Political Correctness Gone Mad

Category: Weekly Columns

I really hate political correctness. Why? Because, it usually is wrong, it usually infantilizes those who it’s intended to protect, and it usually is NOT the truth. Society and our work places are forcing us to be Politically Correct. This is NOT a good thing!

Recently, I got a reminder of the absurdity that has become a norm in some circles where political correctness has governed human interactions. It is a perfect example of where “we” have gone wrong. And, I learned yet again that interactions in our politically correct world affect all of us, whether we want to participate in that view of the world or not.

Of course, the whole political correctness movement, if that is the right word to use, began to one degree or another with the Anita Hill controversy. Shortly after that absurd political showboating, the definition of sexual harassment began to change. Where it was once defined as when a man demanded sexual favors in exchange for job enhancement, it evolved to mean any sexual incident that a woman regretted afterward, whether it was consensual or not.

The results were pernicious as seminars at work on “proper behavior” became ubiquitous. How men and women interacted with each other was scrutinized to the point of inhibiting much camaraderie.

False accusations and threats of them became weapons for unfair advantage or revenge. We all remember the atrocity of the Lacrosse Team incident at a prominent college. That epitomized the level of politically correct craziness when the D.A. in that community treated the accused students as if they were guilty mass-murderers, choosing to ignore repeated revelations that cast doubt on the accusations from the start.

I hate political correctness because it has the exact opposite effect intended. Women are now taught to accuse and get help where once they would be taught to stand up for themselves and fight back. Of course, there are times when the incident is egregious enough that intervention is necessary and seeking help is completely appropriate.

But, I would suggest that too often girls and young women are learning not how to be strong and stand up for themselves, but to ask men to do it for them. I believe that is the exact opposite effect we as a society want to see.

There’s an irony in this whole subject that happened to me in my showbiz past, long before the Anita Hill incident changed our view of gender relationships in the work place.

Twice I suffered genuine sexual harassment at the hands of women in positions of power. And, twice my male bosses thought it was simply funny. It was not funny to me. I was a young executive/producer and I was scared.

In one case, a high-level studio executive at the studio invited me to lunch. The lunch was followed by an invitation for “drinks,” and then followed by an invitation to come to her house for dinner. I naively thought she “liked me for my mind.” That naïveté was quickly disavowed after dinner, when she jumped me. Barely escaping, that ended any professional relationship I would have with this executive.

The second incident was less aggressive but had more impact on my career. This was back in the day when business was often conducted over breakfast, lunch, or dinners. Our company had a particularly strong relationship at one the only three broadcast networks then in existence – this, long before cable, VCRs, let alone DVRs, the Internet, or YouTube.

I had developed a friendship, or so I thought, with the female executive at this network who was assigned to our company. Developing that relationship was my job and how things got done in showbiz. She was single, I was single, and we hung out together often as friends do. I did business with her as business associates do.

One evening, after yet another casual evening together, I walked her to her door, as I did and still do with any/every woman I may be with, including opening and closing doors, as I still do for my wife. At her doorstep, as I’m saying goodnight, she reaches in for a kiss – on the lips. I react surprised and back away. She seems puzzled and says something like, “I thought that was the direction we were going.” I politely replied to the contrary.

I never got a returned phone call from her again and I was effectively blackballed at that network until she left for another job.

Fast-forward to a recent interaction where I was equally stunned, but now it’s in a world that is insanely politically correct. I had been contacted several times by a prominent news organization to appear on various Internet “shows” they produced. Each of the five or six times I was asked to be a guest (non-paid, of course), a different “producer” contacted me and most were female.

During the last “contact,” all done by email or phone, I actually had an in-depth conversation with said producer. We talked; we exchanged ideas. We did it once via Skype. The show I was scheduled for was cancelled at the very last minute, for which she apologized profusely.

I expressed understanding, having come from the broadcast industry. “These things happen,” I said. We had a couple more exchanges to reschedule my appearance. To me, they were all engaging, light-hearted, and normal.

Given I’d had more contact with this producer than any other from this organization and that she was headquartered in my city, I sent her an email simply suggesting we have lunch to discuss future ideas we might do. I even added, “This is a business invitation ONLY,” on the unlikelihood, or so I thought, that she might think otherwise.

I received an email from a male colleague of hers asking me not to send this producer any further emails and, if I had something to suggest or ask of this company, I should direct it to him.

Excuse me?

Is this really what our relationships in the work place have come to? A male colleague of mine suggested that this form of IRL (in real life) networking was probably just not in this young woman’s vocabulary and she just immediately assumed there were ulterior motives, in spite of my specific disclaimer otherwise.

The whole episode left me sad. If this is progress for women, I don’t get it. She couldn’t call or email me herself and clarify my intentions or simply politely decline my invitation? She was so weak that she required a man to do it for her?

Needless to say, after having appeared nearly weekly on this company’s shows, I haven’t heard from them since.

I hate political correctness and, indeed, believe it’s gone mad and is destructive to all of us!

NOTE: See me elucidate on PC Lies in this I’m NOT That Dad vlog!

  • Mila Araujo

    Bruce, this was one heavy blog post. Controversial as always I see 🙂 Let me start by saying that i know Bruce IRL and he is one of the kindest “gentlemen” you could meet. So, this being said, when I started to read your post, your emphasis on women was a little off putting. I was a little concerned with where it was all going (hahahha ironic given the topic- or perhaps brilliantly written?) I think that the issue is two sided – the rules and pc nature I “sexual harassment” concepts are there to protect both men and women. The problem is, not everyone has the experience to know how to deal with these issues – so on this level I think that sexual harassment awareness is helpful to many. I think that with anything there will always be those who will use their power and influence to get what they want – they will always take advantage – its really unfortunate that this is where things have to be, but I would not want to see my daughter in a world that didn’t offer some kind of support if it was needed. Yes there are those who push it to their advantage and use it to manipulate – but if we just trust in our true reputation and character – false claims should be quite easy to deal with . I believe it is a fact that people who are guilty of these things have a trail of these situations. The accusations are not taken lightly.
    I am really sorry to have read about your own situations, in particular the most recent. It is insulting in a way to realize people are more interested in sex than talent, but on the other hand, very good to find out before you are too deep in the business – after all who wants to do business with people who do business like that! It doesn’t feel good, but in the end it is a good thing that business relationship ended – no one needs to deal with that!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Mila, we are truly on the same page. I want ALL women to be protected from ANY predators but I also want men and women to learn to take care of themselves – that is what I’m teaching my boys and I’d teach the same if I’d been blessed with daughters! I wouldn’t want them to just run to a man whenever there was a “slight” and I mean slight “slight!”

    • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

      Women historically have been treated very badly by men. And as people now clamour for rights they have been denied, there is a tendency to see that now women can hate and resent men, in a form of revenge. It’s understandable, but two wrongs don’t make a right, in the end. What is wrong with women being feminine and men being masculine, both in a positive sense?

      Many decent men like myself fear even approaching women to ask them out, get to know them and etc these days. the sad reality of this is millions of decent and eligible men and women single who would love to be in a relationship but fearful of all the enmity around the whole dating thing. And, all the legislation in the world won’t stop lechers and sex pests etc. People who tend to pester others in that way are not usually concerned with PC and feminism! All it has succeeded in doing is further ghettoising people and creating more lonely and more angry people.

  • David Weber

    Good observations.  Did you know that the origins of the phrase “politically correct” were in the Soviet world?  It is the English-language translation of a term that was used when someone expressed an idea, created some art or took an action that was not in alignment with Party policy…that person was said to be “politically incorrect”; and if, after some treatment or other (warning, jail, beating, whatever), the person was toeing the line, he or she was said to be “politically correct.” 

    I remember reading that information a couple of decades ago in Time or Newsweek when the phrase was first emerging in the U.S. and was the topic of what I seem to recall was a cover story.  Originally, that is, back in the days of that cover story (in the late-80s or early-90s), I was essentially sympathetic to the idea that it is necessary to change language in order to change thought, since the two are inextricably intertwined.  But that was back in the days when “p.c.”  had mostly to do with promoting alternative vocabulary — instead of chairman, chairperson or simply chair; instead of fireman, firefighter, that sort of thing — and not too much else.  There were also changes in vocab. regarding ethnicity, race, disabilities and so on.

    The purpose of that kind of change — which at the time sometimes seemed comical, producing inelegant terminology (“waitstaff”  or “waitperson” is cumbersome compared to “waiter” and “waitress,” although why “waiter” has not become a word for both sexes to use, the way that “actor” has, I don’t know — seemed to be to expose and renounce exclusion and unnecessary distinctions by calling attention to how standard terminology reinforced such conditions.

    My only constructive comment is that issues concerning sexual harrassment and political correctness (I don’t think of it as a movement but an orientation or consciousness, and I guess it could be thought of as a campaign or project, too) are not necessarily identical.  It is true that their emergence as social concerns are more or less parallel.  What’s underlying both is, as Bruce suggested, a certain interest in enabling transactions in this society to occur free from bias of one kind or other.  Set aside whether or not such a thing is or is not actually possible; the idea is that we  push toward as much inclusivity as we can in the inner workings of relationships and systems.

    It seems to me that Bruce’s recent experience shows the producer to be moving us away from  that direction.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I find it wonderfully ironic that the origin of the term politically correct came from a totalitarian society! THAT is exactly what those on the PC extreme want here – to control our speech, our thoughts, our actions. Whatever happened to a jerk being called out as a JERK – male or female? Whatever happened to a slap in the face – if/when deserved – vs. going to Big Brother for help and rescuing? If I had daughters, I’d teach them EXACTLY how to kick a guy in the balls if he EVER over-stepped his bounds! Isn’t that better for her than having “him” rescue her?

    • Wallace1770Mary

      David, “politically correct,” a term that arose from the Soviet Union, was used when an artist was not in alignment with thought. Stalin was wonderful at applying the pressure, witness the treatment of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, both of whom I am very familiar with; they were placed under house arrest and sequestered for many years, essentially for “political incorrectness” in their music. How one achieves this in music, I do not know. I understand being sympathetic to wanting to change the behavior and the use of language to do so. The problem always seems to be in the transition from the theoretical to the practical as you so rightly pointed out.

      I do so love your wonderment of the usage of actor and waitress and waiter. I am curious myself. Could it be, that actors themselves have rightly insisted on the appellation as an honor for all? I am not denigrating waitresses and waiters. After all, we are not writers and writresses. My mother, God rest her soul, was an amateur Theater person. She was in a Melodrama group for many years. Once, back in 1972, I called her an “actress.” She drew herself up, and looked down at me from her great height of  5′ 1″ and said “I am (dramatic pause was hers)…. an Actor!” She left no doubt there was a capital “A” in that sentence. 

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        For me, mean-spirited rap music is UGLY – but I’d never want it censored! As for Stalin, he killed more people than any other despot with the possible exception of Mao…

        I would have LIKED your mom at ton, Mary!

  • http://twitter.com/ArleeBird Arlee Bird

    So much truth here.  These days it’s hard to go without offending someone along the way.  I’m sure there’s someone out there who could be offended by what I just said.  It’s a world gone crazy–er, nuts,–oh, never mind. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Arlee – WE don’t have to succumb to these B.S. pressures! I’d still rather speak the TRUTH, regardless of who is may offend!

    • Wallace1770Mary

      What’s sad, Arlee. I’ve just gotten to the point where I’ve said, “nuts,” only not that word exactly, but you get my drift. I’ve lost friends on FB because of the ideas I’ve expressed, but not for my language. So, I think the Politically Correct crowd are confused. They somehow think that if you sanitize language, the idea itself is sanitized which is wrong-headed. This has always been the case when people or governments want to control others. Think Orwell, and “1984.”

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        I used to bemoan losing “those” friends, Wallace – now, I’m grateful that they show their true colors!

  • Wallace1770Mary

    Bruce, as usual, a very well written, superbly reasoned post. I want to address something that I feel and as a 56 yo female who was about 15 at the dawn of women’s lib and who remembers the dawn of the PC which had it’s beginnings at the University of Michigan around 1981 or 82, I think you really hit on what has become the problem.

    The confusion the younger generation (did I just really, really say that?) experience. I was telling JC that I had to report a new FB contact the other day. The reason? Sexual harassment. I’ve been all over the world, played in symphonies, played back up viola/violin with everyone from Bobby Vinton to Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, Steve and Edie, Tampa Opera, traveled by myself and toured for months at a time. There are always, always clear rules about behavior and what’s acceptable. I’ve never had a problem, while on the road. The same obtained when I worked in IT, but I’m from a different era and always felt the whole PC thing was blather. Say it like it is. We protect no one, when we couch terms and phrases like that. No less a grammarian than George Carlin spoke of this, and as we both had Jesuit priests for teachers and logicians, we learned a little bit. 

    Anyway, I think younger people aren’t clear as to what’s appropriate and what’s not. They haven’t been brought up to understand this, so the young woman in your case doesn’t understand that you’re really trying to help her and you’re not a “masher,” any more than the young “masher” didn’t understand my “just friends,” and I had to cut him off at the knees. This makes it a bit more dangerous in the real world for women. This is the true cost of the PC world and I see these consequences that were never thought about when social engineers, or linguists first decided this was all a good idea in the first place. My feelings are that we have served no one and that language shouldn’t be glossed over. We grow up and we shouldn’t be shielded from the world. Chaos and confusion are bad. Thanks, Bruce. Mary.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Mary, you had me at “as usual, a very well written, superbly reasoned post.” TYVM. How YOU handled your situation is how I wish “the younger generation” were prepared to handle situations in their lives! THAT is what makes me so upset with how things have gone and continue to go. You had the strength to STAND UP and handle the situation yourself, instead of running to Daddy as that producer did when, in fact, there was NOTHING going on at all in the first place!

  • Pingback: Political Correctness Gone Mad at #DadChat | #Dadchat | A Dad's Point Of View | www.BruceSallan.com()

  • http://www.daddymojo.net/ Trey Burley

    The really sad part about PC thought is that in their good intentions of including everyone, they’re excluding, offending or favoring LOTs of people.  People laugh at what they don’t understand or are scared of.  

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I so agree that these “best intentions” have totally backfired and is often the case on many social policies, like welfare where abuse is so rampant and people so dependent vs learning to be independent. Teach someone to fish rather than give them a fish!

    • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

      They don’t just laugh at people they are scared of! Sometimes it goes way beyond the humorous, sadly.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisRoutly Chris Routly

    Bruce, I think you make some good points and your own experiences are certainly understandably frustrating. No doubt there are many good men like you out there who have been wronged because of that sort of thing. But just to offer a little bit of food for thought, I think we need to be careful about ascribing “political correctness” too widely as a bad thing.

    Sometimes — often, in fact — what gets called “political correctness” is simply the request that language be used that doesn’t hurt people. As a friend of mine put it recently: “I’m finding more often than not when folks say ‘I hate political correctness’ they mean ‘I don’t feel like being kind, considerate or polite and there’s a conspiracy out there trying to make me.’”We are asked to avoid the term “retarded” because it actually hurts people; to avoid the term “handicapped” because it marginalizes people; to use gender neutral job titles (e.g. flight attendant rather than stewardess) because it helps encourage gender equality in our communities. Similarly, we at-home dads rail against the term “Mr. Mom” because it emasculates and suggests that a dad caring for his own children is being like a woman.Is all of that “political correctness gone mad”? Or is it only “gone mad” when it’s something that inconveniences us or on a subject where we don’t know enough to see the harm?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Like everything in life Chris, it’s about balance…and I believe we’ve become horribly unbalanced in this arena of our society!

      • http://twitter.com/ChrisRoutly Chris Routly

        I agree, it’s about balance. But what you or I see as the balancing points, where some piece of PC wisdom takes it from good to horrible, is not where others see it, and that’s the tricky part. We all have different experiences that change our own paradigm for how we view the world and how we react to it. Perhaps in a discussion on being PC — where the very idea that “all opinions are equally valid” is seen as part of the problem — that might too easily be forgotten.

        In the end, I guess I’m trying to make an effort to recognize that just because something doesn’t offend me, or hurt me, or has any impact on my life, that doesn’t mean concerns about it are an overreaction. And even if it IS an overreaction? I’d rather have been kind than have been “right.”

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          For me, there are absolutes…there IS good AND evil…it’s not a matter of opinion! We’re going to be discussing this very issue at #DadChat on Thursday – I hope you’ll join us, Chris!

  • http://reallycooldad.com/ Stephen

    This is an interesting conversation, Bruce. Smart comments, so far. I am concerned, though, about the difference between the modern understanding of “political correctness” and the issues of “sexual harassment” as you describe them.

    Politically correct comments—a notion that is often abused—are important cultural phrases to improve awareness and understanding of issues between genders, religions, social , racial, …(well, the list is long) differences. Society grows, and we need break down language that is used to control or otherwise demean others, intentionally or not. Words have power and meaning—if we abuse that power or disregard the meaning, we need to be called on it. Or at least discuss it responsibly.

    Of course, phrases like “holiday tree” are ridiculous, because it takes away important meaning rather than increasing our understanding.

    Sexual harassment ranges from an uncomfortable misunderstanding that gets out of hand to outright abuse of power or authority. I don’t believe any politically correct efforts would have changed the way your situations played out. And if I could be so bold, your comment in the email would be creepy to someone who doesn’t understand the context that made you send it in the first place. Reasonable people could laugh it off, but many wouldn’t even take the chance to find out for sure.

    (The historic context for political correctness is interesting, but shouldn’t be used as the reason to rebel against it today. The current meaning is not intended to control, but rather to increase understanding. A noble cause.)

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      DAMN smart comment, Stephen! Thanks for the taking the time and care with it! 

      • http://reallycooldad.com/ Stephen

        Thanks, Bruce. The comments continue to be interesting.

        An uncomfortable theme taking shape in some of the Twitter comments about this story relate to “telling the TRUTH” vs “being politically correct”. However, the need for political correctness is to remove the ugliness or disrespect that comes from language. Being conscious of the power of words has nothing to do with truth—it’s a foundation of respect. I would argue that someone who fails to understand the power of words and misguided stereotypes does as much damage to the conversation as someone who side-steps the truth in favour of feelings.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          We continue to agree, Stephen. By telling the Truth, I meant – for example – calling a terrorist a TERRORIST rather than an euphemism like the b.s. “freedom-fighter.” 

          I agree that the discussion in the comments here and on Twitter are conflating my original concerns of PC gone Mad with all truths…it’s an important distinction!

  • Nyc_lady34

    You know…when I read this post, I didn’t see the incidents you describe as political correctness at all. Clearly, I don’t know the full facts of each situation, but as presented they strike me as crossed signals and social ineptitude for lack of a better term.

    Many people meet romantic partners through work either people they might work with directly or network with. Therefore, it is not out of the norm for someone to view a work acquaintance as a potential mate. When socializing for business, there is a fine line between the drinks, dinners and activities that are strictly work networking and those they might rise to a spark between two people. Care must be taken to not cross into “friend social” from “work social” if one doesn’t want to go there. That being said, wires get crossed. It could be you inadvertantly gave off signals. It could be your actions were misinterpreted. Either way, when the “awkward situation” arises, both parties need to be apologetic and reasonable. It doesn’t sound like that happened here. It is possible to extricate oneself from such a misunderstanding without making the other person feel hurt, insulted or stupid. It sounds like that might have happened here. OR it could be that the other persons involved could not take a light-handed brush off in an adult manner, assuming that is what they received.

    The third situation where you wrote the email with the “this is a business invitation only” …what were you thinking? I can understand you wanted to be cautious given your previous experiences but I have to tell you had I gotten such an email I wouldn’t have wanted to face you again either. I would have been embarrassed, insulted and humilated. There is NO good that could come of such an explicit message. If the female in question WAS interested in you socially, you have just brushed her off very rudely, even if you didn’t know if such an interest was there or not. How incredibly humiliating for the recipient. If she WASN’T interested in you, you have just slapped her in the face still – either by insinuating that you think she is interested or that she is such a person that you would not spend time with her unless you had a career-advancing motive.

    You may think I am being too harsh or that I am projecting over-sensitivity onto this woman, but I have to think your business only message was TOO in your face and probably quite unnecessary. If you had gotten together for business networking purposes, there is a line and it seems that perhaps you might examine your own actions to see if you are aware of it. You could have invited additional colleagues or done many other things to make sure the situation didn’t turn too social.

    If there have been many other incidents like this, then I would say you have to examine your own behavior and see where you went wrong. I don’t think these interactions have anything to do with PC gone mad.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I respect your view, but couldn’t disagree more…I am married, the context of my appearances on this “network” has always been as a dad. This producer is single. To me, it was simple clarification. There was NO interest expressed by me towards her or her towards me – but, BECAUSE I am all-too-aware of the sensitivity of women, I put that disclaimer. Our relationship had and would only be business – since some women, you included evidently, think every communication with a man might have an ulterior motive, I thought ahead to stop that thinking. It clearly backfired and on that we agree. I should not have even written her or, instead, should have done it by phone where there’s no evidence and the tone of my voice might have given her clarity that she otherwise was too sensitive to see!

      And, there have been NO OTHER INCIDENTS like this so that is another reason this stood out so flagrantly to me!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      We clearly AGREE about the social ineptitude exhibited here…you may say it was mine and I obviously would disagree. What HAS happened is many many – my age and younger – just are so darn afraid of being accused of ulterior motives that we either don’t interact with some women AT ALL or are extra cautious. When this whole movement began, I was still working in showbiz. I stopped hiring female secretaries – yes, in those days most every senior executive, male or female, has a secretary – male or female. 

      I was so concerned that I might say the least offensive thing and offend, that I simply chose to hire male secretaries. Nothing had happened before that – when I had female secretaries – and nothing untoward happened after I only hired male secretaries. 

      This is a similar situation where I head off any problem AT THE PASS and, obviously, failed by choosing the wrong person to attempt to network with – I should have chosen the guy who wrote me on her behalf!

  • Dt4m

    What a terrific article…and honest. Most won’t dare this level of honesty today. Women’s Lib started with good premises, but like the pc trend, much of it backfired. It has done a disservice to those it intended to “protect”.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      LInda, we soooooo agree. What started with good intentions has moved towards really damaging ones!

  • http://twitter.com/BillDraeger Bill Draeger

    You stud!  I had to work a lot harder to get sexually harassed by my female associates. Good article and nice graphics as always.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Boy, was THAT a politically INcorrect comment Bill…but you and I can do that because we don’t give a sh*t! TYVM…

      • http://twitter.com/BillDraeger Bill Draeger

        So then, I’ll tell you about my favorite politically incorrect bumper sticker from the 70’s: “Nuke The Gay Whales For Jesus.”  It was a good combination of a lot of bumper stickers from that time.  

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I’d like to see one that is similar – but relevant today, Bill!? Suggestions?

        • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

          “Nuke The Gay Whales For Jesus.”

          Only in America, but somewhat tongue in cheek, too!

          I’ve never met a gay whale, either. Just assuming it wasn’t meant to say Wales, and not Whales!!!??? Now that would open up a whole can of worms. Especially for Tom Jones!!!

  • RKL

    I’m sorry you were sexually harrassed at work. It’s a very unpleasant experience. Your story about the emails doesn’t quite seem to add up to me, though – were they perhaps a little more “engaging and light-hearted” on your side than on hers? Is there any chance you could post them here (with the necessary info edited out of course) for clarification?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Here’s my COMPLETE email to her: “Can I take you to lunch when I return? ALL BUSINESS, to be clear.”

      • RKL

         Maybe she felt the “all business” disclaimer was protesting too much? What about your previous conversations? Email can be a difficult medium because it can be hard to judge the tone of a message – I seem to recall that’s got you into trouble before – and it’s not always easy to discern online between friendliness and creepiness, especially if – as many women have – she’s had bad experiences before.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I agree…but even if something said was “creepy” (and I don’t recall that) there is NO QUESTION that it wasn’t over-the-line and she could have simply handled it herself if she were a woman, rather than a little girl…

          Look, I’ve learned yet again to monitor my speech to the point of losing some of my personality. I like my personality and I fear this is yet another result of this kind of speech-control thinking. THAT is what made automatons out of most people living in the Soviet Union during the Cold War – as well as in so many other countries TODAY!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          It really seems that you want to focus on me…I can’t tell if you’re a man or a woman? I’m curious? Also, the real purpose of this post- which EXPOSES me yet again – is to provoke a good and meaningful dialogue. I’m open to examining my behavior but if my behavior with a half-dozen other women at this organization didn’t result in anything untoward, wouldn’t that be ample evidence that this ONE woman was “protesting too much?” Again, her cowardice at confronting it/me is what truly galls me…sad for her, just irritating for me. She has to live depending on men to protect her…my wife doesn’t live that way unless she simply wants help lifting something heavy!

  • http://cirquedumot.com/new-readers/ Susan Silver

    Bruce I have to disagree with you about sexual harassment and women. I was a victim of attempted rape at a party where a good friend physically picked me up and tried to take me to another room .It was dismissed as friends play fighting when I protested, but I was in danger. It isn’t that women aren’t strong. It is that men are stronger. A literal physical difference. 

    Society isn’t teaching women to accuse or to expect others to protect them. It is teaching them that being assertive is a no-no.  Assertive women get called names and are labeled. Compounding that we are taught at a young age to be submissive and polite.That is why it is easier for someone to stop talking to you then correct you. She didn’t need a man to do it for her.She needed someone to tell her it was okay to say no. 

    If there have been false accusations that is bad, but what is worse is the many women who never speak up. It makes those times when it was fake more prominent than they should be. Another point, we teach young girls that strangers are most likely to be those who assault them. More likely it will be the partner, friend, or relative. In fact 2/3’s of sexual assaults are from men the women know http://www.rainn.org/statistics. We are failing to teach girls to have awareness about others intentions towards them. Not in a paranoid way, but that it happens. When women don’t report it perpetuates the myth.

     I think the danger of PC is that many pay lip service to values they do not have. Driving racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism and other prejudices underground. In some ways I think this is worse than offending someone. It stops the dialogue that may change someone’s attitude.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Susan, I actually agree with just about EVERYTHING you say! AND, I’m so sorry for your experience and the lack of support from your so-called “friends” – much the way my male bosses literally suggested I just sleep with the studio executive “for the good of the company.” I hope you’ll join us at #DadChat tonight since we’ll be discussing this issue. As for my recent encounter, do remember that I NEVER even met this woman so I think her cowardice and mis-reading of things was totally out of line. The male colleague that wrote me on her behalf might have done her a bigger service by suggesting she write directly to me and simply cc him. The message would be clear and she would have basically handled it herself. I wouldn’t have been insulted and she would have gotten a clear answer to her unfounded fears.

      Like every new movement, political correctness began with good intentions…sadly, its evolved into not so good behavior and policies…

  • Jerry Thimsen

    At a fairly large company I worked at back in the 90s, the owner was criticized by a
    group of people for using the term Christmas Party and not Holiday
    party, and that the theme centered around a normal Christmas with
    presents.  During the party he announced that for those who opposed him
    using the Term Christmas party could ‘just quit the company if
    they didn’t like it’.  He also said that if he knew who they were
    they wouldn’t be getting their Christmas present, which was a $100 gift
    certificate to local grocery store, a $100 gift certificate to Target
    and 8 weeks of salary as a bonus for a good quarter and year.  Guess
    what, the next year no one complained about the
    term Christmas party.  That was the last time the PC police came around.

    Later when I was working at a company owned by a very strong
    Catholic and
    he would always provide Good Fridays as a paid holiday.  One worker
    complained that, since she was Muslin, she should also get some
    days off for her religion.  Alex said that he owned the company
    and he set the policy of the company.  If she wanted to take them
    off,she had
    to do so without pay or use vacation or her floating holidays.

    These are the benefits of working for a private company owned by people
    who always went with the majority and not the minority PC idiots.”

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks for sharing those GREAT stories, Jerry…it’s another reason I believe in PRIVATE enterprise vs the government taking over everything as they’ve begun to do the past four years!

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  • http://twitter.com/BillDraeger Bill Draeger

    “Political correctness is just tyranny with manners.” – Charlton Heston

    • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

      And now tyranny with increasingly nasty manners, too.

  • Gregory Roth

    I wish I had your gift for clarity in making a point, I’m constantly arguing against political correctness with my colleagues, interestingly enough I happen to work in television as well, you make all the same points I’ ve clumsily stumbled through myself, The one argument they use that always floors me is that political correctness serves to “Protect marginalized people” who have been abused by society, and that as a white man I have no right to voice an opinion on the Free speech/expression, I dont buy for a second that being born white, by no fault of my own precludes my right to a viewpoint on the issue, however how do I argue their other point? There really are disenfranchised people, and it probably really does cause them harm to have slurs and abuse hurled at them . Anyway sorry for the ramble, nice article I found it enlightening! 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Do you listen to Dennis Prager Gregory? He’s informed much of my thinking and I agree it can be hard to have a civil dialogue on this issue – or on ANY issue with a liberal. They tend to simply call us names because when there is a civil argument, they lose. That is why there is NO talk radio on the right to speak of. They can’t do much but rant and call conservatives names. For me, I just don’t engage in these conversations anymore – occasionally I write something like this with a political slant – but not often. I don’t care for the abuse that often comes with it! Stick to your guns Gregory. White men also found most of the cures for diseases that affect everyone! 

      • Gregory Roth

        I have not, Ill look him up thanks for the tip, sorry I never noticed your reply! For the record I don’t consider myself right wing at all,(or left for that matter)

        I find its better to use my own mind to form opinions on issues rather than subscribe to someone elses pre-fabricated ideological framework, Im also not racist (I dont know if you where implying that or not, just making it clear) or particularly proud or ashamed of being white, because it is nothing more than an accident of birth not an accomplishment or a crime so honestly it means absolutely nothing to me.

        I would have to say though, I am pretty close to an absolutist as far as the matter of Free Expression, which is something neither the left nor the right tend to respect so it does get me in trouble with almost everyone.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          @google-8c588481c7ad6e95b41e5f831daea880:disqus – I think any fair-minded person – regardless of political leaning – should rail against political correctness. Don’t we all really strive for the TRUTH?

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  • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

    I am left of centre politically, and find it a tad offensive that PC is only ascribed to the Left. I actually think that PC actually silences any debate that the powers that be do not want discussed. What is ironic, in both the US and UK, certainly the most PC countries, is that both countries claim freedom of speech as planks of our respective democracies. Just for the record, I despise the ultra PC types, whatever politics they espouse and whatever ethnicity or gender they are, because usually it is merely a device to start a fight and win and make someone, anyone, look stupid for daring to have an opinion. I should say, I despise fanatical PC itself, rather than the mostly deluded dupes who stand behind its flag. One of the big dangers I perceive, and I hope I don’t offend you, but then, I believe in being totally honest, is that if decent normal reasonable people are silenced, the nutters happily step out of the woodwork and begin to sound reasonable! That doesn’t matter whether they are hard left, or hard right. I don’t want to live in the UK where I am, where normal peaceful people are silenced or cowed into silence by extremists of any kind.

    What happened to the world we lived in? What happened to normality? What happened to our innocence? It’s being eroded everywhere. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m with YOU all the way – I don’t care where it comes from – PC – but it stifles meaningful debate. Very sad in the U.K. regarding all those kids abused by “certain” parties that was kept quiet by fearful authorities who feared being labeled racist… And, there are so many other examples! The people in California that saw “strange” stuff going on but feared reporting it for the same reason, thus indirectly causing the deaths of 14 people in San Bernardino

      • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

        Yes, that was a big problem. I have two good Muslim friends, as we say here ‘mates’ and neither are crazy people, they are decent guys trying to get by like most people. By silencing honest criticism, and by silencing honest appraisal of the Muslim community, or any community for that matter, it created the anger and animosity they tried to stop in the first place!
        Why can’t we have debates around Islam and Christianity and other faiths? Why can’t we get talking again? Why can’t we just be honest, instead of hiding behind well meaning but ultimately empty nice sounding rhetoric and platitudes?

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Darn good questions – and the lack of these debates has ONLY caused more division (among us)!

          • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

            It has actually caused more division, and me being the rather cynical chap I am, I sometimes feel these things are engineered or certainly stoked up so that a pretence to being concerned for other cultures is actually promoting divisions. My Muslim pal is very critical of his culture and aspects of the faith, whilst being a decent God fearing man and a good family man. He is very well educated like me, but comes from a poor socioeconomic background like I do, and we have a lot in common. I feel a lot of affection for him, and in a brotherly sense I would say I love him. Now, that to me is where we begin. We are not asked to uncritically accept any person, group or culture’s negative or bad points, but as we see in others the same God given spark of life as we have, those problems start to disappear. And all this ISIS stuff has to be taken in context too. They are murdering bastards to the core. But even in France where there are 6 million Muslims, only 5000 have gone to join the Nutbar squad in Syria. We should reflect on the majority who aren’t going, rather than the fraction that are. I have Irish ancestry, and I see the focus on Islamic extremists as the same as the focus in the UK on the IRA and how Irish people were persecuted in the UK in the 70s. Most were not IRA terrorists, and whether many Irish supported the violence or not, the ones to be taken to task are those who commit atrocities, not Irish people themselves.

            I’m really enjoying your blog. I am going to save it and have a darn good look at it. I enjoy your reasoned responses. I think we are all crying out for outspoken but reasonable people. As I said, when good people are silenced, and truth becomes hate speech, the only people who speak are the nutbars!!!

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            Sadly, the mainstream Muslim community has not publicly criticized those who use their faith in such an evil way. Where are the mass demonstrations condemning ISIS?

          • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

            True. I think that has a lot to do with fear. The most extreme of them tend to kill violently those who draw cartoons of their prophet! You can understand why there might be a reluctance to go the local coffee bar and have a little chat over tea and muffins!!!!!

  • http://controversialchristianityandfaith.blogspot.co.uk/ Intolerant_Liberal

    Please read my post about PC on my blog!