Sunday, March 26, 2006

Correcting The Politically Correct

Question: When did being "politically correct" become synonymous with being "liberal" which had become synonymous with "Democrat"?

I don't have an answer for when it officially happened, but I think it occurred during the current Bush administration. If you listen to conservative political commentators, criticisms of political correctness seems to be often used as some kind of political spin / "Hail Mary" move. Education policy in shambles? Iraqi done broke? Russia passing out US military secrets? Well, Mexicans are flooding the borders. Oh, can I call them Mexicans? Or will that offend the establishment. You know - those elitists who are in control. Deaf to the world. Oh, of course, I have to call them "hearing impaired." Aren't they short sighted? I mean “vertically challenged” in their vision. (Chuckle and go to commercial.)

It falls nicely in line with the GOP party line that they support individual rights. And good for them; since God knows, they seem to f*ck everything else up.

Oddly, most Democrats I know are far from politically correct. They don't take themselves too seriously, make off-color jokes, and generally enjoy offending those who are looking to be offended. Of course, there are pockets of people within the Democratic Party who truly lose sleep over the issue (and I avoid them like the plague at fundraisers); but I notice that the GOP offers pockets of support just as dedicated to language and its need to be some kind of moral/ethical guide to the world. See outrage over content on TV; Ten Commandments in government; "In God We Trust"; forced Pledge of Allegiance in schools, etc.

Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword -- let's just remember both sides have people with too much time on their hands and the need to focus outrage outside of themselves for whatever reason. We shouldn't let some bad apples get in the way of actually (1) balancing the budget, (2) protecting Americans at home, and (3) ensuring our children will inherit a better America than we found it. (Fade to flag in the wind and cue music. Roll commercial for debt consolidation....)


Otto Man said...

The sad thing about all the PC nonsense is that there are some on the right who believe that the term was one actually coined by the left.

I do like the turnaround now, and hoisting conservatives on their "patriotically correct" language tends to shut them up quick.

Otto Man said...

Chuckle and go to commercial.

Lou Dobbs just got pwned.

sideshow bob said...

I'm a big fan of un-PC and blasphemy and stuff, but I think PC does have it's place, in places where humor is not appropriate and respect is necessary, like when a politican is doing his or her job. If I wanted funny I'd vote for Chappelle.

The thing I've noticed about many conservatives I have come into interaction with is that the essence of humor seems to escape them. They have a hard time with nuance and sarcasm. Above all they have trouble with the notion that comedy is situational.

An example that, while fictional, I've seen closely paralleled in real life, is Steve Carell's character in 'The Office', who can't understand the fact that while Eddie Murphy's 'Raw' is hilarious, no one thinks it's funny when he repeats the material in the workplace.

Studiodave said...

I agree entirely with your comment. I never felt comfortable with my grandmothers appreciation of "colored" as fine dancers. I guess there is a line between a natural evolution of language and people trying to rename "history" to "hystory"; or "women" to "womyn."

Studiodave said...

And you are right, the "Office" is a perfect example of that line.

"If you leave we will only have two."

"Two what?"

Otto Man said...

Oh, to answer your question, Studio, I think the PC/Demmycrat connection was solidified in the early Clinton years.

This isn't scientifical or anything, but I just did an Amazon search for "politically correct" and the vast bulk of books written with the term in the title were sarcastic attacks on libruls and came in '94 and '95, both of which suggest that I am, once again, right.

I am so smart! S-M-R-T!

S.W. Anderson said...

All your points are good, S.D., but the reaction to PC nonsense started setting in about the time George H.W. Bush was running for president, to the best of my recollection.

I have to admit to having sympathy with the some of the complaints against it. Example: condemning use of the term "disabled" to describe someone with a serious physical handicap or abnormailty. There's nothing necessarily pejorative in that term, and substituting some absurd construction as "other abled" is as dumb and awkward as it sounds.

Likewise, in writing, PC called for substituting "their" or "his and/or her" slavishly instead of the traditional male pronoun when referring to a person not identified by name. There's no sexist motive in trying to write clean, fairly compact prose. What a bunch of crap.

I think a lot of PC nonsense was generated by campus pressure groups in the late 1970s and 1980s. Many of the groups were concerned with advancing respect for minorities and women. While I appreciated their ends, I often found the means they pursued to range from foolish to pathetically ridiculous.