I’m not afraid of PC culture. There. I said it. I’m just not. I’m not worried about the Internet’s outrage or college students and their demand for safe spaces or the “PC police” cracking down on people for not using the correct personal pronouns. I’m not afraid of PC culture for two specific reasons.
First because the term has become nebulous to the point of meaninglessness. Much like “hipster” before it, PC culture now covers such a broad spectrum that everything remotely related to asking people to show a basic level of respect to others has been thrown into it. Brad Pitt, regardless of any amount of bad facial hair and lack of showering, is not a hipster. In the same way, having a moderated comment section on a website isn’t actually a sign of the coming apocalypse at the hands of those determined to censor any dissenting opinions. Someone deleting your brilliantly crafted message of “YOur a homo. Trump 2016!” isn’t anything like 1984. Stop saying that. You’re embarrassing yourself and, somehow, 1984.
If anyone wants to deal with specific details that might be concerning about the direction of the country, I’d be happy to deal with individual items. 40% of millennials thinking it’s OK for the effing government to limit speech? Big problem. Huge. One that maybe needs to be addressed in Civics classes? You know, the same place where they should be explaining the difference between actual censorship and just the general, societal expectation that you not be an asshole all the time. But trigger warnings? I don’t know, man. I’ve got like 30 different “Spoiler” gifs saved on my computer just in case. Does it make it more bearable to think of it just in “spoiler” terms? Like maybe instead of not having seen Deadpool yet, you were just violently raped over winter break and so your spoiler is less about plot points and more about not having emotionally devastating flashbacks?
“But, Emily,” you’re saying in my imagined conversation, because you’re significantly more polite than most internet commenters, “then those college students aren’t exposed to that idea/ book/ scene. We’re coddling a generation of people who are choosing which ideas to be exposed to.” Yeah? And? I don’t mean to be flippant about this, but not all ideas/ opinions/ voices need to be heard. The imagined recent rape victim in the scenario above is still totally aware of what rape is even if she ducks out of reading that one book. I still know that lots and lots of people don’t care for feminists, gay people, immigrants, etc. without ever turning on Fox News. Is there a specific policy item on which I need to be informed so I can help make a decision? Then I need to hear all sides of an argument. Does someone feel the need to Tweet about how much they dislike Lena Dunham? Nope. Then there’s no reason for me to listen to that. And speaking of such a Tweet, let’s check in on #thetriggering. That was the terrible Twitter holiday Vivian told us about yesterday invented by shitlords (their word, not mine) to combat political correctness. Here’s an example.
Lena Dunham is an untalented fool.#TheTriggering— ThoughtCriminal (@Though_Criminal) March 9, 2016
Now #thetriggering itself shouldn’t be the second reason I’m not afraid of PC culture, but it might as well be. If PC culture does, in fact, represent a large, serious threat to the future of our country, these whiny, little, bullshitty assholes are doing a terrible job of properly representing it. What’s the idea behind this holiday? Or better yet, what was the overall conversation that lead to the holiday?
Some Asshat: I’ve got opinions that aren’t PC. I’m real, and I won’t sugarcoat what I say for anyone. I don’t care what people think of me.
Most People: Cool. I think you’re an asshole.
Some Asshat: STOP OPPRESSING ME!
Because let’s be clear: at no point has it actually been against the law for shitty people to say shitty things. What shitty people want is the ability to say shitty things and have it not be considered shitty. That’s why a group of people who are usually vehemently anti-safe space have banded together for a special day so their voices can be heard within the safety of a larger group. Looks like one group didn’t forget to pack their irony fedora when the set out for Twitter yesterday.
And not everyone complaining about PC culture is saying the same despicable shit as these dickbags, but the same basic idea applies. If you make shitty, vaguely homophobic jokes, people might not laugh at them. You can’t take your ball and say you’re going home. Or more to the point, you actually totally can, but most college students still won’t want to buy tickets to your show. You’re also totally free to say wrong, shitty things about diversity and where it’s needed. Or about how people who never asked for your opinion or input should live their lives. Everyone is totally free to spout whatever level of wrongness they want. But when people tell you you just said something shitty, it’s not because PC culture is ruining the country. It’s because you JUST SAID SOMETHING SHITTY.
Now to be clear, lives have actually been ruined by overzealous defense of one group or another. There have been instances of shit wrapped in shit and then placed in between fluffy slices of shit bread for the all-time shittiest sandwich. There are serious issues to be discussed here: the mob mentality of the internet, the extent to which people should be forgiven for innocent mistakes, how easily the forgiveness should come when someone has made a very serious, not-innocent mistake, if there is a statute of limitations on having held shitty beliefs at some point in your life. All are important topics, and have an impact on how we’ll exist societally in the coming decades. And absolutely none of them are answered by shouting about “PC culture.”
If anything, #thetriggering has managed to take down “PC culture.” The term at least. If the group fighting against PC culture’s war cry is “We want to say shitty things on the Internet!” then fine. You’ve won that. We never tried to fight with you about that. If, on the other hand, they’re hoping to slow the inevitable march toward a more equitable society, they might need to invest in some better hashtags.