PC or Not PC?


Well, that's what happens, I guess.  You come out generally as “against” something, and everyone else who's against that thing assumes you're on their side about everything else in the universe.  In my case, I criticized PC, and then along came the emails from people who wanted me to “criticize PC” regarding race.

In other words, to start saying racist stuff.  So, at the top of today's list of things it depresses me to even have to explain:  the fact that I think political correctness goes too far sometimes doesn't mean I'm racist.  As far as what logical fallacy the people who assumed otherwise were engaging in, I think it works equally well as either a false dilemma or an affirming the consequent.  Take your pick.

Yes, sometimes PC overreaches and ends up doing more harm than good.  Other times, however, reactions are unfairly labeled “PC” when they are simply cases of people not wanting you to be an unfathomably huge asshole.

Consider the case of a little party recently thrown by some frat boys in Texas, as described in this article culled from the Associated Press:

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MLK Party Causes Uproar on Texas Campus
Jan 25, 5:47 AM (ET)

DALLAS (AP) - Authorities at Tarleton State University said they plan to investigate a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party that mocked black stereotypes by featuring fried chicken, malt liquor and faux gang apparel.
    "I feel like there is no excuse for this type of ignorance," said Donald Ray Elder, president of the Stephenville school's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    Photographs posted on social networking Web site Facebook.com showed partygoers wearing Afro wigs and fake gold and silver teeth. One photo showed students "mocking how African-Americans do step shows," Elder said. In another picture, a student is dressed as Aunt Jemima and carries a gun.
    "That upsets me," Elder said. "That's someone who knows nothing about Dr. King, because Dr. King was totally about nonviolence."
    Wanda Mercer, the school's vice president of student life, said an investigation was planned into the Jan. 15 party.
    More than 400 students attended a university-sponsored forum Wednesday night that Elder described as "a shaky baby step" in bridging a divide between black and white students on the campus, which had about 400 black students out of 7,800 overall last semester.
    Elder said he sensed a racial divide at the forum, with black students sitting on one side of the room and whites on the other.
    "It was civil, but it also escalated into a shouting match," he said in a telephone interview afterward.
    Some of the students shown in the photos apologized, Elder said.
    University President Dennis P. McCabe said the photographs were reprehensible.
    "I am personally insulted by these photographs and am disappointed that Tarleton students have demonstrated such insensitivity," he said.
    Stephenville is about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

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I hope you’ll agree that someone doesn’t have to be a member of the infamous “PC Police” to find this troublesome — but the non-apology of one of the planners included the inevitable crack about P.C. (black or African American, whichever you deem politically correct), as if PC itself were causing the controversy, rather than racism.  The closing of the non-apology —I do apologize if you felt any disrespect because none was intended (italics mine) — can be roughly translated as we can do whatever the fuck we want, and if you get mad it's your own fault for choosing to get mad.

The people whose idea this charming soiree was are, I guess, attempting to justify it as an act of protest against PC, and defending their antics with the usual “I suppose you think we should all go to jail,” “Whatever happened to Free Speech?” and the like.  In other words, their explanation is that they don’t have a problem with Black people themselves, just with PC.

....Which is kind of like saying you don't have a problem with your neighbor, you just coated his house in grape jelly and bullet ants to protest zoning regulations.  I'm sure once you explain that to him, he won't be mad anymore.

Okay, no, I don’t think they should be in jail.  No, I don’t think it should be illegal to do this.  I'm are also not going to call them “insensitive,” because I don’t call people “insensitive” here — I just call them retards, and the people who threw and/or attended this party are retards of the highest order.  I think that people should tell them to their faces that they are retards 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives (if they ask you to stop, ask them “Whatever happened to Free Speech?”, a sentiment with which they are no doubt familiar).  I think that women should refuse to fuck them, and that employers should refuse to hire them (if they say this is unfair, simply respond that you are against quota systems for retards and honor the rights of businesses to hire whomever they please, another sentiment with which they are almost certainly well acquainted).

I would say that I hope someone kicks all their asses, but if I said that, and then someone did, they might be able to sue me.  It would be fun to respond to the lawsuit by saying “But I thought you thought society had gotten too litigious!  Shouldn’t you be taking personal responsibility for the consequences of being retards, instead of suing me?”, but I’m sure these guys’ dads are richer than my dad, so I’d rather just not end up in court with them to begin with.

This is not because they “offended” me, or “made me cry.”  If I saw a bunch of people rolling around on the ground clapping arhythmically and singing “Rubber Ducky” while pissing their pants, I would not cry or be offended — I would just naturally assume that they were retarded. 

So, one more time:  if you are trying to demonstrate that you think a rule or attitude is unfair, it is retarded to take it out on the people that the rule or statute is designed to protect instead of on the people who made it.

This clarification, though, assumes that their “we are just anti-PC” explanation is actually the truth, rather than the truth being that they are in fact actually racist and are just using “anti-PC” as a cover, which I have to admit seems more likely. 

After all, I'm as anti-PC as anybody, and I don’t pull shit like this.  Why?  Because I'm a smart person who is actually simply anti-PC, for rational reasons, and not a bigot using “anti-PC” as a cover.  If these guys were really just anti-PC, then it would probably have occurred to them that the school is now going to have no choice but to respond to this by becoming a million times more PC.  I cannot stress this enough:  if you are anti-PC, because you feel like you are not allowed to say what you want to say, then just do what I do and calmly fucking explain what it is you want to say, in a neutral environment like the web, and be willing to listen to people who disagree, instead of breaking out the burnt cork and watermelon.

I've explained this elsewhere on the site, but once again I'll mention that I can’t believe how misguided the Conservative “Whatever happened to Free Speech?” rhetoric is.  The right wing was yelling it after the Michael Richards incident, for example — but what the fuck were they talking about?  Was Michael Richards arrested for what he said?  Is Michael Richards in jail?  No.  Is anyone saying that he should be?  No.  So, what the fuck do you mean by “Whatever happened to Free Speech?”, because Free Speech only means that you can’t go to jail for what you say.  It doesn’t mean people can’t be pissed at you.  And anyone who plans on yelling “Whatever happened to Free Speech?” about this horseshit at Tarleton State, I refer you to the above explanation — as I will no doubt have to do again, the next time someone pulls some shit and you all start yelling “Whatever happened to Free Speech?” after people naturally get mad about whatever horseshit that’s going to involve. 

So much for them.  Anyway, this incident is a useful example with which to clarify my stance on PC as it concerns race issues, which is as follows:  To the best of my knowledge, there has been no significant “PC Overreach” where race is concerned that is hurting society in any way.  Remember, when I say “hurting society,” I mean “causing people to believe things that are not true.”  In order for PC efforts against racism to be “hurting society,” there would need to be at least some racist ideas that are true — and, as far as I have been able to discern with either research or logic, there are no racist ideas that are true.  

This doesn’t mean you can’t criticize people’s cultures, because obviously there can be problems with anyone’s culture, but I am defining “racist” here as being concerned with genetics, and, to reiterate, I can find nothing to support the validity of any racist claims with a genetic basis.  Therefore, PC as concerns race is not an issue for me, at least not in any sense beyond a general prescription that all good-faith opinions about any sensitive issue, race included, should be entertained with an open mind, and that someone should never be assumed to be racist just because you suspect X, Y, or Z about what they might be trying to imply.  I trust that no-one of average capability or higher will have any trouble distinguishing cases covered under this caveat from instances of deliberate retardation with malice aforethought, as in the excerpted story.

PC as concerns issues of gender, however, is a different story. 

Recently, I was helping one of my comp students try and work out a thesis.  I asked what she was planning on writing about, and she said “the ways that society objectifies women.”  Okay, no problems so far — it's a legitimate issue and a common topic.  When I asked her to expand on what she meant by that, however, the problem became clear.  The young woman thought a moment, during which she became visibly angry, before finally exclaiming “I see all these women walking around in short skirts and high heels and they’re just WHORES!” 

Whoa.  Okay, let’s back up here.

Her initial point, as stated, sounded like a (legitimate) feminist argument about women not being viewed as whole and complete people — as I said, no problems so far.  Her explanation of what she meant, on the other hand, was a super-repressed right-wing argument about “whores.”  And we’re not talking about just thinking it’s gross when someone gets fake boobs the size of basketballs here — we’re talking about a young woman who thought she was making a feminist point, but was actually just being moved to white-hot rage by the existence of short skirts. 

And, unlike our gracious hosts at the Texas frat house, this person was not trying to protest against PC — she was trying to be PC.  This is what this perfectly sweet and intelligent young woman thought feminism wanted her to do.  This is how she thought she was supposed to combat objectification — by screaming “whore” at women who wear short skirts and high heels.  In other words, the polar opposite of combating objectification.

sexy retro secretary girls with nice legs in high heels and suits
"Yep, you're sluts.  Feminism achieved!"

I think I understand what went wrong here.  Since Feminism is supposed to help women, it seems logical to assume that it would be for things that make women feel comfortable and good, and against things that make women feel uncomfortable and bad.  And, if you happen to be a woman, you would probably phrase this to yourself as “Feminism is supposed to be for things that make me feel comfortable, and against things that make me feel uncomfortable.”  And here’s where the trouble starts.  If you are a teenager, and insecure about yourself, specifically with regard to your appearance — which virtually all teenagers are, both female and male — then, obviously, sexy people of your own gender are going to make you feel uncomfortable.      

And this sucks, but it is an inevitable part of being alive.  What no-one seems to be able to say here, and what feminism has been in a no-win situation about for quite a while, is the following:  just because something makes teenage girls uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong — and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s sound feminist policy to lash out against it. 

Boys go through the same thing, you know — we just never, ever talk about it.  But if we’re being honest, we would admit that we can remember being kids and watching Batman or whoever punch someone so hard that they go through a fucking wall and thinking: “Shit.  I am supposed to be able to do that when I grow up, or girls won’t like me?”  Indeed, a lot of guys never get over this insecurity.  Those are the guys who make fun of sports.  It’s just that they don’t develop an anti-sports philosophy and call it Masculinism, because who would buy it?  Who could possibly believe that it’s pro-guy to not like sports?  I guess if most guys were so insecure about their physical abilities that it made them hate sports and the guys who played them, then people would buy it — but this isn’t the case.  Maybe it’s because guys just aren’t as scrutinized as girls, and so we never fully come to grasp all the ways in which we don’t measure up to hotter guys — but, for some reason, a 300-lb guy who never gets out of his recliner can watch a world-class athlete in flawless physical condition on TV and identify with him.

Of course, there’s something women can do about this, if you want:  start making fun of guys who aren’t in flawless physical condition.  Start talking about how gross they are at top volume 24/7, and never sleep with any guy who isn’t hot.  After all, if you’re still going to fuck them, there’s no reason for them to change.

To that freshman girl trying to write that paper, the fact that people like fucking seems like a one-way street:  it inconveniences her, because she has to compare herself to the “whores” in their talons hauts, but it doesn’t inconvenience guys.  In reality, most of us guys actually spend our entire lives banging our heads against the wall because we know we’re never going to get to fuck the girls she’s pissed about, but she doesn’t know this.  She thinks we all get to, hence the whole “whores” thing.  

But we don’t.  Not all men get to fuck them, and not all women get to be them, but this doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong.  If I was a sexy chick, I’d go around in cute outfits too — why the hell wouldn't I?  Unless, of course, I had allowed all the people who don’t get to fuck or be me to convince me that I shouldn’t.  But I’m too smart for that — and, luckily, so are a sufficient number of sexy chicks.

In ancient Athens, the hetairai — a class of educated, taxpaying courtesans — were the only women allowed to participate in the symposia.  Now, I’m not going to explicitly allege that women who like to fuck are always smarter than women who don’t like to fuck — but hey, I’ll toss the idea out there.  Some schools of feminism have already been on this tip for 25 years, courtesy of Madonna, and even more got on board in the last decade, courtesy of Sex and the City — drawing a connection from the sex drive to the artistic impulse, and from the artistic impulse to the intellect…  Just as men have always done because, hey, we had to convince women to sleep with us somehow.         

In a nutshell, this is the difference between race PC and gender PC  All race PC does is forcefully assert that racist ideas are not valid — which is fine, because it is in fact the case that racist ideas are not valid.  Gender PC, on the other hand, has had to negotiate the Scylla-and-Charybdis relationship between the fact that most women don’t consider themselves to be especially attractive and the fact that the ones who do still count as women and have the right to act how they want just like other women do — and this has led to the dissemination of attitudes that are not logically justifiable.

To me, the rule of thumb (which is an expression that originated with carpenters who used to use the distance from thumb-tip to knuckle to approximate one inch, and NOT from a law about what you could or couldn’t use to beat your wife, since there was never any such law, and if you think there was then it would still be in old law books so go find it, hey did you find it yet, yeah neither has anyone else, because it's completely made up, sorry) is whether the so-called “PC” is being used against false things or true things.  If someone is telling you that something is not true, and it really isn’t true, or that there’s a problem with something, and there really is a problem with it, then they are not being “PC” — they're just being accurate.

Oh, and sorry for titling this article via the “(blank) or not (blank)” device, because I know it’s really cheesy, and it usually annoys me when people do it too.

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