Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale

A minor discursus, to be expanded later with any luck

I don't have the time or the energy or the coherence of thought necessary to make a post as long or as thought-out as I would like. But I did want to talk some about that most insidious of modern evils, that creeping peril, the threatening menace that hangs like a shadow over our most cherished freedoms.

I'm talking, of course, about... Political Correctness.

(cue ominous musical sting here, perhaps a clap of thunder)

Within a fairly short amount of recent time, I have seen the following things derided as being Politically Correct:

--Proposing that adults take action to stop children from bullying each other

--Proposing that the government of the United States of America be prevented from passing laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians

--Disagreeing with the fact that the proposed legislation to prevent the government of the United States be prevented from passing laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians does not include clauses to also prevent the government of the United States from passing laws that discriminate against transgendered people

--Asserting that gays, lesbians, and transgendered people ought to be accepted by people in general instead of being publically shunned and shamed

--Asserting that people ought not to say that Islam, as a whole, is a death cult practiced by bloodthirsty savages with no regard for civilization

--Asserting that the waste products from using fossil fuels has caused the Earth's average temperature to rise

--Asserting that the Earth's average temperatures are rising at all

--Asserting that alcohol and tobacco can have a deleterious effect on human health

--Disagreeing with the use of the words "gay," "fag," "retard," and various racial epithets as general terms of pejoration

--Thinking it is a good idea for students in literature classes to read works by Virginia Woolf, Audre Lorde, Chinua Achebe, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Michel Foucault, Leslie Marmon Silko, or Allen Ginsberg

--Thinking that female characters in comic books and video games ought not to be constantly portrayed in hypersexualized ways

--Using the words "feminism," "hegemony," "male gaze," or "heteronormativity" unironically

--Euphemisms too numerous and varied to count

Now, granted, this is all anecdotal evidence, and as we all know, anecdotal proof ain't no proof at all. This is why I'm writing about it in my personal weblog, rather than submitting it for publication in some reputable or semi-reputable journal or book or suchlike.

However, I see that there are two likely possibilities here:

First, that "Political Correctness" ought to be celebrated as one of the most versatile phrases in history -- indeed, the crowning pinnacle of the English language since Chaucer, for not only does it cover so many disparate subjects under its aegis, the very words of its phrasing are simply loaded with jaded dismissiveness in every syllable. As a way to point out the uselessness and your own personal disregard of your opponent's position, the phrase "Political Correctness" is rivaled only by the phrase "Nah, I'm not really into Pokemon."


Second, "Political Correctness" is a weak and sloppy phrase, used with weak and sloppy thinking, as a catch-all term for "Things aren't the way they used to be, and I don't like it." (I do find it rather curious that there are many, many people who proudly refer to themselves or their opinions as "politically incorrect," but I have yet to meet anyone either in person or over the Internet who willingly refers to himself or herself as "Politically Correct.")

Will somebody please kindly send for Mr. Occam? I need a shave.
Tags: language, politics, serious business
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