Tired of Political Correctness

Yeah, given the posturing and the loaded phrases all aimed at putting someone in their place, the conceit that this thread was started as any sort of explanation, or that the OP has some manner of enlightened and tolerant stance on the issue (a stance that we have all somehow reinforced through our poorly-summarized responses) is kind of funny at best. Intellectually dishonest at worst.

This thread was started to let folks like yourself know that some of us won’t lose any sleep over someone saying “man up” or calling somebody a dick.

Wait, there's an entire internet out there devoted to being as offensive as you possibly can whenever you want with no repercussions. How is one podcast making an internal decision about how they talk and treat others somehow worthy of "the walls are coming down!" pushback? They haven't twisted anyone else's arms into doing something, they made their own choice for them. How is this particularly an example of everyone being overly-offended at everything?

Frankly, the OP reads like someone genuinely offended over their choice.

Certis wrote:

I'll finish with a question of my own and I hope people who take issue with this small thing can answer it honestly and without a thousand words of rationalizations.

What are you actually afraid you'll lose in this equation?

Yeah basically. What the hell is anyone losing by the guys who run the podcast making a personal decision about how they use language?

I did very much appreciate the post by Certis, though. A thoughtful and well reasoned explanation to the philosophical aim of the podcast.

Jeff_1 wrote:

If this offends you, I do not apologize but recommend you get some thick skin or better yet, grow up. Oh wait, have I now offended the young?
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Hopefully that won’t offend the people from PETA.
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I'm not struggling to grasp the concept here and get it even without the Doctorate in gendered language.
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Words/phrases are simply the mechanism we are using that evoke the response both pro and con.

It's statements like this that convert your argument from "don't worry about the small stuff" to "I'm pissed off at people I disagree with". What response are you trying to evoke here?

I for one won't change phrases I use to appease someone with a low self-esteem and I sure won't be apologizing for it if they bring it to my attention unless I really am in the wrong.

What about direct insults? That doesn't seem to be a problem for you here. You seem to want to regard talking to people on the Internet as different from talking to people face to face "because you don't know me", but I really wonder - if I went up to you in a bar and started insulting you - "You're stupid, all you conservatives are p*****s", whatever, I don't think that "Hey, don't take it wrong, I don't know you from Adam" is really gonna get me out of the inevitable response. It's the thing people forget all the time - there are real people on the other side of the conversation, whether on the Internet or ftf. And pretending that it's okay to insult someone personally because the insulter "doesn't know them", that's pretty dodgy reasoning.

So is assuming that people who disagree with you have "low self-esteem".

What I find interesting is I posted knowing there would be some who agreed and some who disagreed with my opinion. I knew there may even be some personal attacks such as my being called lazy or immature. Am I offended? No, you don't know me.

To my way of thinking, this is just an excuse to let you feel better about insulting strangers when you offer your opinions. Sorry, but there it is.

Well, I'm glad he clarified that cussin's not going away forever, because I would miss the occasional appearance of Jeff Green's saltiness.

"If I don't know you, you can't offend me. If you don't know me, you should have enough self-esteem not to be offended by me."

Sounds like someone who is fooling themselves to me. It's silly to believe that our interaction with the world has no impact and carries no responsibility whatsoever. Words have power. The old saying about sticks and stones might make for a nice coping mechanism, but it's what we say that endures in the minds and hearts of others. That's especially true when it's said on the internet. What's placed on here may very well be indelible, and it's not truly anonymous at all.

While we may never truly know anyone, some people are pathetically easy to figure out.

Certis' posting was, indeed, heartening.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Certis' posting was, indeed, heartening.

Agreed. Giving a sh*t about others is braver and better not giving a sh*t.

It's easy to feel threatened when certain terms or ideas are called into question, like some external group (probably college liberal feminist lesbians) is sitting there dictating what you can and can't say, and if you cross that line you're now branded a racist/ sexist/ homophobe.

Fortunately, that's not the case, and it really dehumanizes the actual changes taking place. When I was a teenager I used to call friends fags and declare things to be "totally gay" all the time. Which was odd because I suffered a lot of actual violence in school because the other kids thought I was gay. But in high school I started hanging out with a girl named Kate, whom I met at a punk show when she wanted to interview my terrible band for her zine. She was a lesbian. I ended up doing artwork for her zine and we became good friends. Over time I realized that when I was calling something "gay", I was saying "this is as stupid as being gay is", and I thought of Kate and the sh*t she had to go through at school and society at large, the way mutual friends would joke about her when she wasn't there. And I just couldn't do it anymore. That's not "political correctness". That's just recognizing humanity and dignity in others, and taking personal responsibility.

And here's the thing - a lot of people don't even need to have those experiences to know that certain terminology demeans others who already have their own struggles. They should be lauded for that, not scolded.

In terms of online comments and self esteem, I often have a lot easier time laughing off real life insults than some of the nasty comments I get on the Interwebz. In real life, you're normally dealing with one idiot at a time, and you can at least size up your tormenter. Its also easier to tell if somebody's just having a bad day and decided to take it out on you.

Online, it's very easy for groups of bullies to gang up on you, or for you to wonder how many people really believe that way. Its also much easier to stereotype and expect the worst.

Thanks for that post bombsfall! That experience resonates with my really well although I'm starting to realize the same things very late in the game (late 20s). I grew up with people who used many of the sayings you listed and grew to use them to a degree as well. At the very least, I wouldn't call people out on them. I'm trying to be better about it because my opinion on the whole thing is exactly like yours. I'm not really friends with the people I grew up with anymore who would say things like "that's gay". The fact that if I called them out on something like that and they wouldn't care confirms my suspicions that I made the correct choice in moving on from being friends.

Anyways, bravo to everyone who cares about this sort of thing enough to speak out. I'm not perfect because of how I grew up but I'm definitely trying to be more sensitive about it. Over the last few years, it's started to bother me.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

I'm not perfect because of how I grew up but I'm definitely trying to be more sensitive about it.

I vibe with this - I grew up in a very "moral majority", homophobic, somewhat racist and generally mean-spirited house where political correctness was invoked regularly as some awful thing the liberals were foisting on us. Being thoughtlessly cruel was seen as planting a flag of liberty.

bombsfall wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

I'm not perfect because of how I grew up but I'm definitely trying to be more sensitive about it.

I vibe with this - I grew up in a very "moral majority", homophobic, somewhat racist and generally mean-spirited house where political correctness was invoked regularly as some awful thing the liberals were foisting on us. Being thoughtlessly cruel was seen as planting a flag of liberty.

It's tough when you realize that stuff like that has barbs. Even the offhand things that are said can pierce people and they end up carrying that crap inside for a long time. Even decades later sometimes it's still an influence, dragging them off course. It takes a while to deal with it and let it go even after you see it. Even without really bad influences in my past I'm still recognizing crap from my childhood/pre-adulthood that I carry around, both inflicted and endured.

As already pointed out, the problem that any host of a podcast has is that they aren't just talking to their mates, they have an audience made up of people the know nothing about. The vast majority of listeners never interact with the hosts so they can't just judge it based on what the vocal members say. This is why I can understand the decision.
Also context is very important for example, as a bisexual male, I am comfortable with my mates making the occasional gay joke/reference however the same words or terms coming out of the mouths of people I don't know is a different situation because I know that if I ask my mates aren't saying it to cause offense (least I hope not) but the strangers might.
Almost all of us will use language at some point that others will not find acceptable or change that language based on who we are talking to. Would you talk to your parents the same way you talk to your mates? swear as much? I think most of us wouldn't and thats the same sitution here. The hosts are just acknowledging that.

Prederick wrote:
Certis wrote:

What are you actually afraid you'll lose in this equation?

Yeah basically. What the hell is anyone losing by the guys who run the podcast making a personal decision about how they use language?

On the one hand I agree - the decision to be more careful with verbiage on the podcast has zero impact on me, and if it helps them or someone else feel better, great. My only... concern, I guess, is that this becomes a hard edict on the forums. One of the things I like about this place is that it has a really casual atmosphere without needing to rely on heavy-handed moderation or sliding into the internet hate pit. People seem to genuinely appreciate a passionately argued point, even if they don't agree, and moderation is more a gentle pruning of the discussion than a buzzsaw. That's a pretty neat thing. I've seen the desire to make the environment a more welcoming or fair environment lead to some draconian measures on other boards, none of which really worked out - creating lists of "off limits" phrases or words (when those words are more or less in common use), people actively looking to report even borderline cases, etc. Of course, Certis is welcome to put any restrictions on the forums he likes, but I've always seen it basically stifle real discussion and have a net negative impact on various communities.

As Certis said, repeatedly now, this is about changing OUR behavior, not mandating anyone else's.

That's what I assumed. I haven't heard word one from Certis and Co. that this decision applies to anything other than themselves and the podcast itself.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Prederick wrote:
Certis wrote:

What are you actually afraid you'll lose in this equation?

Yeah basically. What the hell is anyone losing by the guys who run the podcast making a personal decision about how they use language?

On the one hand I agree - the decision to be more careful with verbiage on the podcast has zero impact on me, and if it helps them or someone else feel better, great. My only... concern, I guess, is that this becomes a hard edict on the forums. One of the things I like about this place is that it has a really casual atmosphere without needing to rely on heavy-handed moderation or sliding into the internet hate pit. People seem to genuinely appreciate a passionately argued point, even if they don't agree, and moderation is more a gentle pruning of the discussion than a buzzsaw. That's a pretty neat thing. I've seen the desire to make the environment a more welcoming or fair environment lead to some draconian measures on other boards, none of which really worked out - creating lists of "off limits" phrases or words (when those words are more or less in common use), people actively looking to report even borderline cases, etc. Of course, Certis is welcome to put any restrictions on the forums he likes, but I've always seen it basically stifle real discussion and have a net negative impact on various communities.

I don't really foresee that being a problem here, because if someone can't argue their point without resorting to derogatory insults, they're not likely to last long anyway. We already have a filter for specific words though. Quote my post to see what gets turned into "Certis is awesome." "f*ck" is another one, but that doesn't change the word, just semi-censors it.

JDZappa wrote:

In terms of online comments and self esteem, I often have a lot easier time laughing off real life insults than some of the nasty comments I get on the Interwebz.

It's the opposite for me. Just the way I'm wired, I have an overactive sense of fairness. I take insults very seriously, unless it's absolutely clear that they are in passing, because I don't have this nice filter that says "Hey, that guy's not serious, he's drunk/showing off/venting and won't *really* swing on me". It's either a threat, or not a threat. There's no in-between of "messing around", except with close friends who I know very well. This has played out on the forums here, too, in various ways, but most people are good about patching things up.

For me, I've been on the Internet since 1981, pretty much continuously, and there's no difference between conversations there and in real life. Eventually, you'll run into people you only know "on the Net", and so it's best to keep things calm and only escalate by following someone's own approach. The idea that there is some huge difference between RL and the Internet in terms of interactions is silly; no one thinks that phone conversations should use "Internet rules", but it's functionally the same thing (a remote, faceless exchange of ideas). I think that people are still just getting used to it; most people have not been online for more than a decade or so, and probably in very limited and similar forums. They haven't really had the experience of developing serious friendships online, so they still think there's something magic about it.

The thing is, JD, how do you know which kind of person you're addressing? Better to act as if they are all short-fuse types until you know better, since eventually you may be face to face with someone who *can't* shake that stuff off... Prepare for the worst, be happily surprised when that does not happen.

We've been doing our best for at least four years to avoid Front Page language that demeans marginalized and excluded people. We actively train our writers to be aware that they often write from places of privilege. Nobody seems to have minded, and I can't think of one article that has suffered for it.

A couple decades ago, my friends and I used to think it was HILARIOUS to make jokes about behavior attributed to the stereotypical jew. We called being cheap or stingy "jewwy" and thought up increasingly complex adjectives to replace the short-form. We all knew we had no real convictions in that direction, and we all thought that the oxymoronic duality of our innocent natures with the harsh words was damn clever. We didn't even really know anyone who could possibly believe what we were saying had any conviction... so how could it REALLY be hurtful?

We were f*cking idiots. We were preening jackasses trying to be edgy. We were taking what we thought was a "safe" target and using it as an effigy. I mean, our vision didn't see anyone who might actually have issues with the jews, but we were too goddamn ignorant to see that our vision was limited. I'm ashamed of myself, and I damn well should be.

Just because you don't see the problem does not imply it isn't there. The scope of our own vision is extremely limited, and our ability to understand the nature of others is entirely dependent on our upbringing and our exposure. Lacking input from those unlike us, it is no surprise we would think our "innocent" behavior was harmless and beyond reproach. But those acting with ignorant abandon are notorious for the damage they cause, and failing to admit the damage is the coward's way to absolve oneself of harm. Being offensive to those who are marginalized is not noble. And if one pays attention, the "nobility of offensiveness" is almost entirely promoted by privileged people, and their goal is to retain their privilege of unchallenged behaviors.

Taking responsibility for the impact of your words is the hallmark of intelligent introspection. The notion that it is "giving in" or "quitting" is synthetic martyrdom. The slippery slope insisting that denying prejudiced language means no one can ever say what they truly believe is imaginary and illogical. I salute the GWJ crew for taking up this issue. I salute the growing awareness of sexism in our communities. I urge everyone to quit being preening jackasses and start listening. I can do it... you can, too.

I have been wondering for awhile. What actually separates "political correctness" from just being polite?

Case in point we went to a friend couple's place to watch the director's cut of Looper. Their jack off room mate comes in part way. He mentions that Piper Parabou picked a good time to do a nude scene because in 4 years no one will want to see her goods anymore. This was the funniest thing he has ever said, and I believe it. Yet I did not laugh. I mostly said to myself, "please say the wrong thing to my wife, you need to eat through a straw to learn a lesson."

KingGorilla wrote:

I have been wondering for awhile. What actually separates "political correctness" from just being polite?

Case in point we went to a friend couple's place to watch the director's cut of Looper. Their jack off room mate comes in part way. He mentions that Piper Parabou picked a good time to do a nude scene because in 4 years no one will want to see her goods anymore. This was the funniest thing he has ever said, and I believe it. Yet I did not laugh. I mostly said to myself, "please say the wrong thing to my wife, you need to eat through a straw to learn a lesson."

Generally, I've found that people sneering while saying "political correctness" just mean "politeness that gets in the way of how I want to act" but they'd rather pretend it's someone else's shortcoming rather than their own.

Well they are also the same sorts who cannot get their mind around the difference between Archie Bunker and the KKK.

This sort of ties in. While I believe that everyone should strive to be polite and all, one thing that can go away for me is the idea of being offended for me. I'm of Japanese background and I've heard things sometimes where someone else not even involved will get in arms as defensive for me. Drives me crazy. I am honestly offended by very little and if I say I don't care, I honestly do not care. If you want to go off on the person that said something, go ahead but leave me out of it.

The consideration and thoughtfulness people have given what was, essentially, a trolling only highlights what a fantastic community this is. That comes, in part, from the fact that the guys on the podcast lead by example.

Amoebic wrote:

Well, I'm glad he clarified that cussin's not going away forever, because I would miss the occasional appearance of Jeff Green's saltiness.

There are people out there like myself who may find constant swearing offensive. Why not appeal to them as well?

The Conformist wrote:
Amoebic wrote:

Well, I'm glad he clarified that cussin's not going away forever, because I would miss the occasional appearance of Jeff Green's saltiness.

There are people out there like myself who may find constant swearing offensive. Why not appeal to them as well?

I believe they've already stated it's not about being inoffensive, but about not using language that has implications they don't agree with.

Okay the word filter is seriously great.

Wembley wrote:
The Conformist wrote:
Amoebic wrote:

Well, I'm glad he clarified that cussin's not going away forever, because I would miss the occasional appearance of Jeff Green's saltiness.

There are people out there like myself who may find constant swearing offensive. Why not appeal to them as well?

I believe they've already stated it's not about being inoffensive, but about not using language that has implications they don't agree with.

To be fair, I don't think there is much swearing on the podcast. Although I may just be hardened to it :).

There's usually only a lot of swearing when Ken Levin and Jeff Green are on.