Friday, October 15, 2010

An Offensive Truth?

I just don't get this. At 1:50 Bill O'Reilly makes a statement that all the world (minus the Truthers, who don't really count) knows is simply, literally true ... and Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stalk out of the set in a snit! (Gee, Jimmy Kimmel cracked, you'd think that people with names like "Joy" and "Whoopie!" would be more cheerful.)

I don't care for the way O'Reilly consistently exaggerates the importance of symbolic, "values" issues like "the ground zero mosque," but on the other hand anger at the truth just makes no sense to me. Unless the particular truth involved is an invasion of privacy or some kind of proprietary secret, true statements should not make you mad.

What we have here is of course an example of what people call Political Correctness, which I would define as "selective linguistic sensitivity." The idea is that it is always wrong to say anything that "demeans" or "degrades" members of a list of oppressed groups. Against this doctrine consistently applied, truth is no defense. If a truth demeans a protected group, that truth is Verboten.

My own standard -- and I know it can be very difficult and painful to apply -- is that if you find the truth demeaning, you should try to come to grips with it, not forbid others to ever mention it.

Make your peace with the truth. It's going to win anyway.
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