Tuesday, 8 November 2011

That's Just Stupid!

When was the last time you used that phrase? Not within the privacy of your humble abode.  I mean out in the open - at work; at the supermarket - in public.  Now, when was the last time you really wanted to use that phrase?  Last week?  Yesterday?  Five minutes ago?

And, while you think about that, think about this.   I'm in no way talking about name-calling. The "that" would be in reference to an act committed; a behaviour; a conclusion illogically drawn and the like. So, the thing - not the person.  Now, back to the second question.  When was the last time you really wanted to use that phrase?  Whatever your answer, my follow-up question would be: "Well, why didn't you?"  And, I'm guessing, your response would be stteo: "Are you crazy?  That'd be so politically incorrect!" 

You'd have been right, of course.  After all, in today's society, we don't say things like that. Out loud.  We either use our inside voice or none at all.  Then, we go home and vent on our spouses or siblings or BFFs!  In other words, we don't always say exactly what we want to say, as we try to be politically correct.

We don't want to offend or be seen as offensive.  We want to speak and, in our speech, be mindful of and sensitive to the needs of everyone and their race, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender and so on.  But, as sure as I am that this horse has been beaten several times, the last you read of it was, actually, not the last you read of it.  For, as we indulge in, or are consumed by, new societal trends (especially those of the technological kind), we inadvertently form new etiquette to govern the new (kinds of) interactions.  For example, no one has to tell anyone these days that the use of upper case means YOU'RE SHOUTING! (Especially when followed by an exclamation sign.)  Unless, of course, you do mean to shout.  But, what stood out for me, as I gave some (more) thought to the idea of anonymity in online interactions, was the probability that some people might just be using that as an outlet.

As I tweeted to my sis @MizDurie, the other day, I think the degree to which some people exercise political correctness is proportional to the level of frankness or harshness as (anonymous ) posters.  Imagine being cooped up in a "prison of political correctness" all day.  At the end of the day, you simply get behind the wall of anonymity and there, in your familiar place of freedom, you can happily call a spade a spade.  You can bask in the ability to describe its colour and its shape; the thickness of its handle and the sharpness of its blade.  But, this doesn't mean that you need to be harsh and caustic and vitriolic and mean, though.  I mean, I do see where it would be quite a relief for you to get your point across, vent what's on your mind, without risking career suicide or having to backtrack on something you said.  Ever heard the term, "I misspoke"?  That's one of my favs to be chuckled at.  Or another, "I misquoted...myself."

George Carlin had a line in one of his comedy routines as he spoke about politicians trying to back track on offensive speech or downplay indiscretions.  It was a kind of template go to line:  "I"m just trying to put this thing behind me and get on with my life!"  Carlin remarked that he "would just like to put this "I would just like to put this thing behind me and get on with my life" thing behind me and get on with my life!"

I'm thinking it'd be quite a while before we venture on that road; before we go out to our media interviews and...speak frankly.  Just the thought alone is refreshing!  We'd certainly know exactly where each speaker stood on a particular matter.  Couldn't we re-learn how to favour honesty and frankness over hypocrisy and PC-driven drivel?

Because the truth, as always, does come out anyway.



  1. Good post! At this rate we will soon find that we can no longer understand ourselves when we speak. So we may discover that it is offensive to call that positively useful iron-blade garden instrument a spade (and don't you dare call it a shovel!) :)

  2. Ah, the fine art of direct communication - or not...

    Nowadays, people are afraid of getting one between the eyes if they "shout out" what they really think! I'm afraid I'd tend to say something harsher than "Now, that's just stupid!" It would start off with... !

    Good post Claudia!

  3. Yeah, Durie. Kinda like, not sure what the words coming out of my mouth are but they sure don't mean what I'm really thinking! :)

    Thanks for reading!

  4. Paul, seems like that's it right there! The aim to perfect indirect communication. And, while we mind everything else, never mind the oxymoron.

    Btw, would love to hear your starting sentences :)

    Thanks for reading.