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!