Archives for posts with tag: political correctness

One definition of the French word étiquette is “ticket” or “label attached to something for identification.” In 16th-century Spain, the French word was borrowed (and altered to “etiqueta”) to refer to the written protocols describing orders of precedence and behavior demanded of those who appeared in court. Eventually, “etiqueta” came to be applied to the court ceremonies themselves as well as the documents which outlined the requirements for them. Interestingly, this then led to French speakers of the time attributing the second sense of “proper behavior” to their “étiquette,” and in the middle of the 18th century English speakers finally adopted both the word and the second meaning from the French.”

OK. So the Spanish needed a word for ‘what to do when dealing with things royal’ and borrowed the French word for ‘label’. Things worked, the French noticed and borrowed the new meaning back into their own vocabulary. In the end, when the English developed the formal side of their ‘royal life’, they looked no further. Why invent a new word when there already was one which worked?

But very soon the whole thing had grown out of proportion.
At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket. Stifling everybody, including the star of the show, the king himself. The very guy whose wrath was supposed to be avoided by adhering to the etiquette…

“Madame de Pompadour, brave and gracious to the very last, died on the 15th of April 1764 in her apartment on the ground floor of Versailles. However, although etiquette had been ignored to an extent to allow her to die there, her body could not be permitted to remain and so it was almost immediately placed on to a stretcher and carried down the road to her own mansion nearby. The King was naturally inconsolable – Madame de Pompadour had been a huge part of his life for almost twenty years and he had grown not just to love her but also to depend immensely on her judgement and wisdom.
On the day of her funeral, unable to attend due to the usual court etiquette, he stood motionless and without hat or coat on his bedroom balcony overlooking the marble courtyard and watched as her black draped cortège proceeded slowly in the pouring spring rain down the Avenue de Paris. ‘The Marquise has bad weather for her journey,’ he remarked to his companions but nonetheless he remained rooted to the spot until the carriage bearing her coffin had vanished from sight. ‘This is the only tribute I can pay her,’ he finally said when he turned away, overcome with tears, to go back into the château.”

Politically correct: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated
As in ‘Speaking in such a manner as to avoid certain pitfalls. Expressions or behaviors which may make difficult to converse and/or cohabit with people who may have ‘special sensitivities’.’

For instance, using ‘they’ instead of either ‘he’ or ‘she’. Specially in writing and as a must when the gender identity isn’t clear.

At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket…

Why am I not astonished?!?

There is a whole literature about PC having gone mad. Some for and some against the idea, of course. Some blame the ‘enthusiasts’ on one side, others the ‘manipulative’ on the other. Which ‘enthusiasts’ and ‘manipulative’ can be found on both sides…

The end result?

When I grew up, being polite mandated a man to hold the door open for women to pass. For perfect strangers as well as for a wife, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker. Do this today and you’ll certainly get some angry frowns…

Does it make any sense?

Being politically correct or dismissing it as an attack against freedom? Of speech in particular and of freedom in general?

Neither. Does it make any sense to transform everything into a weapon?
Both political correctness and freedom being included into ‘everything’!

Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who holds the door for you, just because you are a woman?
Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who tells you it’s counterproductive to tell somebody they are stupid? Simply because the more stupid they are, the less are they inclined to understand what you want to convey…

So.
We, people, have already managed to spoil two well intended ‘guides’.
Which have both started as tools to facilitate interaction and ended up a straight jacket and a subject for quarrel, respectively.

What’s going on here?
Am I the only one who believes this kind of behavior is self destructive?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/etiquette
https://www.localers.com/travel-guide/paris/paris-history-guide/madame-de-pompadour-versailles
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politically%20correct

https://journals.scholarpublishing.org/index.php/ASSRJ/article/view/10250
https://au.reachout.com/articles/whats-the-deal-with-political-correctness
https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Political-Correctness-Gone-Mad/Jordan-B-Peterson/9781786076052

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If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
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Some of my right-of-center friends maintain that political correctness is a leftist aberration while some of my left-of-center friends are convinced that most conservatives are bigoted male chauvinists cum white supremacists cum LGBTQ+ haters.

I’m afraid both are mistaken.

The way I see it, none of this has anything to do with left nor right and everything to those on each side of the divide driving themselves into self allocated and mutually exclusive corners.

Otherwise said, this dichotomy is a consequence of populism.
People residing in each ideological corner are constantly barraged with messages telling them exactly what they have prepared themselves to hear.
People residing in each corner are constantly barraged with messages deemed appropriate by those who reckon there is something to be gained, by ‘them’, from keeping those people as far apart as possible.

Maybe now, that Cambridge Analytica has just hit the fan, we’ll start to understand how fake this whole thing is.

And I can’t wrap this up without mentioning something which really bothers me.

“As I said in my How to Fail book, if you are not familiar with the dozens of methods of persuasion that are science-tested, there’s a good chance someone is using those techniques against you.

Scott Adams, blog.dilbert.com

The ‘run of the mill’ populism is directed towards the ordinary people. Which have a valid excuse for not knowing what’s happening to them.
Political correctness is a self sustaining bubble which was generated and is maintained  inside a supposedly more sophisticated medium.

Intellectually more sophisticated medium….

political correctness zizek

Hopefully, Zizek’s arguments will help us puncture this bubble!
Click on the picture above and see for yourself.

An otherwise excellent article published by Robby Soave in reason.com claims that “Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash

While I think that yes, there is something here, I’m also afraid that the author is ‘guilty’ of the same crime… he’s too afraid of ‘crossing the red line’ that to go all the way and spill it out.

“Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.”

“What is political correctness? It’s notoriously hard to define. I recently appeared on a panel with CNN’s Sally Kohn, who described political correctness as being polite and having good manners.That’s fine—it can mean different things to different people. I like manners. I like being polite. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The segment of the electorate who flocked to Trump because he positioned himself as “an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness” think it means this: smug, entitled, elitist, privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.

Example: A lot of people think there are only two genders—boy and girl. Maybe they’re wrong. Maybe they should change that view. Maybe it’s insensitive to the trans community. Maybe it even flies in the face of modern social psychology. But people think it. Political correctness is the social force that holds them in contempt for that, or punishes them outright.”

There are two problems with this approach.

It is both counterfactual and too imprecise.

First things first.
A sizable portion of Trumps supporters do not care much for such subtleties like ‘political correctness’. They might indeed feel ‘the social force that holds them in contempt’ but they are the kind of people who do not beat around the bush. They blame a person directly, not their manner of thinking.

Secondly, using the same name for two very distinct behaviors, ‘polite and having good manners‘ versus ‘jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.‘ is so imprecise that it becomes counterproductive.

By using the same label for both we end up discouraging both.

Do we really want to discourage people from being polite? From having good manners?
Do we really think that actually destroying all ‘political correctness’, the first kind included, is a good thing to do?

The way I see it we have to use a different moniker for the second behaviour.

How about ‘political bigotry’?

This way it would be clear what we stand for and what we strongly oppose.
‘Good manners’ would be in and ‘grab them by the pussy/jumping down the throat… simply because we can’ would be out.
‘Polite and considerate’ would be in while ‘smug, entitled and privileged‘ would be out.

“Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?”

I understand that in the current circumstances ‘racism’ ‘sells’ but shouldn’t we refrain from making things worse than they already are? After all we live in this world too, don’t we?!?

What happened there is that in the last 16 years fourteen hundred (1400) kids were raped, mostly by Pakistani men, while the authorities did nothing. Not because they didn’t know, mind you.
And instead of trying to understand how come the entire social organism failed abysmally some continue to play the blame game…

The key to all these is the fact that those children were abused not only by the rapists themselves but also by the authorities.
Further more the rapists thought it was OK to do what they did (they wouldn’t have done it on such a large scale otherwise but they were horribly wrong) while the authorities should have known, at least deep in their hearts, that they were acting  cowardly – to use the least inflammatory word.

And the main hurdle that needs to be overcome is indeed ‘racist’ thinking and ‘politically correctness’ – in the twisted acception that this notion has been given lately.

“Powerless WHITE working-class girls were caught between a hateful, IMPORTED culture of vicious misogyny on the one hand, and on the other a culture of chauvinism among the police, who regarded them as worthless slags. Officials trained up in DIVERSITY and POLITICAL CORECTNESS failed to acknowledge what was effectively WHITE slavery on their doorstep. Much too embarrassing to concede that it wasn’t WHITE people who were committing racist hate crimes in this instance.”

Racism isn’t about the color of the skin, it’s about putting the blame, squarely and indiscriminately, on ‘the different other’.
Ignore the capitalized words while reading the last quoted paragraph and you’ll understand what I mean. Don’t worry that the last sentence has become a lot more powerful this way… those who perpetrated this, both the rapists and the authorities, were not people at all! Regardless of their creed or anything else.