"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PC Amok

I'm old enough to remember when "politically correct" actually meant something, as used by the New Left in the 1970s and '80s, and it wasn't necessarily positive: I'm not real enthusiastic about ideological purity. Now that the right has bastardized the term so that it has no meaning any more: the right uses it to mean social norms that it doesn't agree with, which is most of them. There is an element of the far left that uses political correctness as a cue for outrage -- you know, those people who make a profession of being offended. This, though, has really got me scratching my head:

In a segment focused on the words of white supremacist leader Richard Spencer late Monday afternoon, CNN's chyron read: "ALT-RIGHT FOUNDER QUESTIONS IF JEWS ARE PEOPLE." 

It was a stunning summary of Spencer's comments, which CNN posted as reading:

"One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem," which The New York Times quoted today, noting that "golem" refers "to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews."

The CNN host called Spencer's words, "hate-filled garbage."

OK, this is fairly straightforward, but it's the chyron that generated the outrage.

People, including Jake Tapper -- it was on his show, although he was away at the time -- are up in arms. You can read some of the tweets at the link above, and then there's this post from Crooks and Liars, which has hardly any substance at all. There are more tweets, but if you check out the comments, what's missing is one very basic point: The chyron is quoting a white supremacist/Nazi leader whose words are, very rightly, condemned in the discussion. The quote is attributed. Seems perfectly within the standards of normalcy to me -- not the content, but the treatment, I should say.

So, I'm sitting here asking myself, why are so many people -- including the show's host -- outraged? I mean, not only the tweets but the comments from the C&L post -- not to mention the C&L headline, which reads "Jake Tapper Annoyed His Show Ran A Chyron Questioning If Jews Were People" -- make it sound as though CNN were endorsing this garbage when, in fact, the panel did just the opposite.

That, to me, is PC run amok.


Pieter said...

Could the outrage stem from the term "alt-right"? Too many people seem to be unable to pronounce the word "Nazi" these days, but that's precisely what the "alt-right" represents: Nazi ideology, which, in turn, stimulates fears of Nazi methods. In some circumstances, and I would argue that this is one, "PC" stands for "mealy-mouthed" and ineffective.

Hunter said...

I don't think it's the use of "alt-right" -- the comments and tweets mostly seem to assume that CNN is somehow endorsing the quote.

I suspect you're right about "PC.'