6 Things That Feel Controversial, But We Aren’t Really Sure Why

Things that are perfectly fine to discuss in public, but you would say quietly nonetheless
6 Things That Feel Controversial, But We Aren’t Really Sure Why

These days, everyone is a little more mindful about the things they say and consume. Depending on your point-of-view, this is either because of the rampant infection of the woke mind virus, or empathy. Ill leave it up to you to choose your side, and Ill see half of you in the comments. 

But sometimes, especially given how much has indeed aged poorly, some things result in a false alarm of allyship. To be clear once more, I dont think this is a bad thing. If the FDA was like, “Sometimes were going to accidentally recall a food that didnt have E. coli in it,” I dont think most people would be like “The FDA is killing food!” Yet, especially while writing articles online with my name attached to them, theres a couple things that have hit the trip wires, only for me to realize on further thought that theyre… perfectly fine?

Here are six things that feel controversial, but dont really have anything wrong with them.

Stuart from MadTV

When the Michael McDonald character Stuart walks on-screen, he delivers a right hook to every alarm bell in my brain. Its not like there arent other characters from MadTV that have truly aged horribly (looking at you, Ms. Swan), so the benefit of the doubt is already mostly gone. A grown man, dressed as a child, covered in pancake makeup and doing a weird voice? Nine times out of ten, that's going to get bad. Breaking it down, though, Stuart is just a child. A highly unsettling child, yes, but outside of the visually upsetting portion of it, theres really nothing to clutch pearls about, even if your hand is already raising to your collarbones.

The Word Bugaboo


This picture doesnt feel especially great either.

Surprising absolutely no one, a lot of antiquated slang has racist and/or generally horrific baggage. Anyone who's ever googled “rule of thumb” can tell you all about that. I’m just trying to give friendly advice, and suddenly, I’ve accidentally brought government-approved domestic abuse into a work email. As an enjoyer of jaunty-sounding old turns of phrase, whenever I’ve wanted to include the phrase “bugaboo” in a piece of writing, I’ve double-triple-quadruple checked that it is, in fact, not as racist as it sounds. I don’t know if it’s just the vibe, or the fact that the silliest phrases always seem to be the horrific ones, or the similarity to an actual slur that I won’t include here, but I clench my jaw every time I read it — even though it just comes from an old Welsh word, bwg, for a goblin or ghost.

Mike Myers Playing Dieter

Again, we’ve got a bit of aged sketch comedy. Dieter, host of German talk show Sprockets, is, as far as I can tell, making fun of no one except the high art world and Germans (who really don’t have a leg to stand on in terms of discrimination). Still, something about the whole thing would make me think twice before telling someone, “Hey, you know who’s a really funny character? Dieter, from old Saturday Night Live.” 

Like Stuart, the sketches featuring Dieter are, first and foremost, incredibly stupid in a good way. By the time he yells things like “your story has become tiresome, now is the time on Sprockets where we dance,” you can rest easy knowing this whole thing is probably fine.

Wheels from the BK Kids Club

Burger King

A clear marketing ploy? Maybe, but somehow less offensive than everything else from the 90s.

Disabilities were handled so overwhelmingly poorly by much of media for so long that if youre looking at anything from the 90s featuring a character in a wheelchair, your asshole clenches hard enough to hold fishing line. When that character is named “Wheels, hoo boy, youre ready for things to go sour. But Wheels, from the Burger King Kids Club, is maybe the most positive representation you could hope for in the 1990s. Even the questionable nickname seems to be approved by the character, with Wheels customizing his wheelchair with big Ws in his early designs.

Silvio Berlusconi’s Hobbies

Public Domain

A real picture, featuring real people.

Saying something like “The Italian Prime Minister is probably more worried about cheating on his wife than running the country,” would definitely FEEL like you were making fun of Italians. It would also be a completely reasonable criticism of the late Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The man was basically a walking caricature of stereotypical assumptions of a womanizing Italian man. “How does he find time to consider legislation when hes so busy hosting his Bunga Bunga sex parties” is another sentence, that, despite sounding like something an oversauced uncle would say under his breath at Thanksgiving, is just an accurate reference to something Berlusconi was known for doing.

Street Sharks

DIC Productions


I couldn’t even tell you who or what should be angry about these guys, but somebody should. Maybe all of us? They just look so horrible that it feels like showing them on television is inconsiderate of the Street Sharks themselves.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?