The death of Jean Stapleton, who played lovable dingbat housewife Edith Bunker in hardcore leftist Norman Lear's groundbreaking 1970s television stitcom "All in the Family", has led to an outpouring of doe-eyed, feel-good nostalgic mourning. Even posters on conservative-leaning websites like Free Republic express sadness and fond feelings for this seminal character in American television.
Once again, I hate to trash the recently departed, but this woman was a key part of a cast of committed liberal ideologues whose very goal was to destroy the America they lived in, a goal they have largely accomplished. Creator Norman Lear never hid from the fact that his very purpose was to use his television shows to advance an agenda:
Entertainment matters. When Edith Bunker, on Norman Lear's All in the Family, was nearly raped, and when Bea Arthur's character, on Norman's show Maude, had an abortion, Americans across the country felt enabled by fictional characters to grapple with taboo topics, in their own ways, at their own kitchen tables. In the weeks after cool bad boy Fonzie, on Garry Marshall's series Happy Days, got a library card, the number of Americans getting library cards increased by 500 percent.
Today, the makers of some movies and television shows deny that entertainment can function as the country's agenda-setter and unofficial curriculum; they see no connection between what they put on screen and plagues like smoking, body dysmorphic disorder, addiction and gun violence. They don't buy the notion that audiences significantly absorb values and attitudes from entertainment, or that people believe that the "facts" depicted in fiction are actually facts. But other writers and producers do step up to the responsibilities that come with their storytelling power. Many of them have taken advantage of a free Lear Center resource - a program called Hollywood, Health & Society - to learn what's accurate from some of the country's top medical experts, and they've been using that knowledge to make their stories realistic without compromising entertainment value.
So much for the notion that conservatives are paranoid about the propaganda they see everywhere on television. And just what did our dear Edith help popularize to the American people in the 1970s?
a. Atheism and the outright mocking of religious faith:
d. Mutilation as birth control:
e. And, of course, via the "All in the Family" spinoff "Maude", child murder:
Other episodes routinely painted white men as idiots and racists and highlighted every form of racial and feminist grievance under the sun in a blatant attempt to foment discord and difference. All with the goal of destroying any semblance of a unified culture. But it is the episodes above that really show the ugliness of this "beloved" sitcom and its loathing for the traditional values of its viewing audience.
Just as the number of Americans getting library cards surged after that episode of "Happy Days", the number of Americans turning to the Culture of Sexual Death after watching a wildly popular and hence influential show like "All in the Family" was bound to increase. Jean Stapleton in the role of Edith Bunker helped make this happen. She helped shape the dismal and depressed culture we have today. Please excuse me if I don't cry along with all the other mourners because this very destructive woman has passed.