Just a Thought

A tug of the ear, and a tug of the heartstrings
    Carol Burnett, who entertained millions of viewers with her namesake variety show from 1967-78, received the nation’s top humor honor at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts over the weekend. Among those performing in honor of Burnett were Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and others as she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
    To say Burnett was ahead of her time is an understatement. In a time when humor — especially in television — was considered a “man’s world,” Burnett broke the mold as second banana and went on to become a household name, along with cohorts Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and the late Harvey Korman. As one who is lucky enough to remember the full force of that one hour, prime time laugh-fest, I say it’s about time Burnett was recognized for the comedic genius she is. For the younger generation who was not privy to the antics of Burnett and her cast of characters, all I can say is what a shame it is we don’t have the caliber of television shows we once had.
    Burnett, who has full ownership of the show, pulled out of syndication runs in the early 2000’s, stating in an interview she did not want the show to turn stale and lose its appeal. Perhaps that was the case, or perhaps she understandably went with the more profitable option of selling DVD’s of the original shows, rather than having them hacked down to half-hour quickies used more as filler than the showcase it was meant to be. Whatever the reason, to see any part of the show on television in today’s world, your best shot is a late night informercial made by Burnett and friends hawking the DVD’s.
    Still, the show is considered by many to be the pinnacle of variety shows. Who can forget Conway, on any given night, going off-script in an effort to break the rest of the cast into bouts of uncontrollable laughter?
    For those who have not seen the show, or those who would like a reminder of how funny television was way back when, I recommend taking a few moments to enjoy these classic skits, some of which are available on YouTube. There is always time to for laughter, and Burnett and her cast of characters provided plenty.

Just the facts, ma’am.
    The DDD has come under fire of late regarding our policy on the publication of birth announcements. While this is certainly not the first time we’ve been involved in a controversial situation, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, I feel in this particular instance we may be taking some unnecessary heat due to misinformation, misquotes and assumptions that are off the mark.
    It is the policy of the paper to publish, for free, birth announcements of Adams County residents listing both parents in the announcement. If the parents are unmarried, it is required the father, or mother as the case may be, sign the release form granting permission for the announcement to be published. This practice is not done to discriminate against single parents, but is aimed at protecting our company from a potential law suit, particularly if there is a question of paternity.
    The question was recently posed to the DDD what our policy is if the mother is a victim of sexual assault? To the disappointment — and in some cases anger — of the public, this does not change our policy. While we at the paper certainly sympathize with any woman placed in this situation, we are unable to make exceptions in our policy regardless of reason. Again, we are in no way attempting to discriminate against victims of sexual assault.
    We at the DDD are not heartless, unfeeling robots. We appreciate the alleged circumstance this young lady is in and admire she chose to keep and love her precious son. However, we must remain consistent in our policies in order to protect our publication. We may re-examine our policy, and changes may or may not be made in the future. But for now, we will adhere to the policies we have set.
    We have offered this young woman a chance to share her unique story with us and the public. We would be happy to share the good news of her son’s birth despite the circumstances in which he was allegedly conceived. We care about our community and the people who make Adams County such a close-knit place to live. Remember, there are two sides to every story and it’s always a good idea to have all the facts before reaching a conclusion.

    The writer is the associate editor of the Decatur Daily Democrat. She may be reached via email at: jandrews@decaturdailydemocrat.com