This essay offers a shamefully neglected explanation of the term “politically correct” — namely, that it has been fundamentally redefined.
The New Left rejections of the joyless, stiff Commie orthodoxies about art — esp. that popular art was bad because its pleasures distracted the masses from suffering enough to start the revolution — were a welcome joy. (Just revisit The Nation‘s snorting 1963 dismissal of Beatlemania for proof what needed to change.) Also deplorable: rigid, illogical tenants such as insisting the objects of racism and sexism could not be racist and sexist themselves. Their bigoted outlooks and remarks were simply defined out of the way.
Robert Kuttner nails it when he explains that the Vulgar Talking Yam’s use of “politically incorrect” is merely another up-is-down argument: “He may sound like gutter politics, but he’s actually a courageous truth-teller.” He goes on to make strong economic and social points.
I think there’s also another simple, useful response. The coded hatred in such remarks is not wrong because it’s politically incorrect. It’s wrong because it’s immoral. So the next time the Yam brags “I’m not politically correct,” be sure to respond, out loud if possible, “You mean, ‘I’m not moral.'”
(Ah, the good old days …)