Donnerstag, April 13, 2006

Politically Incorrect - an excuse for everything

Some bloggers, especially from the very right wing, call themselves "politically incorrect" or claim to be so: e.g. politically incorrect (as the name says), Davids Medienkritik, Gegenstimme, just to mention some blogs by Germans. I didn't link them, because I don't want to give them a higher rating or something.
What Amanda Marcotte writes in Pandagon has my full ack:

Every time I hear someone use the phrase "politically incorrect", I remember a time when I was in college and I found myself having coffee with this guy who was on a rant. I don't remember how I got into this situation, but I remember the rant very well.

"Okay, well, some people say that I'm an asshole, and you know what, they're probably right. I am an asshole. But that's just who I am, you know what I'm saying?"

And the mind boggled. Apparently this guy was a firm believer in the concept of some sort of Asshole Rights, a special right granted only to self-declared assholes to be rude as they want to be and never get criticized for it. Which meant that in order to get a free pass to be rude whenever you want to be, all you had to do was declare yourself an asshole and everyone else had to tiptoe around you forevermore.

"Politcally incorrect" functions in exactly this way. It's never actually been used as an insult, contrary to conservative myth. Instead, it's always used in praise of the person it's applied to. It's a totemic phrase and is invoked with the hopes that it gives the person who uses it magical protection against being criticized. The charm invoked is something like, "By using the phrase 'politically incorrect', I hereby have the power to say racist, sexist, or stupid things and if you try to examine my argument for things like logic or even common human decency, my Politically Incorrect Anti-Criticism Shield will make that criticism of me ricochet back and land on you, making you Politically Correct, which is the rhetorical equivalent of leperosy."

The phrase "politically incorrect" is used as an anti-criticism shield so consistently that the mere use of it can be taken to mean that the person who wields it knows that his/her argument is so bad that the merest whiff of criticism will make it crumple into a soggy mess. In other words, when you hear someone start off an argument with, "It may be politically incorrect to say so," what they mean to say is, "I'm fixing to make a point that's completely indefensible but I'm going to say it anyway because I've got special Asshole Rights."

And isn't that exactly, what those rightwingers do? By claiming, that they are "politically incorrect", those bloggers use lots of hate speech, especially against moslems and left politicians. They don't accept any criticism ("Oh, you're just the mainstream, but we are politically incorrect, so we are the true heroes") - and if you offer them any evidence (which doesn't work for them), then it's just the bad, bad, biased mainstream media (or MSM, as they like to call it).

Asshole Rights? How ambiguous...

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