Not Correctness, Politeness

I’m still recovering from a surgery, so one more repeat this week.  This is from 2017.

Has “political correctness” run wild, threatening to destroy our language and culture? Certainly, it’s a pain to have to learn new terms all the time. And no one likes to be scolded for using the wrong ones. But is this all just a way of repressing free speech and making people more pliant and reducing the culture to nothing?

No. We are in the middle of a process of determining just what “polite” is.

That’s not to say it’s every gonna be easy. There is no “process” and no one gets to vote. It’s necessarily messy to clean up the language and make sure it works for everyone. We all have to agree at some point. And in the meantime, the one thing that far too many people seem to agree with is that politeness isn’t necessary at all. That’s the real problem.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Age of Anxiety

This piece is now 6 years old, but I will repeat it before launching into an examination of the pent-up anger which seems to be driving politics lately.  We all saw this coming – long, long ago.

After the mechanized cruelty and destruction of World War II, two important works of literature tried to capture the feeling of despair.  Along with well known 1984(1948) by George Orwell, there is the lesser known Age of Anxiety (1947) by W H Auden.  Both of these cast a shadow we still live under, twisting our language to defy and define a mechanical world not entirely fit for humans.  Auden’s more romantic treatment is worth the read if for no reason other than its resonance today. Continue reading