Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 22, 2013

Political correctness

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— In its strictest sense, the term “political correctness” (PC) means, “...conforming or adhering to what is regarded as orthodox liberal opinion on matters of sexuality, race, etc...usually used disparagingly to connote dogmatism, excessive sensitivity to minority causes, etc.”

This convoluted definition of a very convoluted subject simply means: in this day and age, one had better watch what one says, what one tweets, and what one posts on all the Internet chalk boards available out there. I have to remind myself of these truths every time I sit down to Mr. Computer to scribble out one of these rants.

In my previous life, I put a lot of time and effort into speaking engagements, emceeing roasts and retirements, and putting on humorous skits at various military and civilian venues. Sad to say, on more than one occasion, I managed to offend someone even though I considered my material to be pure as the driven snow. Yeah, right!

I cannot fathom why every celebrity from President Obama to Ocho Cinco to Lady Gaga has to have a Twitter account with millions of followers who hang on their every 140-character message. These tweets, more often than not, turn into self-inflicted wounds.

For many years, jokes that traded on national or ethnic characteristics were very popular. These jokes, although there was often a grain of truth in the punch lines, have come to be regarded as perpetuating negative stereotypes of certain nationalities and ethnic groups. Ironically, it still seems to be acceptable for folks of certain ethnic groups to poke fun at themselves — Irish people still poke fun at Irish people, Jewish folks still joke about Jews, and Aggies are still trying to remember those Aggie jokes.

What’s really offensive to me is when you see the phony correctness displayed by the politicians in their manner and speech. Just last week I saw the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, deliver a scathing criticism of the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. He rambled on and on about his friend from across the aisle and distinguished colleague from the great state of Nevada and then proceeded to rip Harry a new one saying he may go down in history as the worst Majority Leader in the history of the United States Senate.

Of course, when it became good old Harry’s turn at the podium, he carried on about the distinguished senior senator from the great state of Kentucky before basically calling him a jerk-wad hillbilly who had no clue about running the government. And you wonder why there is so little compromise and progress made in our nation’s capital.

One can go online and find page after page of politically correct/incorrect dictionaries. It is amazing how many PC terms, buzzwords, and phrases have made it into our everyday language. I even found examples of PC fairy tales — one that struck me particularly funny was the “Politically Correct Little Red Riding Hood.” Here are a couple lines to illustrate how it went: “There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them...The wolf said, ‘You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.’ Red Riding Hood said, ‘I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore if because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an alternative and yet entirely valid world view. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I would prefer to be on my way.’” Well, you get the idea.

A friend of mine sent me an interesting email entitled “Definition” and it comes from the Griffith Law School in Australia. This distinguished institution is noted for maintaining a culture of social justice and, each year, students are asked to provide the most appropriate definition for a designated contemporary term. You guessed it — this year’s term to be defined was “political correctness” and the winning student wrote the following:

“Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of (expletive deleted) by the clean end.” Wow! That is pretty deep stuff.

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com