The Insensitivity Squad has struck again: this time against a board game and a marching band. Parker Brothers, venerable producer of board games, was recently denounced by the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, left-Republican Susan Engeleiter. It seems that its new game, Careers for Girls, for ages 8-12, lists six “careers” for the young players to select, and Engeleiter detects a strong sexist “wrong message to young girls.” For among the careers are such outlandish activities as “schoolteacher” and “supermom,” and there is not a single listing for “astronaut” or “business executive.” Furthermore, “there are no careers requiring physical daring or strength.” All in all, she complains, the game shows an “insensitivity [there it is again!] to modern realities.”

All right, how about this for the six careers: weightlifter, heavyweight champion. President of the United States, lion tamer, football lineperson, and sumo wrestler? Ready, girls?

Brought under government interdict, Parker Brothers did what is generally done in these situations: run for the protection of a praetorian guard of the supposedly oppressed group. Parker spokeswoman Patricia McGovern stressed that “the game is purely for entertainment” (What? Since when are games supposed to “entertain”? Aren’t all activities merely a search for the “politically correct”?), and pointed out that the game was designed by a woman, the art was produced by a woman, and the manager was a woman, so that everyone “involved with bringing this game to market is female.”

Will that be enough to get Parker Brothers off the hook? What if it changes its name to Parker Sisters?

Then we have the newly proclaimed sin of “inappropriate laughter.” At a football game last November, the famously rowdy Stanford marching band, which in the past had gotten away with urinating on the playing field and with the Flying Genitalia formation, at last “went too far.” Which ethnic, racial, or religious group did they offend? None of the above; they committed a hate crime by laughing about the plight of the spotted owl, in a game with spotted owl-ridden University of Oregon. Stanford athletic director Alan Cummings promptly suspended the band for several games, and may leave the band at home next year, as requested by Oregon’s director of athletics. As the band’s manager explained, the spotted owl’s plight is a subject Oregonians “can’t joke about.”

Now see here: in the old days, Americans joked about the Great Depression, they joked about the war, they joked about Hitler. If we can’t joke about the spotted owl, are we still a “free country”?