Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Political Correctness

This blog has been a long time coming.  For many years I have become increasingly irritated by political correctness in all its forms.  There are two main offenders here, and I will deal with them in turn.

Those who know me personally will be well aware that I am 43 years old, 4'8 tall (or short, depending on your point of view) and I have Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

Political Correctness (PC) in my view is what happens when people become afraid of offending anyone and thus create artificial means of avoiding the offence.  However, in many ways the act of invoking PC in many cases actually draws attention to the factor the person is trying to avoid.  Also in a lot of cases it is factually inaccurate.

Take my case for example. In PC I could be described as Vertically Challenged, and Physically Challenged, however I am neither. No doubt some readers will be thinking 'Yes you are' so I will explain.  I define a challenge as something which I can achieve and/or defeat with enough time/effort/money etc. That is a very simple test to apply in this case;

Can I grow taller simply by hard work?  No.

Will I ever walk (unaided) by throwing money and time at the problem?  No.

Both phrases fail the test miserably. Those who know me will probably suspect what is coming up, with my usual forthright manner.

I am neither physically nor vertically challenged.  I am a disabled shortarse. Deal with it. :)

The second factor is in some ways more pervasive and harmful in the long term than simply avoiding upsetting the likes of me.  That is the disturbing habit of the entertainment industry, most notably but not always Hollywood, to change history for PC reasons.  There is a willful blindness to the opportunity that presents itself to educate movie-goers and actually celebrate how far we have advanced as a race by pretending that what we now view as shameful acts of the past never happened.  This does an immense disservice to all those social pioneers who strove to change society for the better, sometimes over decades if not centuries.

A classic example is the upcoming remake of The Dambusters, originally filmed in 1955.  The CO of 617 squadron Guy Gibson owned a black labrador, and named it typically for the era.  However over the intervening 70 years the name he gave his dog has come to be viewed as a derogatory term for a person of African heritage.  This has resulted, quite rightly, in use of the term being frowned upon in modern society.  You'll note I haven't used it here, but that is quite simply because I suspect that Blogger have a list of banned words and no doubt this word is on it so rather than have to dance around a block I prefer not to use it.

In the film remake it appears that Peter Jackson in concert with Stephen Fry have decided to bow to the weight of political correctness and rename Gibson's dog 'Digger'. While this is only one letter away from the historical reality - a D rather than an N - it completely wipes out, in a single stroke, the 70 years of social progress we have made and denies us the opportunity to give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back for leaving such derogatory terms in our past.  I would plead with both gentlemen not to allow this to happen, but to use your production to educate the public, not to scrub the entire lesson from history.  Celebrate our achievements as a race, don't deny the problem ever existed.

This then is my view of political correctness.

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