi was Kofi Annan.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  28. Jack D says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    The extended Patel Family Family own all the Hotels in Lake George…

    Patels are mostly Hindus from India. Most Hindus from India like Muslims even less than white people.

  29. ATBOTL says:

    Media product in the 70’s was always being hyped up as “irreverant.”

  30. Mr. Anon says:

    You mean one data point lends support to what you thought at the time was a word that meant endearment.

    That was one example. There are many others, idiot.

    Nostalgia can play tricks on one’s mind.

    You’re safe then, since you don’t seem to have one.

    Or am I being too controversial?

    No, just too stupid, as usual, you nitwit.

  31. Mr. Anon says:

    It is common for the media to describe things that majorities of people think – even overwhelming majorities – as “controversial”.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
  32. el topo says:

    That is correct. It’s an enjoyably absurd, dark satire. Of all the directors to emerge from the “New Hollywood” period of the early 70s, Altman was the most genuinely original artist, right up superb late films like “Gosford Park” and “Prairie Home Companion”.

  33. el topo says:
    @Daniel H

    I saw Patton Oswalt do a stand-up routine a few years ago in which he described running into Bud Cort in a cafe in the Los Feliz neighborhood next to Hollywood), and Bud coochy-cooing Oswalt’s baby. (The gist of the joke was that Oswalt had recently moved to this hipster neighborhood and decided after encountering Cort that he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.)

  34. JimDandy says:

    I just like the Rick Monday reference. If he saved an American flag from being burnt by Puerto Ricans today, he’d probably be arrested for a hate crime.

  35. @Hodag

    Tuesday Weld should have married Ted Knight.

  36. Bud Cort looks like Austin Powers here.

    Bud Cort’s real name was Walter Cox, necessitating a change.

    Movie posters were much more expressive back then. To Sir with Love had: A story as fresh as the girls in their minis, while Beyond the Valley of the Dolls had: This is NOT a sequel – there has never been anything like it.

    As for Altman, he was bitter about his lack of financial remuneration from MASH. He would refer to the star of the TV version as “Alan Albert”. His son composed the lyrics to the theme song. Therefore, every time it got played on TV, he got paid, even though the lyrics were unheard. Altman fils made MUCH more than his dad on MASH. This is similar to Johnny Carson writing the never-heard lyrics to his theme song, forcing the author of the music to share royalties. That author, of course, was

    Paul Anka

  37. @Hodag

    Tuesday Weld, Sigourney Weaver, and Season Hubley were all christened Susan.

  38. @Paleo Liberal

    The Twi people sometimes name their kids according to what day of the week

    How twee of them.

  39. There was a couple named August and June March in a church I attended once.

  40. Of all the directors to emerge from the “New Hollywood” period of the early 70s, Altman was the most genuinely original artist,

    His teenage son made many times what his dad did from M*A*S*H. He did the lyrics for the theme, and gets the royalties even though it’s almost always heard as an instrumental. Altman fils has probably never had to work.

  41. @Steve Sailer, until 1973 or so, Deep Throat was a “controversial” film, and not yet some guy now installed in the Media-Leftist-Complex’s Pantheon of Heros of The Republic.

  42. “Groovy”, however, was always idiotic.

  43. Lot says:

    Spend any time looking at advertising from the 60s and 70s and you will see “controversial” used as a positive point. It was especially common to promote movies.

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