I collect Soviet newspapers. Years ago, I used to travel to Moscow’s Izmailovsky flea market every few weeks, hooking up with a dealer who crisscrossed the country digging up front pages from the Cold War era. I have Izvestia’s celebration of Gagarin’s flight, a Pravda account of a 1938 show trial, even an ancient copy of Ogonyek with Trotsky on the cover that someone must have taken a risk to keep. These relics, with dramatic block fonts and red highlights, are cool pieces of history. Not so cool: the writing! Soviet newspapers were wrought with such anvil shamelessness that it’s difficult to imagine anyone ever read them without laughing. A good Soviet could write almost any Pravda headline in advance. What else but “A Mighty Demonstration of the Union of the Party and the People” fit the day after Supreme Soviet elections? What news could come from the Spanish civil war but “Success of the Republican Fleet?” Who could earn an obit headline but a “Faithful Son of the Party”?
The legendary comedian, known for producing such films as Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs, explained his feelings in an interview published Monday with The Daily Beast.
“I’ve never been a fan of political correctness. I’ve been a fan of decent behavior, which is different from political correctness. Because political correctness demands too much respect for being good. And comics are not good. We are bad. We whisper into the king’s ear. We tell him the truth. And that’s our job. It’s our job to say it like it is. And sometimes use the words that we use in the street. You can’t always play ball with the system, you have to strike out and tell the truth.”
Although Brooks says political correctness stifles comedy, the 91-year-old actor, writer, producer, director and composer says he believes only a small portion of people dislike provocative material.
“I think that people enjoy — that people love the comics that break the rules, that’s what I think,” Brooks said. “I think it’s only a sliver that really love political correctness. Everybody else likes the truth, which is different.” MORE