This morning I talked to my Wingnut Acquaintance, who calls himself a conservative but always ends up taking liberal positions when we drill down to the actual issue. He mentioned the brouhaha over Lars Von Trier — something I hadn’t heard about, so I had no idea what he was talking about when he mentioned some “German director” who did a movie with Kirsten Dunst who won’t get “the big prize” at Cannes because of “political correctness,” which he added he is “so damn sick of.”
Okay, so when I got home I asked the Great Gazoogle and learned the “German director” is actually Danish director Lars Von Trier. Trier apparently had some kind of meltdown in a press conference where he admitted to having Nazi relatives or something of the sort. Honestly I’m not sure exactly what it is, though I have to say watching Kirsten Dunst’s reaction to his blathering in this video clip is truly priceless.
Anyway, what I told my Wingnut Acquaintance is this: I have no problem with “political correctness,” zero. This is something folks like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck like to rail against as liberal oppression, but that’s because classic “political correctness” is a construct of the political message machine. It does not exist; it’s just a tool used by people with a partisan agenda to foster division and anger among the populace. Who thinks that 99% of the stuff people have hissy fits about are anything anyone would ordinarily give a shit about if political partisans weren’t shoving it in their faces?
It’s all so obviously orchestrated — the latest Newt Gingrich “food stamp president” nonsense is the latest example. And you can tell it’s orchestrated political theater because now Sarah Palin has weighed in on it.
Political correctness doesn’t exist in the real world, it’s something people in power use to score points when trying to make the opposition look bad.
What is political correctness but good manners and being polite and basically not being an asshole? You don’t walk into someone’s dinner party and proclaim that you hate the Ragheads, or wasn’t life better when women knew their place, and don’t we all know the n**CLANG** are just a bunch of welfare-sucking leaches who never contribute anything good to society? Because even if these are things you secretly think, people don’t come out and say it, because it’s rude. It’s like when Aunt Edna announces at Thanksgiving that little Timmy is really your brother not your nephew, and pass the mashed potatoes please? People just don’t do that.
But apparently a certain segment of society wants to uphold the right to be rude, they want to be assholes and on top of that, they don’t want people to call them on it.
And so I told my Wingnut Acquaintance this: look, if people want to be rude you have that right, but don’t for a second think that absolves you from criticism for being rude. Because that’s really what people bitching about political correctness are saying. They want to be rude and they want people to not call them on it. If you’re going to say something offensive about a particular group of people, don’t go crying for your mommie when people invariably get upset. Stand by your words! And if you can’t do that, apologize. It’s just really that simple.
And as usual, the Wingnut Acquaintance agreed with me.