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12 June 2005

What Women Want


the thing about  'politically correct' speech is ...

I'm late to the party on the controversy about Daily Kos, and the fact that a big liberal website ran an ad that included an animated skit about a pie fight with Ginger and Maryanne from Gilligan's Island.   When people objected, Kos said "Whatever. Feel free to be offended. I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst."   He said more, too.  Shakespeares' Sister has a great summary.  Here's my 2 cents.

Bloggers are rebels.  Rebels don't like being told what to do.  That's why some rock-and-rollers turn conservative or libertarian.   It's why people like to listen to Limbaugh and Coulter.  But there's another way to look at these "political correctedness" discussions.   The folks objecting are really saying that seeing these things hurts them, or hurts little girls and their self-image. Same thing with blacks, or Arabs, or Jews, or anyone else who expresses these misgivings.   They may not put it that way, but my guess is that's what they're saying.

Conservatives were brilliant to push this idea of "political correctedness" - helped, no doubt, by some excesses and rough-edged personalities.   "Political correctedness" began as an exercise in sensitivity to the needs of others, and a wish to avoid harming them. It's been flipped around into the notion that there is a humorless, joyless  "thought police" telling you what to do or say.   Usually not true. 

And if someone is humorless or joyless, like the women who lacerated me for singing a song satirizing sexist men at a folk festival, because they didn't catch the irony ... well, then I guess they've been hurt by something.

I remember making a gay joke when I was in college, and finding out later that the guy I told it to was gay, and it made him feel like shit.   Hope I never did that again - because when I found out, I felt like shit.  Is that a story about 'political correctedness,' or about being "tedious and sanctimious"?  I think it's about a hopefully-good guy unthinkingly hurting another person, and stopping when he found out it was hurtful.   Well, isn't that what "political correctedness" is - or should be?

I haven't watched the Kos ad, but that's not what this is about. It's about how we should respond  - scratch that.  It's about how I should respond if someone objects to something I've done or said. Sometimes I don't see how a joke or a flippant remark could possibly hurt anybody.   But then again, sometimes I don't see everything.  Now that doesn't mean I have to agree with every objection, but hopefully I'll discuss it sympathetically.  Instead of calling it  "political correctedness," maybe I should think of it as a "cry of pain," or a "concern for that somebody might get hurt."    

Nobody likes a censor.  But the thing about  "politically correct" speech is, sometimes you just don't want to hurt people.

(cross posted at Night Light)

(The "patriarchy" graphic is from the anarcho-syndicalist website and I've been waiting for the right time to use it.   I just checked their site and it's down.   Gotta love those anarchists.)

Posted by Richard Eskow on June 12, 2005 at 11:23 PM in Battle of the Sexes | Permalink


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I may have to change my (internal) rules about Sex Blogging.

Posted by: Ellen Dana Nagler | Jun 12, 2005 8:05:42 PM

What are those rules?

Posted by: RJ Eskow | Jun 13, 2005 12:06:20 PM

Giving men and women an equally hard time.

Posted by: Ellen Dana Nagler | Jun 13, 2005 2:21:13 PM

Isn't that just like a woman to change her mind?


Posted by: RJ Eskow | Jun 13, 2005 4:14:25 PM

Q: What's the difference between a lesbian and a whale?

A; About 50 lbs and a plaid lumberjack shirt.

Posted by: GMT | Aug 10, 2005 11:06:48 PM

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