March 11, 2011

Controversy Week: Political Correctness

To round out Controversy Week here at NoFU, I thought it was appropriate to talk about how we humans react and respond to controversy. The vast majority of public speech isn't controversial and garners very little attention. However, every once in a while someone says something outrageous that gets the media all in a tizzy, condemnation of said speech ensues, and someone may or may not get fired from their job.

Eventually there is a backlash against the condemnation received by the individual who started the controversy (whom we shall from now on refer to as jackass). This backlash comes from people who either agree with said jackass (but won't say it publicly) or from people who think the media is blowing the whole thing out of proportion. The most commonly used argument against the public condemnation of said jackass is that our modern, politically correct society stifles free speech and makes a big deal out of every little controversy.

Mostly everyone I've ever met in my life has been against political correctness. It's really rare that you talk to someone who stands up and says "I love being politically correct!". In reality, it seems the majority of people will come out and say that the whole PC thing is wrong and they get so annoyed by it. The same people, I might add, will pick and choose which jackasses they defend. Mel Gibson, for example, got drunk and said some very politically incorrect things. Some people defended him on anti-PC grounds, but a lot of people who are anti-PC would not come out and defend Mel Gibson. Even they found what he said offensive. This contradiction, in my opinion, shows that while the majority of people claim to be anti-PC, in reality they are not. I would argue, that this illustrates the fact that the phenomenon we are talking about here today wasn't started by the media or some liberal conspiracy, but is in fact, a natural phenomenon in human society. Ironically, this opinion, by my own logic, makes me a jackass.

It's OK, really. I've been called much worse. To be honest, I don't mind being a jackass every once in a while. This isn't really a bad time to be a jackass either. People complain about how restricted speech is nowadays but they really don't know what they're talking about. Hundreds of years ago, a jackass named Galileo got turned into the Inquisition for what he said and we all know how that turned out. It isn't always bad to be a jackass. Einstein, Jesus, and many other great figures from history were jackasses. If you have an idea that you think is important enough to share with the world then by all means do it. Just remember that if what you say is controversial, there will be a natural backlash that might get you fired from your radio gig. When it comes time to defend your idea don't cop out and use the anti-PC argument, you're more original that. If you weren't then you wouldn't be such a jackass.


  1. I don'tthink "political correctness" means anything at all.

    As you point out here (with diagrams!), everyone has a line beyond which they believe everyday speech should not cross.

    People just draw the line in different places. So the "anti-PC crowd on the right were perfectly willing to run around sayng that a mosque should not be built in mahatten because Muslims needed to "think of everyone's feelings."

    "PC" is just whenever the speaker thinks people are unnecessarily getting their panties in a bunch.

    Actually, there are often good reasons to get mad at jackasses.

  2. I honestly think that going out of your way to be politically correct is just more wrong. It just broadens the situation.

  3. Normal distribution applied to political correctness. I can dig it!

    Political correctness is a group dynamics phenomenon. Nobody believes that crap in private. But when we feel others watching, we feel pressure to utter PC BS.

  4. Uh . . . I think you CAN write a book.

    Have a super weekend!!!

  5. Aww! But I like the quote, "Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end." You mean it isn't true?

    Just because someone isn't PC doesn't mean he or she is an asshole -- one does not beget the other. We could be anti-pc about a lot of things, but the only time someone is generally called out is when it has to do with race, religion, and (occasionally) gender. These ramblings are blown out of proportion -- they're generally ridiculous and small-minded, but we live in a culture that loves to be offended. There seems to be some visceral thrill in self-righteous anger, as is there in saying preposterous things that gets everyone's hackles up.

  6. Sounds logical to me. (Is that PC?)
    And I like the graphs, but I think jackasses can be found all along the bell curve. ;)

  7. I try to stick to "Right Speech" for myself (Speech that does not cause harm) but it's difficult to never offend anyone ever. But just because I want to stick to certain speech doesn't mean I think everyone has to. But I do tend to avoid assholes. Ha.

    Speaking of this whole speech business, yesterday Chrysler fired their social media agency because one of their employees wrote a tweet for Chrysler that used the F-bomb. The agency had fired the employee almost immediately. So now there's this whole debate over whether Chrysler overreacted.

  8. i learned long ago that i am not responsible for the verbal sewage that spews out of my mouth. alcohol is.

    it's such a relief to be off the hook.

  9. Freedom is pricelessly valuable, but it almost always is a multi-edge sword.


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