Thursday, January 04, 2007

You can't take it back Charlie

It's out there. Read back a couple of posts and you'll find I was talking about finding innocence in France. Discovering the possibility of conversations that aren't censored as they occur. Charlie commented that it wasn't innocence lost and certainly not innocence found, as he believes innocence once lost cannot be recovered. He suggested that our state is not one of innocentlessness, but of paranoia. He has since mumbled something about about taking it back, but I secretly and quietly suspect him of just saying that so I will stop calling him mr. smarty pants. Which I will not.

Anyway, we bring up an interesting point. What the heck is it? What makes us focus on the easily identifiable linguistic pseudo symbols of racism, sexism, agism, ethnocentrism to such an extent that YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING without someone, somewhere getting offended? (Let alone, gasp, be alone, gasp in an office, gasp, WITH THE DOOR CLOSED, with a member of the opposite, gasp, sex. Are we so out of control sexually that we could never handle such temptation - oh me oh my a man, I can hardly keep my drawers on, alone with me in my office? However will I control myself and overcome my burning shameful desire for all members of the opposite sex? And most importantly, what will everyone think, even if I do manage, through sheer force of will, to not jump his bones in this totally inappropriate and impractical setting?)

And why do we focus on the forme and not the fond? Maybe because it's easier to change our language than who we are? Maybe because we're only interested in that which can be seen and heard? Ours is an ostentatious culture, if nothing else. As Husband pointed out to me at a Starbucks in Seattle, it's not enough to have napkins made from recycled materials - everyone has to know they have napkins made from recycled materials - which is, of course, printed on the back of their napkins.

We'd rather clean up (read sterilize) our language than clean up our...you fill in the blank.

10 comments:

Grish said...

Having some tech difficulties but I'll try to get caught up on your posts in next few days..:-)

charlie said...

i am, as you know, nicole, writing a book which touches on this very thing (in parts). which is not sexual innuendo, btw, just in case any offendable american with his or her (note the equality in language there, although I could be faulted for writing 'him' first, i suppose, and so i will apologise) own attorney happens to read this.

and, in spite of your quiet and non-public suspicions about my motivations (not), i insist on taking it back. i'm going out now to find some innocence i lost a little while ago. i have previously searched hither and yon for it but, i do confess, never thought to look in france. i had always thought until now that the french were anything but innocent, that being the source of much of their charm - but i'm wrong. i confess it.

Nicole said...

Grish - A computer geek with tech difficulties? I can't believe it.

MSP- I think the French would say they are innocent but not naive. And that experience does not lead to the loss of innocence, overanalysis does. I was really quiet, wasn't I?

charlie said...

the french would say many things, given the opportunity, most of which would be regarded as dissembling by right-thinking folk living on a crazy little island not too far away. and yes you were, thank you :o)

julie said...

I have lot so things to say in defense of PC which are far to extensive to put here, but I think language is more important than you think. Language does change the way we think and feel to a certain extent and it most certainly changes it for the next generation, and change is a long term propostion.

Alison said...

Great post!

My (omigod, what do I call him? Significant Other? Manfriend? Future husband?) [insert appropriate term here] and I were talking about this today. We just bought a book about Looney Tunes. (Trust me, I have a point here). My [insert appropriate term here] told me he'd looked for information about the African Pygmy featured in some of the LT cartoons. There was no mention in the book.

We talked about political correctness and how it might have gone just a little too far. To my mind, cartoons from the 20s and 30s should not be censored, but rather used as tools for teaching today's children.

Okay, probably off-topic, but I needed to chime in. Again, great post.

gina said...

Amen, sister! I am so sick of the PC culture. And your husband hit the nail on the head with the comment about the recycled paper napkins. I can't help but wonder when it all started - and why, and by whom.

I can't wait to hear my son's impressons of France when he arrives in just under a month.

Lorraine said...

PC has replaced more simple notions, like doing unto others as you'd be done unto. It's exhausting.

And Charlie will find his innocence under the cushion of the armchair on the right. He leaves it there all the time, forgettful bugger.

beth said...

I think innocence is lost - and sadly so. When my little one was almost 2 and just learning her colors - she would always call the color brown "chocolate" instead of brown -- Well, one day my little one got so happy and excited a when she saw an African American lady - she started pointing at her saying (quite loudly) "mommy, chocolate lady, chocolate lady". I didn't know what to say - in this age of political correctness - what do you say - she's only 2 and very innocent.

charlie said...

Hey! I object to being called 'forgetful'! Anyway, I've looked for it there and drawn a blank. Now, if I could only find Margaret Nuttall, she'll know where it is...