Friday, May 02, 2008

Politically Correct



Thanks to jimfrazier for the photo.



It's the secret wish of every group, it seems, is to be the underdog. The brash, meat and potatos group. One that wouldn't upturn their nose to a bit of physical labour, maybe, or be up to date on the latest sports scores. The blue-collar mystique, as it were, or, as my nerd mind understand it, the Rebel Alliance syndrome.

It's a theme repeated in fiction, in movies, in epic poems of questionable worth. The underdogs are always the heroes. There is the great Empire that must fall, and the charmingly rag tag group of misfits, who by the skin of their teeth, pull through and saves the day.

For America, this is a story burned into its historical DNA. For others, well, it's just much easier to write conflict about a group facing mind-boggling odds, than say, about a now smug empire trying to squash a resistance group whilst still drunk from power.

Who's' the underdog in any story? The good guys. Who's the underdog in any perceived conflict for ideas? We are. We being the people talking at the moment.

Which is why I shouldn't find it too surprising if incredibly annoying when I hear the phrase, "Oh, it's politically incorrect to ....". As if there is a great behemoth of political correctness that imposes rules and regulations, things you can say and not, and that the speaker is part of a tight nit cadre who speak Truth to Power; where the fact is that 'political correctness' came about precisely because the dominant powers, the Powers That Be, more or less ran rough shod over the scrappy underdogs: ethnic minorities, LGBTII (I know I'm missing a letter in here somewhere), the disabled, etc.

Sure, you have your cases of PC gone awry. Where everything is so hyphenated that you get metacarpal tunnel syndrome hitting the - key more than a transcriptionist typing a PR release for albino Swahili-signing Maori who's second name rhymes with Jones, group.

There are groups, or, more precisely, people who wallow in the smug superiority of knowing the latest term for such and such a group. I can see how this can get on ones nerves. And for some reason, this annoyance translates into being the Oppressed, the Set Upon, the Lone Voice in the Darkness. Next thing you know, the annoyed person is using air quotes and saying, "Oh I guess that's not, 'politically correct'". They feel like they are sticking it to the man.

It doesn't, of course.

It means precisely the opposite; they're in the majority.

But then, listening to Darth Vader whine about those pesky Rebel scum wrecking his fully operational Death Star doesn't have the same indignant heft, I suppose.

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