Not Saussure

November 1, 2006

Political Correctness gone for a burton

Filed under: Politics — notsaussure @ 5:41 pm

Amusement over at the Telegraph over a training manual withdrawn by Kirklees Council that apparently tried to ban the use of the term ‘political correctness,’ apparently on the somewhat incomprehensible grounds that

“Use of the phrase ‘political correctness’ is at best factual avoidance and at worst a direct physical attack.”

Document is too politically correct for its own good

No, I can’t work out how using a phrase can possibly be a direct physical attack, either — unless perhaps the person using it is so annoyed they’re literally spitting and spluttering?

I do have some sympathy, though, with the people who want to discourage use of the cliché; better, I’d have thought, to ditch the phrase ‘this is political correctness gone mad’ and say, instead, ‘this is a really bad idea, because …’.

A somewhat more difficult method of disposing of the idea, of course; A E Houseman once sardonically remarked of some point he thought was obviously mistaken, ‘Three minutes’ thought would suffice to find this out, but thought is arduous and three minutes a long time.’ Similarly, two or three minutes’ thought is, I suppose, for some people frequently too much effort to expend on thinking why something’s foolish. It always makes me wonder, why people don’t bother; I mean, there’s no way you’re ever going to convince someone his idea’s a bad one by telling him, ‘it’s political correctness gone mad’, but you might stand a chance if you explain to him politely and reasonably why it’s a non-starter.

Always give your opponent the impression you regard him as being, like you, a sensible chap who’s willing to be swayed by a reasonable case. It lulls him into a false sense of security.

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