Rewriting History: Archie Bunker

Posted on November 13, 2016


Bunker, a lovable old coot with passionate opinions about “spics, coons, fags, and queers,” was a refreshing reminder that old-world white male attitudes were still acceptable in the changing moral climate of the early 1970s.

‘All in the Family,’ the TV show that launched the Archie Bunker character into American popular culture, was initially interpreted as a satirical examination of inter-generational race and gender politics, but historians now point to the intolerance suffered by Bunker at the hands of his family, all likely communist sympathizers, as an object lesson in how soft, weak people are fundamentally incapable of handling “hard truths.”

As social norms evolved and expressions of hatred towards minorities and homosexuals became less acceptable, the Archie Bunker character receded into the background of the American landscape. But ‘Bunker-ism,’ a term used by mental health professionals to describe an affliction that causes sufferers to “casually exhibit or abet hateful rhetoric that references women, homosexuals, and minorities” was re-invigorated with the emergence of Donald Trump, a former star of American reality television, onto the national political scene.

In 2016, millions of Americans, identifying the unmistakable resemblance in attitude and rhetoric between the former reality television star and the much-beloved fictional television character, voted en masse to install Donald Trump as the American President, a position from which, they hoped, he would return American social attitudes to normalcy.

Posted in: Politics