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The Great P.C. Dodge


Attempts by the staff at the WaPO to justify printing Charlotte Allen’s women-are-teh-stupid projection were, needless to say, embarrassing. (They don’t discuss Hirshman’s “women who don’t agree with me that they should all vote for the candidate with the more conservative record are stupid” op-ed, which was no prize either, at all.) The assignment editor claims that “funny, clearly tongue-in-cheek and hyperbolic but with a serious point,” which is rather problematic given that it was about at funny as Hepatitis B and yet was also entirely lacking in any serious point. (What the point was, the editor doesn’t say.) Promfret, meanwhile, hauls out the inevitable phrase: “it presented a different, albeit very non-PC take at a time when women and politics is a riveting topic in this country.” See, if you don’t like it, you must be…politically correct! Somerby unloads:

Very non-PC! To our ear, Pomfret self-identified with this childish formulation. He seems to be one of those Aggrieved White Men who simply hate that “political correctness”—who hate the notion that they should be courteous or thoughtful in the things they choose to say about other societal groups. Among boo-hooing white males of this type, aggrieved complaints about “PC” are really cries for return to the (Archie) Bunker times—to the time when Foolish White Men could say whatever came into their heads, without regard for how their comments might affect the sensibilities of the groups they love to ridicule. Pomfret is sick of all that PC! To our ear, he self-identifies with that childish statement.

It’s a great scam. The only use for use of variations of “politically correct” is to use the obsolete cultural meaning (suggesting hypersensitivity to minor or non-existent offenses) to insulate gross bigotry from any scrutiny or criticism. Pomfret, like his assignment editor, understandably fails to indentify exactly what was useful about Allen’s different take; after all, there wasn’t anything of value in it unless you think Father Knows Best had an excessively complex and progressive conception of gender relations. And it’s especially infuriating hearing the “P.C.” card being played by someone who somehow can’t locate a significant number of female candidates who can climb over the exceptionally low bar for intelligent discourse set by people like Richard Cohen and Charles Krauthammer. To paraphrase Robert Christgau on irony, being “politically incorrect” is an excuse for anything and a reason for nothing.

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