It’s great fun to watch progressivism eat itself. (“You can’t perform The Vagina Monologues, because some women don’t have vaginas!”) So when I read Jon Chait’s article “Not A Very P.C. Thing to Say,” my first thought was “Right On!” (Us old people say things like that.) My second thought was “This is going to be fun to watch.” Sure enough, within hours of the article’s publication, the blogosphere exploded with condemnation.
The first rule of Politically Correct Club is “Don’t talk about Politically Correct Club.” Anyone who does will be attacked and vilified for the crime of being self-critical. The article generated a predictable shit-storm of calumny, along with denial of the reality he dared to discuss. As expected, most of the reactions weren’t critiques of the content, but name calling, attacks on his writing style, insisting he’s wrong without explaining why, and vilifying him for the unforgivable sin of being a white male.
Of the several I’ve read, this one is the most entertainingly ironic. He starts out with the required insults: “Jon Chait is a jerk who somehow manages to be both condescending and wounded in his piece on political correctness. He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong…” He then provides several specific examples of people who were driven from their movement for not being PC enough, proving Jon’s point, perfectly.
Andrew Sullivan is of the few bloggers who didn’t attack Jon – instead he expanded on the central idea of the article.
And the paradox of this within the gay rights movement is an astounding one. For the past twenty years, the open, free-wheeling arguments for marriage equality and military service have persuaded, yes, persuaded, Americans with remarkable speed that reform was right and necessary. Yes: the arguments. If you want to argue that no social progress can come without coercion or suppression of free speech, you have to deal with the empirical fact that old-fashioned liberalism brought gay equality to America far, far faster than identity politics leftism. It was liberalism – not leftism – that gave us this breakthrough.
Ten or twelve years ago I held that opinion that gays should be able to marry, but we should reserve the world “marriage” for heterosexual marriages, and use a different word for gay couples. I said that in a forum, and someone replied, “How well has separate but equal worked in the past?” I realized they were right, and changed my mind almost instantly. They Smartenized me.
Anyone expressing that opinion today will be screamed at, and called a patriarchal privileged cisgendered homophobe. Will that help enlighten them?
Observing the reaction to Jon’s article reminded me of an unfinished piece that’s been sitting on my hard drive for too long. Originally intended as an addendum to the Stupid Meter article, it’s a glossary words RadFems and other PC pundits have concocted or perverted. I’m not sure if it’s dated, or appropriate, or both – I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Privilege: Any white male with any advantage of any kind is guilty of abusing their undeserved privilege. Do you have a penis? Then you have privilege. Do you have degree that you worked hard for, and that your parents helped with by working two extra jobs? Privilege. Did you happen to be born white? Then you’re guilty of privilege, you rat-bastard. Do you have some skill or talent that you’ve honed and improved upon? Privilege privilege privilege, and you should be ashamed.
In such conversations, if you replace the word “privilege” with the much more accurate word “advantage,” the entire perspective changes. It becomes more reasonable and realistic. “You got where you are because of privilege” is an insult that says a person’s achievements are undeserved. “You had advantages getting where you are,” is a simple statement of fact. Everyone has different advantages. Some people have more than others. Some are better than others at making the most of whatever advantages they have.
There is no question that being a white male provides significant advantages over any other gender/race combination. But the idea that it guarantees success can be dispelled with a short visit to any WalMart.
Check Your Privilege: Shorthand for, “Shut your honkey yap. You’re privileged and so nothing you say on any subject matters.”
Microaggression: A deep investigation (three seconds on Google) taught me this word was coined in the 70’s to refer to subtle racism. Now it refers to failures of political correctness that are so subtle, minute, trivial, and unintentional, that no normal grown-up would even notice them. But the politically correct are not normal, nor grown up. They devote an inordinate amount of time searching for things to be offended about, finding them everywhere, then endlessly screeching about them.
How long before we hear complaints about Nanoagression? Picoagression?
Cisgendered: The first time I saw this I had to look it up. It’s a technical term psychologists use to describe people whose psychology matches their gender. In other words, males who are happy to be men and females who are happy to be women. In other words, about 99.5% of the population. But now it’s used as an insult, further a proof of “privilege.” If you’re content to be a man or a woman, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Rape Culture: Rapists are universally despised in our culture. Even in prison, other inmates consider them the lowest of the low. The merest hint that someone may be a rapist is enough to destroy their reputation and ruin their life. RadFems insist that somehow this means we live in a rape culture.
There are cultures where women are forced to cover themselves, head to foot, because they believe men are too rapey to control themselves. In some of these cultures, when a woman gets raped, she’s buried her up to her neck and then stoned to death, while her rapist goes free. That is a rape culture, but RadFems pretty much ignore it. They’re too busy redefining oggoling as “stare rape.” Yes, that’s a thing, according to them.
John Cusack playing a love song on a boombox? Rape culture. Seriously.
Mansplaining: Originally, a useful term referring to a man confidently explaining something to a woman who is more knowledgeable about the subject than he is. About twelve minutes after being used, it was co-opted by the left to mean “any time a male opens his mouth.”
Manspreading: A man who sits with is legs apart, especially on public transportation, is guilty of this heinous crime. Yes, it’s rude and inconsiderate on a crowded vehicle if he’s taking up an extra seat, but that’s not what this is all about. A man who doesn’t sit like a woman is deeply, deeply offensive to RadFems.
Mangina: A subspecies of male who, for unfathomable reasons, sides with RadFems.
OK, that’s not a PC word. It’s an anti-PC word that I liked too much to leave out.
Trigger Warning: Any word can trigger an emotional breakdown, so any article or conversation that might upset a RadFem (i.e. pretty much anything) should be preceded by the words, “Trigger Warning.” Neglecting the warning is aggression, and not a mere micoaggression, you insensitive privileged cisgendered scum.
PC vocabulary is not intended to improve a conversation. It is intended to condescendingly and smugly shut it down. Unless I’m in a poke-the-village-idiot with-a-stick mood, I’ll give them exactly what they want, and exit the discussion. Pursuing it is simply a waste of time.
It sure can be fun to watch, though.