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PC gone mad



  • Dame Helen Mirren - one of my favourite actresses - sums it up nicely...

  • It's a strange logic. Do we give power to those who assault people by not assaulting people ourselves routinely? Maybe we should all practice a bit of punching and kicking on the street to take power away from those who currently assault people?

  • I think if your child did that it would prove the education system and society can help children overcome bad parenting. Your views belong in the dark ages as it is justification of bad behaviour because you can't move with the times. Hopefully your children won't be looking back at you laughing about how ignorant you are dismissing your views as they become adults. You can be sure of one thing they will either grow up to be ignorant like you or laughing at you while you think it is good parenting

  • Sorry for the delay in replying. Have had to be offline over the last couple of weeks.

    I can not see that that analogy holds at all no. Assault is actually a crime and a direct attack on someone. For the analogy to make sense the verbal and physical attack have to be analagous to each other - while the weapon used in the attack would have to be analagous to the words used in the verbal attack. Where your analogy is problematic here is you made the assault in one case analagous to the words in the other. So the attack in case 1 was linked to the weapon of choice in case 2 - so it is not a useful 1:1 analogy.

    Again - we have a choice to give words themselves power - or give the user of the words power. And I can not currently bring to mind an exception to the general feeling I have that the latter is always going to be better than the former every time.

    I am afraid simply declaring my views are from the "dark ages" or "bad parenting" or "ignorant" and then running away does not really help the conversation.

    I am not seeing to which views you think you refer to exactly - nor what is "dark ages" about them - nor what is bad parenting or ignorant either.. Could you be at all clear here - rather than just hit and run labelling which is as unhelpful as it is rather cowardly?

    You have not rebutted or addressed or even referred to a single thing I wrote in my post in fact. You could in fact copy and paste your post into any other thread on this forum and it would still make as much (that is to say no) sense in any context given how little it in fact links to replying to me at all.

  • How did I run away given it you took so long to respond?

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  • It is not the time one takes to respond that I am referring to with the phrase "running away". But the hit and run lack of content in your post. When you call something "ignorant" or "bad parenting" but then fail to actually show what you are rebutting or disagreeing with - or why - then that is just a "hit and run" non post.

    If there is something wrong with my thinking on the subject then by all means explain what you think it is. But if your response is entirely devoid of content to the point you could probably post the same stuff near verbatim in any thread - then you have essentially said nothing at all.

    I have read over my post since - as you point out - some time has passed since I made it. I can see nothing ignorant in it - nothing from the "dark ages" - and nothing that constitutes bad parenting. You seem to have simply flung out those labels for no reason and then left.

  • Can we please advance the discussion rather than simply comment on the posting styles of other users? Thanks

  • *Senses incroaching irrelevancy.

    * Opens twitter.

    Hello hypersensitive internet I once said fggt.

    *Opens email. 40,000% spike in your search stats. About 2-3 million over next 5 years. Yours, Publicity dept.

  • OK, so the analogy was a little stretched, but the substantive point stands. Are you seriously suggesting that when my 70-something uncle starts banging on about all the N-I-G-G-E-R-S and K-N-A-C-K-E-R-S he had to endure when he went to the shops, in front of my kids and his grandkids, that we should just nod politely, because any rebuke would be giving power to racists?

  • I think by capitalsing, you made it worse...

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  • Matt Damon

  • I am genuinely struggling to see how you got that from anything I wrote. So no - I think the quick answer to your quick question is that no that is not what I was suggesting - seriously or otherwise - at all.

    In fact if anything that would be almost exactly the opposite of what I was suggesting. In fact I am so baffled as to how you got that from anything I said - that I am at a loss at how to clarify or correct for it at this point. I genuinely do not know if it is a failure on my part to communicate - on your part to understand what I wrote - or some proportion of the two. So the best I can do is assume the failure is mine and restate by position:

    To repeat what I was saying so - words have power and that power should come not from the word itself alone but from the context and intent with which the word was used. Your uncle is using words from a place of hate and bigotry and racism and as such I would be all for any attempt you wish to make to rebuke him or take him down. I have never and would never suggest otherwise.

    However if we give the word itself the power - and get triggered by any use of it in any context such as a person using it in a joke or recently Blindboy apologising for something he should not apologise for in using a word in a song - then there mere use of it in any context can affect us negatively. Further in giving the word itself power when someone like your racist uncle goes off on one we have essentially weaponised that word for him and made his tirades more potent for his use of those words. The mere word itself becomes a focal point around which his hate can metastasize.

    So my interest/agenda is to muse on how we can kneecap the ability of the hater to empower themselves with words. And one of the things I believe is that if we stop going off on one every time we hear a word in some ridiculous form of moral panic - we could achieve that. For example I can not even type the N word you used without it being auto moderated. That to me is mad. There was a guy in the US who lost his job for using the N word during a conversation on why the word should not be used. He had not racist agenda or intent. Quite the opposite. But the mob came for him. Another lecturer in the US if memory serves had issues because he used that word too because he was reading a classic and famous novel that contained the word. As in he was not using the word he was merely reading aloud a book. All this is nonsense. And all this nonsense empowers your racist uncles use of the word as a weapon. And I can see no good side of that. Can you?

  • I think context is important here. To draw on your analogy, physical assault is a crime but banning boxing or martial arts or valid use of knives or screwdrivers or syringes for that matter is not a solution. Hate speech and incitement to hatred is also a crime, correctly so in my opinion, but censoring single words doesn't solve the problem. Moreover, banning individual words irrespective of context does more to polarise people into mutually antagonistic groups than do anything to stop haters hating. Just my opinion, but from what I've read from these discussions on boards, they seem to generate more hatred if anything. Better perhaps to actively promote mutual respect, tolerance and inclusivity for all involved. While I agree we should have zero tolerance for bigotry, attacking those who have never intended to give offence in the first place is not the way to go.

  • “Never argue with and idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience” - Mark Twain.

    Think he got there before her. Also lots of dirty open secrets in Hollywood. She worked with Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein.

  • If the context is a joke then anything is fair game. Taboos, killing babies, whatever.

  • As well it should be. That is a whole other conversation which I have heard had with and without actual professional comedians in the conversation. The concept of what should or should not be out of bounds of comedy. And I fall down on the side of there being little or nothing that should be.

    That is not to say that every comedian is going to deal with touchy or delicate subjects well. Mainly because 1) Many comedians are not that good at the art and will simply mess it up and 2) Even the most artful of comedians are still working in comedy which is a very subjective field so the most artfully created joke is still going to bomb on a % of the audience anyway.

    But my feeling is that human existence is tragically comic. We are capable of extremes of well being and extremes of suffering. And it is at it's core inherently ridiculous. We have evolved this faculty of humour and I believe we should use it - and even direct it cathartically (is that a word?) at even the darkest and most tragic aspects of the human condition.

    That can be done maliciously just to get reaction or a rise. But it can equally be done just from a place of recognising the tragic humour at the core of even the most awful things.

    I suppose the common go to example when this kind of conversation comes up is comedy about disabilities. There is a lot of it. Tom Segura is the most recent one I can think of on Netflix. He went to the relatively low hanging fruit of Tourette as one of his examples. People who live with that suffer. And it's terrible that they suffer. And we should not be malicious about it.

    But we can still recognise humour in that condition and the tragedy of it all the time. And what I love is when people like Sweet Anita or Lewis Nickell who suffer from it themselves work to not only raise awareness about it and people who suffer from it - but also to laugh at it themselves too.

  • The important thing to consider here, in my opinion at least, is intent. Where humour repeatedly attacks a minority it can have an agenda, even if it is pandering to the perceived bigotry of others to get an easy laugh and hence easy buck for the comedian. While I don't think any subject should be out of bounds for comedy, nor should it provide a blanket exemption for hateful behaviour. This can be a very fine line, where banning certain terms and subjects actually removes the ability of a comedian to explore and ridicule unacceptable behaviour, which is more often going to be the case than the comedian engaging in it. More militant and prescriptive approaches to political correctness do considerably more damage than good, attacking those we disagree with rather than engaging with them.