The True PC Gospel
Notes from the Far East Desk
BY L. ROY AIKEN
"Political correctness run amok" is a pet phrase of the corporate media these days. Invariably used to describe an isolated piece of silliness involving someone's overreaction to something, which in turn results in a larger overreaction affecting people in an area no larger than a school district, the general idea is that this isolated silliness is a sign of Things to Come and that America as We Know It is doomed. (And there's no turning back, the subtext goes, unless you wise up and register Republican. But never mind that for now.)
Still, whether this "political correctness" involves the Ebonics "debate" in Oakland, Calif., or the shocking tale of an unwanted kiss on an elementary school playground in North Carolina resulting in a little boy not getting any ice cream (oh, the injustice!), these stories are -- to borrow an older, more venerable cliché -- tempests in teapots. Closer inspection often reveals either a minor misunderstanding blown way out of proportion or someone exercising extreme (albeit understandable, given today's litigious climate) discretion to avoid a lawsuit. Pale, godless freaks in Birkenstocks and tie-dye enforcing their drugged-out vegetarian Stalinist imperatives have nothing to do with it.
No, Dear Reader, if you want to work yourself into a proper lather for the travesty of your fellow Americans being persecuted by prissy, self-righteous little creeps waxing amok, then look no further than the letters column of your favorite newspaper or magazine.
Here is an incomplete list of Definite No-Nos guaranteed to invite letters to the editor from the goons at your local Ministry of Truth. Mind you, no one is beaten up or taken away to Room 101 for these True PC thought crimes, but you will see stern corrections of attitude issued for:
Publishing pieces sympathetic of working people who are cheated or otherwise abused by their employers. Certainly no self-respecting corporate chain paper does this -- not since it became Accepted Conventional Wisdom that people of limited education over the age of 40 who have done manual labor all their working lives can just clock out and leave if they don't like it. After all, anything can happen in Today's Booming Hi-Tech Economy, and it's clear that if these people weren't so spoiled and undisciplined they might give up a few luxuries like, say, eating food and sleeping indoors, and with Hard Work and Perseverance land a 25K entry-level position at Anywhere, Inc.
Then again, with the whopping $110 they already earn per week, they could very well incorporate themselves and underbid other larger companies for state and federal labor contracts! Or don't you believe that ordinary people are capable of accomplishing extraordinary things? Like, say, magic.
This line of Accepted Conventional Wisdom has a very important corollary, and unless you want your personal integrity questioned by the Attitude Police in angry Letters to the Editor you must refrain from:
are because God has smiled upon
them and they don't have to answer
to lazy no-accounts like you.
And should you dare infer that
those shiftless peons from the
front sales office to the factory floor
deserve anything more than the
smallest percentage of the monies
they generate for the company -- well, that
constitutes envy. And that's a sin.
Criticizing people and corporations who receive every tax break under the sun while cheating and abusing the people who work for them. So what about the low tax burden they shoulder relative to the other 90 percent of us, the multi-million dollar subsidies they receive from the government at taxpayers' (read: our) expense? Our corporate aristocracy are who they are because God has smiled upon them and they don't have to answer to lazy no-accounts like you. And should you dare infer that those shiftless peons from the front sales office to the factory floor deserve anything more than the smallest percentage of the monies they generate for the company -- well, that constitutes envy. And that's a sin. But a politically incorrect heathen like you wouldn't know that, now would you?
Publishing pieces sympathetic to the plight of people put-upon in this society for their race, creed or sexual orientation. Look, we may have had problems with race and stuff at one time, but that's all long since over with. Spike Lee directs his precious little movies. A dead faggot made millions writing Rent. A genuine femmie-lezbo freak stars in her own TV sitcom. And look at all those megabuck basketball players! All this, and Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas officiated at Rush Limbaugh's third marriage.
You people are never satisfied, are you?
For reasons of space this list must be incomplete, but it would be irresponsible not to mention this Ultimate True PC Thought Crime, the commission of which will bring a Category 5 shitstorm of corrective attitude to your op-ed page:
Making even the slightest implication that Ronald Reagan was anything but the Greatest U.S. President in Modern Memory. Under no circumstances will this blasphemy be tolerated. For it was with his strategically placed $2,000 hammers and $200 toilet seats, the fearsome might of his billion-dollar sci-fi lasers in space that never happened and his similarly priced planes that never flew that President Reagan deliberately, and with great cunning, sent the commies in Russia to oblivion. (As for that budget deficit we're just getting around to closing 10 years later, the astounding sums of plain interest we'll be paying on the federal debt for a million years to come, that's the Democrats' fault.) Reagan's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (and the subsequent raise in payroll taxes for the rest of us) financed the longest economic boom since God-knows-when, providing millions of jobs to, uh, Indonesia. (As for your crippled Social Security program, your shredded social safety nets, etc. -- whaddya' think you are, entitled? Just because you pay taxes?)
Sure, Reagan napped during cabinet meetings, but he was dreaming of a better America. He had to be, because it happened, didn't it? Of course. We were living it! And then George Bush came along and ruined it all by causing that huge recession with his bad TV manner and stuff.
So don't ever talk bad about Ronald "I Don't Recall Trading Arms for Hostages" Reagan. Besides, he has Alzheimer's (surprise, surprise) and even though he has the best taxpayer-subsidized health care we taxpayers will never see (whaddya' think you are, entitled?), we should feel compassion for him in his dotage.
Compassion for him and no one else. That's the True PC Gospel. The way things ought to be.
And if you don't like it, write your own letters to the editor.
Columbia native L. Roy Aiken zaps out his column by mojowire from the eighth floor of a high-rise overlooking the west end of Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan. He has worked as a city hall reporter and columnist for the Imperial Beach (Calif.) Times and has contributed to The San Diego Writers' Monthly, The Poetry Conspiracy and the horror anthology Taboo.