Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Some ichoate thoughts on the term politcally correct

1) In the 1950's, the value of political correctness was called either good manners or probity. This was back in the day of infra dig, the idea that there were some things well mannered people did not do under any circumstances. Oh, yes, we had the kitchen and the closet and the back door for the marginalized, lamentably so, but men wore white shirts and ties to baseball games, and ladies wore white gloves and hats to communion. (This writer is old enough to remember the peach polyester pants suit worn to communion controversy at the Lutheran Church, circa 1969). But that sense of certain things being beneath us set the groundwork to end the blocks of the kitchen, the closet, and the back door. The thing of it all now becomes how to weed what is still very good and yielding soil, to separate the plant pests from the useful herbs.

2) But manners, and probity, and infra dig are culturally dead. Like Vauban's walls around the French village on the Alsatian border, they have been rendered irrelevent. Seige walls beg for breeching; those seige towns get what they deserve. The Village had a revolt, and what passes for a Left in this country supposedly occupy the Fort, and now impose their own codes. But how much of these PC codes is just asking for a display good manners? Only this time a bunch of pasty white punks from the suburbs are now the victims (another word deflated of meaning).

3) We live in an Age of Insincerity. Or rather, the table stakes are not worth the candle. Academia PC battles are for the ability to have a monopoly on how to write badly, how to manufacture shoddy art, how to create joyless music, how to produce turgid histories devoid of heroes. The whole gruesome PC show has the quality of that Marx Brothers routine in Day at the Races, where Chico sells Groucho a groaning mass of arcane turf guides just to make a $5 bet.

4) Genuine PC seeks to issue every man and woman a fund of honest civil exchange, the coin must bear on both sides the stamps of dignity and obedience to make true coin of the realm. The ideal of honest coinage is not made invalid by the prescence of the occasional counterfeiter, or by sharp dealing in the currency market.


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