Saturday, November 04, 2006
On my post Watching the Defectives - I still don't think I've got quite enough praise for that brilliant headline - Susan, a highly valued regular, comments, 'Can't say you guys are oppressed by political correctness!' I have been thinking about this and I realise I am not quite sure what political correctness is. At one level it seems to be based on the very postmodern delusion that, changing words changes reality - as when US blacks become African-Americans. At another level, it seems to be close to Marilynne Robinson's definition of priggishness - 'it is highly predictable because it is nothing else than a consuming loyalty to ideals and beliefs which are in general so widely shared that the spectacle of zealous adherence to them is reassuring.' Being PC, in this sense, means simply adopting unconsidered contemporary orthodoxies and, in the case of PC prigs, using these to assert moral superiority. Or, sometimes, PC just seems to be a kind of foggy niceness. None of these seem very attractive or challenging, though all seem, as Susan implied, oppressive. So, yes, Susan, we are not oppressed.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:12 am