Monday, December 20, 2010

Homosexual Frogs (5)

But, of course, language is sometimes used to create a consensus were no consensus in fact exists. 

If I describe someone as "a black person" (rather than "negro" or even "n----r") you correctly infer that behind my use of the word "black" lurks the assumption that black people are just as good as white people; that skin colour and heritage don't matter very much; and that even if they did  matter it  still wouldn't be nice to use words which upset people. 
But it would be quite odd to describe the word "black" as Politically Correct. There really is a consensus. The word is based on a set of assumptions we really do all share. Yes, some people do routinely use the n-word. In doing so, they rule themselves outside of polite discourse. Society includes a handful of racists. It also includes a handful of nudists. We treat the guy in the pub who calls black men "n-----s" the same way as we treat the guy in the pub who gets his willy out. We ask him to leave. If he doesn't, we call the cops. Or the bobbies. Or... 

If I describe someone as "a bobby", rather than "a pig", or "the filth" then you rightly infer that behind the word lurks the assumption that police officers are rather cute, rather honourable, rather innocent, if perhaps not always terribly bright people, whose job it is to help us out when we are in trouble. And it would be quite reckless of me to assume that everyone, or even most people, agree with me about that. For all I know, you might think that so-called police officers are sinister agents who are paid by the state to coerce free people into behaving in whatever way the government of the day finds convenient. Or you may think that police officers are overwhelmingly thugs who get off on the exercise of petty power -- who get their jollies from yelling at people and telling them what to do. And handcuffs, of course. Handcuffs are sexy. Or you may think that black people are much more likely to be stopped than white people, or that the police are somehow always too busy to help when your mobile phone is nicked but thousands of them can be spared to cavalry charge harmless students complaining about government education policy. And that when one of them murders a protester, the establishment closes ranks and lets the officer get off stop free. 

To say nothing about the summary execution of innocent people outside tube stations.

But who ever described the word "bobby" as an example of Political Correctness, mad or otherwise?

If you say "serviceman" (or "our-valiant-service-men-and-women", or simply "heroes") then you are using P.C language to impose your idea that soldiers are brave, self-sacrificing individuals with a vocation to keep the world free from terrorism and safe for democracy -- rather than the worst kind of thug, little boys with nasty toys propping up the west's imperialistic enterprise in the middle east without thinking about the implications because they're not capable of getting a job in a civilized society. 
Never mind which side you agree with, of if you think I have possibly unduly polarized the two positions. Never mind if it's possible to oppose stupid wars but still respect soldiers.  "Bobby" and "War Hero" are ideologically loaded terms  in a way that "Chairperson" and "Lone Parent" really aren't. There is far more monolithic social pressure to wear a poppy on November 11th than there has ever been to say "Season's Greetings" rather than "Happy Christmas". 

It is the right, not the left, who assume a consensus which does not really exist. It is the right, not the left, who seek to colonize language and make it impossible to even think that "law and order" "democracy" "patriotism" "freedom" "liberty" may not be  quite as good as they're cracked up to be. It is the right who have come up with Politically Correct euphemisms like "extraordinary rendition" and "enhanced interrogation" in order to imply that everyone agrees that torture is sometimes okay, when they really, really, really don't. And it is, of course, the right who overwhelmingly control the media, mainstream or otherwise. 

I don't, in fact, think that Bill Windsor is a parasitic little shit whose gormless good looks give spurious credibility to a repressive institution which makes Britain a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the world and whose wedding should, at best, be given the same coverage as any other "celebrity" or "society" wedding. 

But if I did say such things the Common Sense Brigade would be be down on me like a metric tonne of bricks.