Archie Bunker's 1970s rant sounds eerily identical to today's GOP platform

Originally published at: Archie Bunker Predicts 2023 GOP


All in the Family (and the UK series that inspired it- Till Death Us Do Part) always had a huge poe’s law problem. Even at the time they came out, there were lots of people who didn’t see the satire and enthusiastically embraced the “idiot” characters involved.


There were also people on the left, like my dad, who didn’t understand it was satire at first and just hated the show because of how awful Archie was.


Lear knew what he was doing like few others. He was a life-long champion for true ideals of liberty, from flying 52 bomber missions to help end the Nazi regime* to mocking bigots of all stripes on his shows to founding People for the American Way (in response to the Reaganites’ claim of a “moral majority”) and into old age.

[* That means he volunteered. Crew members only had to fly a maximum of 25 and later 35 of these extremely dangerous missions, assuming they made it at all.]


Long before MAGA, the GOP had the John Birch Society, co-founded by Koch daddy Fred, and they never really went away.


I remember when this episode first aired. I watched it with my family.

Back then, Archie’s rant was done for laughs. No one would ever be stoopid enough to hand out guns to passengers boarding an airplane! We all laughed at how ludicrous it was. I think there was even a laugh track for All In The Family that was laughing, too.

That people are agreeing with Archie 40 years later is holy s**t territory.

Others have commented that people didn’t understand it was satire. That, I can understand. But that people think it’s “truth?” :scream: :exploding_head:


There were concerns at the time that the character was a “loveable racist”. This missed Lear’s point that bigots don’t always wear uniforms and weren’t only limited to certain countries or regions; they’re all over America, not obvious monsters but people we might know and otherwise love. Conservatives – including Nixon and his henchmen – hated Lear in part because he made that uncomfortable truth the premise of a show seen by tens of millions every week.


There’s a straight line from Archie Bunker to Donald Trmp, Queens accent included. It’s not Norman Lear’s fault that he was astute enough to create the character of Archie which served as a model for Trmp. He could not have known that his platforming of a bigot would lead to a cult of personality for another bigot after 50 years of de-education and vilifying anything to the left of Ronald Reagan (who is a raving Commie by Republican standards today).


I wish I could find the quote or remember the comedian (I’ll just assume it was Carlin). Mangling it, but the line was something like
“No, Archie Bunker is not relatable, and you don’t have an uncle just like him. The only person with an uncle like Archie Bunker is Benito Mussolini’s nephew.”


the HUGE roar of laughter in the audience when he suggests arming the passengers says it all. my, what a weird mirror-universe we find ourselves in now.


My favorite classic TV factoid is that when All in the Family premiered, Archie and Edith were in their mid-40s.

How’s that mirror looking, Millenials? :laughing:


Also, the extent to which Archie Bunker was a sympathetic character was in spite of his bigotry and regressive views, not because of them.

When Trump started his campaign back in 2015 and Lear was asked to weigh in on the Trump-Bunker comparisons he explained that Trump was much worse because Bunker’s prejudices were borne out of ignorance, and as he gained new information and experiences over the years he gradually (if grudgingly) let go of his bigotry to become a better person.

Anyone who looks to the most ignorant, regressive-even-by-social-standards-of-50-years-ago version of Archie Bunker as a figure to aspire to has got the lesson completely backwards.


What does the Venn Diagram between the folks who idolize Archie Bunker and the ones who identify with Holden Caulfield looks like?

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Throw in a container for “dudes who think Michael Douglas always played heroes during the '80s and '90s” and you’ll still get close to a single circle.

Another laugh comes when he mentions the “big international bankers”. The studio audience immediately knew who the bigot was talking about and thought it was ridiculous. I don’t want to know what the YouTube commenters are saying about that line now.

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There’s a huge difference between Archie and trump, Archie evolved, especially when Stephanie showed up.


See also: The Colbert Report


He shouldn’t feel bad. I am confident that there are people today who hold it up as an example of a show from before the times when TV got all PC (or “woke”), not realizing that Archie and his views were the butt of the jokes.


Oh if you want to see that, and weep for humanity, just go read the YouTube comments on that video.


OH man, that’s like the first rule of Youtube - never read the comments.


Oh, absolutely. There are far too many people that hear the surface level of a show, song, whatever and never get the actual meaning behind it. Thus you get Independence Day fireworks shows playing Born in the USA or thinking Randy Newman supports bombing other countries. (My favorite example remains Rush Limbaugh using part of the Kink’s “Well Respected Man,” apparently never realizing the song was in no way a compliment to the man in question.)

I highly recommend using the “Unhook” extension. You can configure it to turn off comments and other annoying things about YouTube. I really don’t need to see those comments!