The previous post, “Too Politically Correct For Our Own Good”, detailed absurd situations that form part of what is ludicrously termed by society today, ‘political correctness’.
The term was, no doubt, originally coined for the well-meaning purpose of curtailing the verbal persecution of certain minority groups, but like most societal trends the pendulum has now swung so far in the other direction that literary and artistic work is being attacked, modified, or persecuted, if it fails to conform to the self-imposed restrictions of the nameless, faceless, individuals responsible for determining this type of censure.
Often, a decision on political correctness is left to the not-so-tender mercy of some obscure committee. Nowhere is the puffed-up ego more at home than among its fellows at the committee room table. Here, it can preen and admire it’s self-importance, while supported and inflated by those around it.
We hardly need reminding of the education committee that banned a school nativity play at the last moment because one Muslim (Jewish, Hindu?) parent complained; or, the manhole covers renamed ‘Personnel Access Units’ by certain British local authority committees because it ‘might be deemed sexist’.
Such nonsense is rife among education departments; remember when classrooms had blackboards? That was before they were renamed ‘chalk’-boards. Schools now have their students decorate the ‘holiday tree’, just in case the word ‘Christmas’ might offend a non-Christian, or an atheist like me. Needless to say, it doesn’t. I love Christmas. What is offensive to me are these idiotic puffed up egos who believe they have the right to determine how I should think and speak.
When I was growing up, one of my musical heroes was Mark Knopfler, of the rock band, Dire Straits. He’s 61 now, but still making and writing music. His musical scores include Metroland, Local Hero, Cal, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Wag the Dog, and The Princess Bride, as well as numerous songs and discs, including the legendary CD, “Brothers-in-Arms”, which sold thirty million copies.
One of the tracks from that disc was, “Money For Nothing”. It details the opinions of a delivery man watching pop stars perform on the MTV channel of TVs in a store window. In the fourth verse of the song, our delivery man sings:
The little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy, that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire
The song was written in the early 1980s and, as previously stated, sold over thirty million copies. Rolling Stone magazine rated it as the 94th greatest guitar song of all time. Yet, only last month, after one lone caller from Newfoundland contacted the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (read ‘committee’) and complained the word ‘faggot’ was a slur on gay people, the CBSC banned the song from all private radio stations in Canada.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (read ‘committee’) has nothing to do with the Canadian government. It’s a private organization, against which there is no redress, and no doubt staffed by puffed-up little egos all desperate to out-inflate the other.
Such manipulation of artwork should be made illegal. In this instance, Knopfler took a level-headed view of the situation and has substituted another word in place of ‘faggot’ when performing the song of late.
If he were around today, I wonder if Mark Twain would be so accepting of the abuse imposed on one of his greatest works by the academic ego of Alan Gribben?
Gribben has taken it upon himself to erase 219 references to the word, ‘nigger’, from the book, Huckleberry Finn, and replace them with, ‘slave’. The ‘new’ version is due to be published this month.
I can only agree heartily with Jamelle Bouie, a black writer for Atlantic magazine, who recently wrote of this abomination:
…..erasing “nigger” from Huckleberry Finn—or ignoring our failures—doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t provide racial enlightenment, or justice, and it won’t shield anyone from the legacy of slavery and racial discrimination. All it does is feed the American aversion to history and reflection. Which is a shame. If there’s anything great about this country, it’s in our ability to account for and overcome our mistakes. Peddling whitewashed ignorance diminishes America as much as it does our intellect.
While the ego can make us believe we know better than anyone else, it doesn’t force us to do so. We can control our ego, but only if we ensure it remains deflated and in its place. The mind is a vastly superior machine to the ego. It has the ability to think things through, overcome prejudice, and realize that ‘political correctness’ is nothing more than the application of wallpaper to a defective building, in the vain hope it won’t fall down.
 “CANADIAN BROADCAST STANDARDS COUNCIL re the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits CBSC, October 14th 2010
 “Taking the History Out of ‘Huck Finn'” The Atlantic, January 4th 2011
Filed under: Hyperinflation