Friday, 4 November 2005

Political Correctness: A classic documentary now online

I thought it was time that a classic documentary on Political Correctness was taken out and dusted off: a forty minute radio documentary put together by Lindsay Perigo and Deborah Coddington for BBC World Service Radio just over a decade ago. (I've transferred it to MP3 and put it online, with links below.) How far have we come since then?

The documentary covers the orgins and effects of political correctness, the local and overseas manifestations of the phenomenon, and of course takes the piss out of PC whenever possible. The case of Anna Penn is discussed (Penn, if you recall, was the trainee nurse failed for being 'culturally unsafe' -- ahem, 'deficiency-achieved' -- in 1993, despite having a 92% average in the rest of her course) and there is also commentary from and interviews with luminaries such as journalist Carol du Chateau, economist and commentator Walter Williams, then-lecturer Rodney Hide, scientist and former Professor Robert Mann, andphilosopher Gary Hull.

Hull points to post-modernism and its relativist, deconstructionist cousins as being responsible for political correctness. Says Williams, the corruption of language that political correctness demands brings to mind George Orwell's important point in 1984, that "to introduce totalitarianism into society, you first have to corrupt the language."

How far have we come since 1993, and how much closer to 1984? You decide. Feel free to forward a copy to Wayne Mapp. He might learn something.

Linked MP3s: Political Correctness, Part 1, and Political Correctness, Part 2.

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  1. Not only is this broadcast fascinating, it's further eroded my pleasure in listening to the current crop of broadcasters who talk as though they've got clothespegs on their noses and cotton-wool for brains.

    I swear, even if I were totally opposed to everything he said, I'd still enjoy listening to Lindsay because of the way he talks.

  2. Go go Mr techno mp3 mix master!

    Thanks indeed

  3. May the Lord bless and keep you Peter. Thanks indeed, indeed.

  4. The thanks would be sufficient, Mepoc. ;-)

  5. Is Political correctness the bastard offspring of postmodernist indocrination and pavlov social conditioning, to create a society of equilization, by impedment, and suppressing the sovereign individuals development of rationalty and innovation,by control and isolation.

    The Postmodern Condition by Lyotard seems to describe this with the alienation of science from truth.

    Similar symptoms tend to be the dumbing down of, and non competition in Education by qualiataive standards,it is the numbers and everyone passes syndrome that pervails not the hypothesis.

    The suppression of discourse by individuals restricts innovation and evolution,the qualification of the automate prevails.

    To crusade against the prevailing fever of the moment is to be reviled as an leper or heretic of the pseudo religion of the postmodern era.

    The outcomes of this indoctrination can be seen in the discourse of the NCEA and the NZQA.Additional forms of this malady can be seen here

    An interesting investigation into the causal organism that has produced this malady can be found here by Alan Caruba.

  6. Of course those with whom we disagree are always politically correct. They are politically correct simply because they are unable to adhere to our own political correctness. You hate political correctness? You are politically correct. No defensive finger-pointing and name-calling will ever change the fact that you attack the values of others only to endorse the values which are dear to yourself.

  7. No defensive finger-pointing and name-calling will ever change the fact that you attack the values of others only to endorse the values which are dear to yourself.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

  8. I listened to the programme and read some of the articles on your website with interest.

    I am somewhat puzzled however by the fact that very few people, even within the 'liberal elite' actually call themselves 'PC'. It seems that opposing 'PC' is in fact the reason why the term is fervidly kept into existence.

    Demonizing 'PC' and connecting it to liberal intellectuals, the intellectual elite, or as the documentary says 'evil people' turns a gross generalisation with a right-winged agenda into a democratic duty. This critique leaves no place for other critique. It simply and falsely claims to be pluralist and thus kills pluralism.

    Is your over-usage of 'PC' not an Orwellian twist in itself? Is 'Not PC' not just Newspeak for right-winged anti-intellectualism, anti-liberalism. Or an example of another Orwellian mechanism: fabricating an ill-defined enemy in a state of fictitious war?

  9. You do release Orwell was a socialist. And I agree with jp, political correctness is the most Orwellian term since joy camp.

    So National gets in and pc gets out. And we watch as being un-pc, becomes the new pc. Morons!

    Orwell is rolling in his grave.

  10. I mean realise instead of release! Remember to always poof-read.


  11. Political correctness is the last refuge of critique of the intellectual left from the clueless right. PC doesn't exist of course, it has been invented by the right, it doesn't appear in any socialist, feminist or green philosophy.

    The right believes freedom = marketplace. Markets are stupid, make the rich richer and the poor poorer and there are no free markets anywhere, especially in national socialist USA where farmers and cars are completely protected, with massive government funding.

    How could a real market place support the inefficiency of the pentagon?

    So in order to have a critique -you invent one -hence PC.

    The best critique of the right is GET SMART! and rightest control post S11.

  12. With lack of a clear outlet for my views on Libertarianz, I'm going to post this here as it appears you are affiliated with this political party.

    Libertarianz is advocating ceasing welfare for the elderly and invalid. They want to sell all of our state owned assets. I would assume the supporters are mad but I believe they're reasonably wealthy and would like to remove the last vesitges of altruism we have in society (albeit obligatory) so as to keep their WHOLE paycheck - and maybe capitalise further on the poor in society. Have they learned nothing from America's economic model? The party is misguided and obviously ultra-capitalist, bordering on anarchic. I think the poll results will reflect this.

  13. The solution to PC is simple: American multilingualism. Try to argue Political Correctness' worth and value to someone with 4 or 5 or 6 languages in their head. You won't win. I promise.

    Check out my blog:

    Opposition of viewpoints in a cultural milieu are as important as competitive brands in a marketplace. The friction (verbal or financial) causes heat. The heat causes malleability. The malleability causes change and growth. The change and growth are only as totalitarian as the agents of change themselves are. I.E. People make business and government go. If the people driving those large conceptual constructs are totalitarian in nature, then the systems they build will reflect this. If those same people are peaceful and sharing in nature, then those systems they construct will reflect that.

    Anthropologists call this journey into friction or into "heat" a "liminal period".

    A young brave goes into the woods, battles with nature and the elements, comes out a warrior, leaves behinds the silly trappings of childhood.

    "Dragons live forever, but not so little boys. Paper wings and giants' rings give way to other toys." -Puff the Magic Dragon

    I may have misquoted the song a little.

    Read "Iron John" by Robert Bly for a nice account of America's lack of true masculinity and then think about PC as you read. You'll put the pieces together. A nice counterpart book for Iron John is called Drowning Ophelia. I forget the author. You can Google it yourself! :)

  14. America's economic model was and is inconsistent in this regard. Further, how do you "capitalize on the poor?"


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