Tuesday, 7 September 2010

On Censorship and Political Correctness



Censorship and Political Correctness are invading all our lives.

They're everywhere and have now gone so far beyond the realms of sanity that they have ceased to be useful and have actually started to offend a lot of people. Ironic, eh?

It has got to the point now where they force kids in school to sing "Bar, Bar, Green Sheep," you can't use the term Brainstorm, you cant say Bedlam, manila or bulldozer; You have to consider every word you say in case it offends somebody.

This would actually help them blend in a lot better.
Well, I say fuck that. I subscribe to the view of "They're just words; grow the fuck up."

Take Swear Words as an example.
The only reason swear words offend people is because they're taboo. Most adults these days will gladly swear and probably have been doing since they were kids, yet they try to shield their children from swearing. It's hypocritical and backwards.

I tend not to censor myself. I don't see why I should. As a lover of the English Language, I feel all words were created equal (with the exception of words made out of truncated names, such as Brangelina) and that they are not innately offensive.
I believe the offence is created by context, not the individual words themselves. Any word can be offensive if used in an offensive manner. For instance, Sheep is not an offensive word (again with the sheep?) but if you call someone a sheep, they may well be offended because you are implying they have no real individuality, and simply follow others in order to 'fit in'.

"I am beautiful and unique."
One of the main reasons censorship is generally absurd is that the ones we're trying to protect from these evil words wouldn't know the meaning of a swear word if it dressed as a dragon and raped their nostrils. Plus, swear words don't tend to be very prevalent in shows meant for Children. I don't know about you but I don't remember the episode of Sesame Street where the theme was F for Fuck.
No, it's usually shows aimed squarely at adults but aired during the day that get poked with the censor stick. Take House, for instance. I fucking love House (and no I don't care that every episode is basically the same). House is a pretty adult show, aimed at adults. If you're the sort of person who believes in censorship, it is probably not the kind of thing you would let your kids watch. Yet they censor words like 'Ass' or 'Bastard' for the day-time repeats. Not only that, but the censorship quite often seems to be continued well after the watershed which I think is plain out of order. As a fucking adult, watching a show aimed at fucking adults, after 9pm, I do not expect the word Fuck to be censored.

"I hate it when they cut the swearing... Ruins the realism."
My personal opinion is that the offensiveness of swearing could be eradicated in one generation, by just treating the word Fuck, and words like it, in the same way as any other word. Rather than finding the word fuck offensive by default, note the context used before becoming offended.
The phrase, "Fuck! I banged my toe" is not offensive. However, the phrase, "Fuck! I banged your Mum" is. The word Fuck has not moved, nor has it's meaning changed. It is still an exclamation. In this case, it's the noun that changes. The new noun, in itself, is still not offensive, but when coupled with the preceding Verb... Well, you get the idea. Take away the taboo and you quickly learn that one word is no more or less offensive than any other word, if used in a non offensive context.
You can be just as offensive without using any swear words, at all, e.g. "Your Mum loves it when I do her in my Sheep costume."

Loves it!
I know this seems to be more about censorship than Political Correctness but the two things are often mutually inclusive. A lot of censorship happens for Political and Religious reasons and nearly all political correctness requires some form of censorship. It's utter crap and needs to stop. The world in general could greatly benefit from everyone being less sensitive.

This is not to say I support racism or anything like that, but I do feel that people look for Racism in places where it simply doesn't exist and thus make ridiculous decisions that are racist, in and of themselves.  One of the most recent ones I heard was 'Coffee Without Milk' instead of Black Coffee. Look, I know some people in the world have skin that is a different colour to mine, and that's cool. I know the evolutionary prerogative behind skin pigment and see it as no more than that. By making people say things like 'Coffee Without Milk' you are not being racially sensitive. You are emphasising that skin colour is a big deal to you. And we teach this to our children!!
Earlier I used the example of Bar, Bar Green Sheep. A lot of overly PC authorities make kids sing it that way so they don't offend any black children in the class. At least, that's what the (probably racist) authorities think they're doing. What they are actually doing is drawing attention to the fact they have changed a word and therefore making that word all the more obvious, not to mention woefully mis-educating children on the subject of sheep.
Nearly all censorship basically does the same thing. Rather than masking the word, it emphasises it. For instance, I am far more likely to notice a swear word if it's blanked, bleeped or whatever.
'F**k' will always capture my eye faster than fuck and, whereas I wouldn't usually notice the word 'ass' in a spoken sentence any more than the other words, if that one word is blanked or beeped it grabs my attention.

Turns out you can make a lot of analogies with sheep...
Censorship and Political Correctness do nothing more than highlight whatever they are trying to mask.
In the case of Censorship, this makes words more taboo which only encourages their use.
In the case of Political Correctness, it only serves to draws attention to whatever you are trying to be 'sensitive' about.
If we all just use a modicum of tact and a small helping of common sense, maybe we can act like adults and just get on with our fucking lives.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Bro, particularly on the racicm thing, I was once accused of being racist at work because I sensed someone standing behind me and I said, "who's that dark shadow lurking behind me?" It turned out to be a colleague who happened to be black. WTF?! It's a fucking adjective!! Don't impose your narrow mind on me or anyone say I : )

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