Let’s Be Honest
Honesty. It’s become an endangered species in our world today. And what exactly do I blame this on? The rise of “Political Correctness” (aka. PC).
“But wait, Joe!”, you say, “How can being nice and respecting others lead to dishonesty?”.
Oh, it does. And it’s worse than that. The rise of PC is leading to the very downfall of our health, creativity, and society as we know it! Let me explain by citing real-world examples…
Hang onto your hats, people – this is gonna be one bad-ass, controversial post!
Exhibit “A”: FAT
Thanks to PC, you can no longer call someone “Fat” – so why is it that we have more fat people than ever?
Is it just coincidence that since we’ve removed the social stigma of being overweight that more fad diets, supplements, cleanses, fasts and spas have cropped up?
When I was growing up, I was FAT. Not “pleasingly plump”, or “weight challenged”, just FAT. And that was ok. It was also ok to call people fat – as long as you were ok with occasionally being punched in the face.
Heck, we even had a cartoon character named “Fat Albert”! And the saying “Thin may be in, but fat is where it’s at!”. Heck, if you were ok with being fat, most folks didn’t care.
As a former fatty, I can tell you that being called fat was a mixed bag. On the plus size I was a super hero named “Bellyman”. And the other plus size was that it was a bit of social stigma that caused some emotional pain. How is that a plus?
Physical pain has a purpose: to let us know when things are dangerous. Emotional pain can also have a purpose. In my case, it spurred me on to a healthier lifestyle.
See, the thing about being called “Fat” is that it’s honest. There’s no sugar-coating (yum!). I’d much rather be called fat, then decide if I want to do something about it – or not.
All of the other ways we’ve invented since the rise of PC to call someone fat (or say that being fat is ok), just allow the problem to continue. And with our whole society getting fatter every day, it’s easier for each of us to think “Well, I’m not *that* fat!”
Heart disease, stroke, diabetes… Fat is a health problem. A major one. It’s just getting worse. And renaming it something that sounds nicer is just a lie. Just give me the honest truth.
Exhibit “B”: X-WORDS
Ah, “The X-Words”. The words that can’t be said. Where did they come from? And why even have them if they can’t be spoken or written???
The “F-Word”, the “C-Word”, the “B-Word” – We’re spelling shit out like we’re F-ing children! Just pick a letter, and there’s probably a word that starts with it that you aren’t allowed to say. PC forbids it! After all, you might offend someone, or imply something, or heck, communicate! To further complicate matters, some words can be said by some people in some contexts – but not others! Please… is there a rule book somewhere that I can consult before I open my big mouth?
Words are our way of expressing ourselves. Sometimes they have come from a positive place, sometimes from a negative one. Some are just neutral or descriptive. But words can only have the meaning that we bestow upon them. And our reaction to words is also under our control.
How about this? People can say whatever the F-word they D-word well please, and other people can react to those words however they feel. At least if you say what you mean, I’ll know where you really stand on an issue. As it is now, much of the hate and disrespect is hidden behind smiling faces and PC words.
The PC movement would have us censor not only others, but ourselves… and that’s just not honest.
Exhibit “C”: BRATS
First off, full disclosure: My wife and I don’t have kids.
So, what makes me qualified to give my opinion on raising children?
BECAUSE WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH YOURS!!!
(ahhh… that feels better!)
The PC movement has severely altered the way children are raised, and I can’t think of any of it that’s good. When I was a kid, it was understood that all adults were to be given respect. In fact, I can honestly say that I was raised not only by my parents, but by neighbors, teachers, and even other children. A whole community came together and helped me to grow to adulthood. Now, you can’t say “boo!” to anyone else’s kids! And if they act up at school, it’s the teacher who gets the blame. If my mother was called into school about me, the first thing she asked was “What did he do?” not “What did you do to him?”.
Let’s be crystal clear here: I don’t blame the children. They are young and don’t know any better. I blame the parents. They’re no longer in control, and worse, won’t let anyone else be in control either! Maybe little Timmy is “Acting Up” because you’re not “Showing Up” as a parent.
Here’s a real example from last year. My wife and I took a short vacation by plane. It was about a 5 hour trip. Seated behind us were two spawns of Satan, and some adult I can only assume was their father. After enduring more than an hour of screaming, fighting, chair-kicking, and general mayhem, I’d had enough. I calmly unbuckled my safety belt, stood up, turned around and addressed the “father”.
“I understand that it may be hard to be a single father on a trip with two small children”, I said. “But your kids have been screaming and kicking our seats for the past hour”. “I’m not asking you to be a good father all the time, but maybe you could manage it for the remainder of this flight”.
Things got noticeably better afterward, and most of the other passengers seemed happier, with the exception of one who scolded me for not allowing the children to express themselves. F-U, lady! (excuse my French). This isn’t about the kids. It’s about bad parenting. The flight crew was doing squat to ensure the trip was not only quiet, but safe! When did it become a crime to tell someone that their offspring were misbehaving in public. Had I done anything even close to that, my parents would have been asking for parachutes to take us all home!
… and don’t even get me started on kids in restaurants! We don’t eat at Fun-Time Pizza for a good reason. What happened to parents having a modicum of control over their own children? Seriously, if the kid is acting up, it’s time to go home. It shouldn’t be my responsibility to put up with your bad parenting skills.
Ok, final story. We live just down the street from an elementary school, and every morning a line of cars goes around the block filled with “helicopter parents” – you know, the ones who hover over their precious little snowflakes to make sure they actually enter the school building untainted by the outside world. For context, our neighborhood is ultra safe. I have no qualms walking at any hour of the day or night. It’s suburbia at it’s finest. It should be ok for little Susie or Johnny to walk to school, right? How about at least a couple of blocks? Do you *really* need to drive them right up to the door?
At age 8, I already had a key to my parent’s house. They both worked, and impressed on me the responsibility of having a key. I walked or biked to elementary school, and later high school. The only trouble I ever had was with bullies – and I clobbered them with my book bag. I took the responsibility of having a house key seriously because I was being treated like an adult, not a child.
Children no longer know if they’re doing well in school or life because PC has tried to protect and homogenize everyone. No red pens to mark tests! You might emotionally scar little Billy! Everyone gets a trophy! We don’t want anyone thinking they’re not special! Well, guess what, when everyone gets a trophy, nobody is special.
I fear for these kids. They’re coddled, and nurtured, and cooed over night and day. They get whatever they want, and have micro-chip implants to track their every move in case international terrorists decide to abduct them. What kind of adults will these little snowflakes turn into? Will the melt when finally exposed to a little adversity?
If you want to see the answer, you just have to look at the condition the country is in – and it’s only going to get worse unless we all take some responsibility for those on their way to be grown-ups.
Exhibit “D”: EQUALITY
I’d like to start this hot-button topic by clearing up a common confusion that was made worse by the PC movement:
Having “Equal Rights” is not the same as being “Equal”.
People are different. They are born with different potentials, talents, disabilities, and deficiencies. Providing “Equal Rights” is a must for a democratic society. Everyone should have the same rights, and as much as possible, the same opportunities. They should also be paid on par with others working at their level of expertise.
But people are not “Equal”. Period. This driving need to smooth over everything and everyone just makes those who are exceptional in a given field less valuable to the society as a whole. Recognizing a person, product, or company as exceptional is what spurs on competition. It also makes the best use of talents by rewarding those who have earned it. When everyone gets a trophy, all the trophies are worthless. (see the “BRATS” section above)
Let’s not ignore our faults – they can be just as important in shaping our lives. I was born with a disability (albeit an invisible one), and cannot stand the term “challenged”. I’m not “challenged” – I won’t get over it, or be cured of my disability. It is a part of me that I have accepted. A flaw. And it should be called such, in my opinion. I have learned to compensate for it, and have many other abilities that are above the norm. I choose to focus on them, rather than play the “Pity Card” and say I’m “less-than”.
This also applies to those who continually play the “Race Card”. For me, using the “Race Card” to say that a person requires special treatment is just as bad as saying they are less capable because of their race. If we as a society want racism to end, we’ll have to learn to look past race entirely and treat each other as individuals.
We’re all “less-than” some people in some skill, and “more-than” others in other skills. Revel in your unique combination of pluses and minuses – they’re what define you, and make you the wonderful human you are.
Exhibit “E”: POLITICS
Ah, politics! The very breeding ground of lies.
Honesty is so rare in politics that we’ll rally behind anyone who says anything honest – even if it’s about something criminal, immoral, or dishonest:
Politician: “Yes. I admit that I was a crack-smoking, embezzling, philanderer in the past. But that’s all behind me now!”
Gullible Public: “Well, at least he’s honest about it – I’ll vote for him!”
Seriously? Do you really think that a lack of morals in one area won’t have any impact on decisions made in the political sphere? Really?
I get it. Some politicians are good. Some start out with good intentions and are corrupted by the system. Some are just bad from the start. In a profession that’s surrounded by money, sex, and power what can you expect? It’s like letting a 3-year old loose in a candy store and expecting them not to touch anything.
So, what’s the solution? If you want to attract folks who are more interested in running the government than making fat wads of cash, then the answer is clear. Remove money from the equation. I know people need a paycheck to do a job, but it’s gone way beyond that. With PACs funding campaigns, lobbying groups making “donations” and “gifts”, excessive pay, benefits, perks, lifetime pay… it’s just gone way overboard. Plus they get to vote on their own pay raise? Time to clean House – and Senate!
Here’s a good start:
- No PACs
- No Lobby Groups
- $100,000 yearly pay while in office
- No pay after you’re fired (duh)
- Health Care via the ACA
- 3 weeks paid vacation
- 401k matching up to 6%
- Retirement benefits after 10 years service
- Better controls over expense approval and staff pay
If this was a company, then these would be considered generous. Once in place, we’ll see who’s really in it for the job, and who’s just got their hand out for a handout.
More information on the US Congress and money can be found here if you’re so inclined:
Congressional Salaries and Allowances
I know I’m not Politically Correct. Many of these views are unpopular.
Well, I guess I’m not one to win a popularity contest.
I’d much rather win on my own merits.
And that’s the honest truth.
All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at: JoeActor.com
ahhhhhhh yes but, back in the heyday of PC (today it’s kinda archaic, imo) there was a bit of a backlash:
“We have now reached the point where every goon with a grievance, every bitter bigot, merely has to place the prefix, ‘I know this is not politically correct, but…’ in front of the usual string of insults in order to be not just safe from criticism, but actually a card, a lad, even a hero. Conversely, to talk about poverty and inequality, to draw attention to the reality that discrimination and injustice are still facts of life, is to commit the sin of political correctness. Anti-PC has become the latest cover for creeps. It is a godsend for every curmudgeon and crank, from fascists to the merely smug” — Finian O’Toole, The Irish Times, 5 May 1994
other than your post the above quote is where PC is today.. imo ….
Good quote, John. Very interesting to get a feel of the mood back in ’94. I’m sure there were always people on both sides of the PC issue. Can’t wait to see where this all takes us…
AMEN!!! That’s all I can say. Oh, and I get in trouble for my honesty all the time. See, I can’t BS. I wear my heart on my sleeve. You know exactly where you stand with me. I’m not rude, I’m not out to hurt anyone’s feelings; I’m just honest.
THANK YOU for what I consider to be a brave post. I’m right with ya on all of it!!!
Thanks, Dina. There are quite a few of us honesty nuts around. Just gotta speak up, and be courteous when possible.
I should start a club!
Awesome sauce, I agree!! I have tried numerous times to express to my Italian companion that difference of equal vs equal rights. He sees too many acting “equal” when they are not and claiming it’s their right! We are a country of comedians that are generally unfunny!!!!
Yes indeed. The entitled masses 🙂
If I weren’t dog tired right now, I would stand and applaud this blog for a considerable period of time. It is refreshing to hear from people who THINK for a change.
Thank you. Glad to know that others feel the same!