Inappropriate Appropriation: A Social Justice Warrior Considers The Ivy Wardrobe

college guy

Today’s most tireless champions of political correctness are called “social justice warriors.” They are quick to spot hidden meanings of oppression and victimhood in everyday life.

We started thinking what it would be like for a modern-day SJW to be shot — hold on, let us finish the sentence — back in time to a college campus during the Ivy heyday. The guy wants to fit in with his classmates but finds the wardrobe problematic.

We think it would go something like this:

Club ties: By definition, inherently exclusionary of non-members.

Boxer shorts: Unabashedly pugilistic and promote violence.

Khakis: Heartless reminder of the military subjugation of the Indian subcontinent.

Camp moccasins: Cultural appropriation of Native American footwear.

Shetland sweaters: Bought and sold in flagrant disregard of global warming.

Seersucker: Uncomfortable plantation connotations.

Navy blazers: Reminders of military colonialism.

Nantucket Reds: Often referred to casually as “reds,” a slur against communists.

Dinner jacket: Offensive to the underfed.

Batik: Crass appropriation of the costume of indigenous peoples.

Bleeding madras: Simultaneously colonialist and triggering to hemophiliacs.

Cardigans: Named for the Earl of Cardigan, a white, cisgendered, heteronormative racist, sexist homo- and Islamophobe — or so one would assume.

Regimental neckties: Militarist, colonialist, and capable of being used as a weapon for strangulation or as an instrument of bondage.

Cordouroy: From the French for “cord of the king,” and therefore pro-Royalist and anti-revolution. The only thing worse is poplin, the cloth of the papist, who is against a woman’s right to choose.

Moleskin trousers: Even if PETA certifies that no moles were harmed in the making of them, they are still nicknamed “ratcatchers.” Rats have been scapegoated since the Black Plague and are routinely subject to false imprisonment, lab experimentation, and genocide.

Mother-of-pearl buttons: Belittling reminder that society encourages girls to aspire to motherhood and pearl-wearing housewifery rather than careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Paisley: Often referred to as “sperm cloth” and thus a crude reminder of toxic masculinity.

Tassel loafers: Tassels are often attached to the nipples of burlesque dancers, and therefore signal the objectification of women.

Turtleneck sweaters: “Roll neck” is preferred as this term is degrading to turtles, which do not wear sweaters.

Tortoiseshell glasses: Nor do tortoises wear glasses.

Alligator belts: Save the alligators!

Natural shouldered jackets: Offensive to those with prosthetic shoulders.

White bucks: Duh.

Happy PC Week! — CS & CC

66 Comments on "Inappropriate Appropriation: A Social Justice Warrior Considers The Ivy Wardrobe"

  1. Love it!

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

  2. Wow, I certainly laughed aloud at a few of these quips– and I learned something new today: the term “cisgendered” is another word for a normal human being.

  3. Loafers imply that the wearer of said shoe is lazy. And the penny implies that he is cheap. Or maybe not. Very clever post!

  4. “prosthetic shoulders’ priceless.

  5. I don’t really know what to say… I often feel like Christian expresses pettiness and a mean spirit here, and I don’t like to read it. Wasn’t there an article blaming harassment or rape on women’s style choices a year ago? Now he’s mocking social justice? I like the growing culture of ivy style, but this doesn’t have to be part of it.

  6. At first I thought you were going somewhere else re: the pugilistic connotations in underwear. But I guess sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar.

  7. @Ryan

    Not pettiness and mean spirit, just good old-fashioned dandy-writer mockery. As for social justice, well, I’m not sure if this counts:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/golden-years-from-the-pale-to-yale.html#comment-1374011

  8. William Richardson | October 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm |

    @Ryan

    We are taking ourselves a bit seriously aren’t we, comrade?

    Will

  9. Eric Twardzik | October 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm |

    This is all sorts of wonderful.

  10. Bags' Groove | October 14, 2015 at 4:31 pm |

    In the old country we call it taking the piss, and very enjoyable piss-taking it is too, Christian. Tassels and burlesque dancers, indeed.

  11. @Ryan What article are you talking about? That’s a strong accusation to carelessly throw around.

  12. Well then, Ryan, cancel your own goddamn subscription.

  13. @Ryan He’s referring to my hopelessly out-of-touch (and therefore removed) post in which I modestly suggested that college women pursue traditional committed relationships, basically the same topic explored in the Vanity Fair “dating apocalypse” article.

    Of course his characterization of my argument is completely wrong, but that’s expected in these sorts of exchanges.

  14. Brilliant…absolutely brilliant!!!

  15. A different Ryan | October 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm |

    Against what is this post reacting? Does the grim spectre of political correctness haunt you so?

  16. Chris, do you want to take that one?

  17. This post for me relates to the last. Ivy Style viewed from the current and even past iteration of PC is offensive. Thankfully we are not at the point were wearing a Harris Tweed jacket is an open invitation to have a bucket of blood poured on one’s head. The current piece is simply a farcical demonstration that everything we could possibly wear when taken to the extreme is not PC due to the cultural baggage so easily ascribed to it. I would say Christian’s additions and edits are most kind. My original draft had our anti-hero standing naked in front of the mirror raging against the phallic phobic textile bigots who were imprisoning him in his domicile.

  18. I’m outraged and deeply offended here.

    How could you?

    How could you wait so long to justifiably lambaste and ridicule this mindless nonsense called Political Correctness? Very clever and entertaining indeed.

    Sorry folks, but in any grouping of human beings there will always be winners and losers – despite what the Democratic Party and left-wing PC loons claim.

    Thank God people are starting to challenge PC, and it’s finally being exposed for what it is – an intolerant, repressive movement based on remarkable self-delusions about race, gender, history, religion, “justice” (see Brown, Michael, and Matter, Black Lives), economics and the very underpinnings of Western Civilization.

  19. NaturalShoulder | October 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm |

    Enjoyable read after a long day at the office. Well done gentlemen.

  20. One of the best posts EVER Ivy Style. Thanks CJ & CC.

    Those who don’t like this needs to seek shelter in the nearest Safe Space and stay there sipping herbal tea with Pajama Boy until we tell them to come out.

  21. HAHAH! Love it guys, made my day. Sending this to everyone in the office.

  22. A sense of humor has never been one of the characteristics of those who adhere to Political Correctness
    This was truly one of the best posts ever.

  23. Seems to me that those in opposition to political correctness are overly sensitive themselves. Snivel, snivel…

  24. a young trad | October 15, 2015 at 9:35 am |

    Stick to the clothes, Christian. I would imagine that some of your readers would certainly find ‘club ties’ exclusive and elitist. I know clothing itself is not elitist; it is the choice behind what we wear that speaks volumes about who were are. But to deride the language of identity and the very genuine concerns of liberation movements is never funny, and works against the social purpose you yourself have avowed. Clothes may be clothes, but this article is neither witty nor poignant…it’s insensitive. I love your blog, but please, stick to the clothes.

  25. I seldom leave comments on blogs. In this case I felt compelled to express my opinion. This posting had me laughing aloud. No mere chuckle would do. Thanks so much for making my day.

  26. I think you guys are trying a little too hard.

  27. William Richardson | October 15, 2015 at 10:42 am |

    Gentlemen, we do not want to send the more sensitive fellows among us into a shame spiral. Let us all put on our pajamas, turn on The View and drink some chamomile tea.

    Will

  28. Charlottesville | October 15, 2015 at 11:16 am |

    Thanks CC and CS. Perhaps the funniest thing I have read in weeks, although the humorless dudgeon of some commenters is a close second.

  29. @ol nippy feel free to elaborate.

    I am still pondering A Different Ryans question. I cannot tell if it is a solicitation for true stories from the PC crypt or if he is making the sly assertion that pc is an urban legend, a fairy tale, a boogey man pulled out of the neo-con closet on a rainy night.

  30. @ C. Sharp

    My guess is that, at least in regard to things like preppy clothing, there is no PC orthodoxy against which to rail. Here in liberal Baltimore, I get most compliments on clothing from Black co-workers. I get most harassment from Tea Party types who would deride me as a paternalistic “PC Elitist.”

    In the broader discussion, I think the obnoxiousness about all of this PC whining is that there is an underlying presumption that PC is eroding some imagined past where free speech reigned supreme. Anyone with a decent understanding of Supreme Court jurisprudence would know that our contemporary idea of free speech was not really developed until the mid 60’s – early 70’s. It was an outgrowth of the Warren Court (and the early Burger court) and the Johnson Administration and arose concurrent with the Civil Rights movement, which many see as the precursor to the supposed PC orthodoxy. At the time of founding, the First Amendment was intended to protect specific political and religious speech and there were clear limits even in those arenas. Prior to Abrahms V. U.S., it was pretty much accepted that any sort of socially unacceptable speech could be regulated. And at that point (1919), Brandeis and Holmes were still in the minority and their limited attempt to carve out additional rights for political speech wasn’t really adopted until 1940. It was expanded after World War II and didn’t reach our relatively libertarian leaning state until Cohen v. California (1971). This concept of all speech (not just political writings) being relatively unencumbered by law is only about 40 years old.

    Another point worth making is that social control of speech has a long history in this country. See, eg, the Motion Picture Production Code. Limiting speech and conduct based on social norms is hardly a new idea.

    Ultimately, fully unencumbered speech is contrary to both American legal history and American social history. You may disagree with what current society deems taboo, but if so, you really need to make a case for the worthiness of those taboo elements. You can’t just rely on the presumption that censorship is against our history and culture, because it isn’t.

  31. @C. Sharp

    “A Different Ryan” is a longtime Internet acquaintance and I had drinks with him once. He’s a grad student and I believe an aspiring academic, so he obviously feels right at home on college campuses and presumably feels he needn’t worry about voicing an unorthodox opinion, probably because he doesn’t have any.

  32. William Richardson | October 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm |

    Oh, for God’s sake. Everybody go out and be the best mench he can be.

    Will

  33. I feel blessed that I’m able to have a good laugh.

  34. As I see it, anyone who dresses in anything other than old flannel shirts, stained ball caps and shabby blue jeans is politically incorrect. Sports team T-shirts are OK, too.

    Go into any thrift shop. You’ll see many items of politically incorrectness virtually in new condition: Navy Blazers, seersucker, and tweeds, i.e.

  35. This Bernie Sanders supporter had a good smirk. But of course right now I’m wearing a cardigan, corduroys, and tassel loafers, so I might be one of the oppressors myself. Speaking of oppression — has anyone considered the collar of an OCBD? It’s a symbol of how the patriarchy keeps everyone and everything down and secured firmly in place, whether they like it or not.

  36. @L-Feld
    Thanks for the long response.
    I will be on the look when I read pieces on PC to see if the anti folks argue that there were halcyon days of free speech as you suggest. It is not an argument that I immediately associate with the movement.

    I am curious about this though ” You may disagree with what current society deems taboo, but if so, you really need to make a case for the worthiness of those taboo elements.”
    It would seem that in the cases regarding pornography that those that produced it convinced judges that there was worthiness in their speech. Does a first year student,FKA a freshman need to go to court and show the worthiness of a patriarchal society, a world view ascribed to them by a third party say a professor to opt out of having to spell women with a Y?

  37. @C. Sharp –

    It’s not so much the freshman who needs to advocate for the worthiness of, say, canonical European literature, or whatever you think is under attack. Freshman have basically no say in the curriculum (nor should they). Those decisions are up to the faculty, the regents, the academic community as a whole, and whomever else the community ascribes academic authority to.

    Law regarding pornography has primarily relaxed due to social standard, not supreme court jurisprudence. Miller v. California is still essentially good law, even if most states decline to ban obscene material. The second prong of the Miller test is not really relevant, but the first prong – whether the material would offend contemporary community standards, and the third prong – whether the material lacks any serious literary, political, scientific or artistic value, are particularly relevant. It is essentially a balancing test.

    Obviously not every case needs to be litigated, but we can learn from the Miller test. Something that offends community standards needs to be weighed against its value. I would argue that if community members feel that teaching college Freshmen about the worthiness of a patriarchal society at a college where that concept would be offensive to the community (and in this case, I think the appropriate community is the academic community), then they should be prepared to demonstrate the social value.

    Let’s try a thought experiment. Assume that silly bill in Missouri to ban seersucker suits had actually been passed. Does seersucker offend contemporary community standards? Does it have any redeeming social value?

    Or let’s look at the yacht club article. What would the redeeming social value of a yacht club be to the student community (in that case, since it was a student organization, I think the student community actually would be the appropriate community)?

    A lot of people jump up to complain about trigger warnings or political correctness without thinking about these issues. You can’t just assume that others share your underlying presumptions about value.

  38. As an aside, Chris and Christian, thank you for engaging me on this. It’s refreshing to have a conversation with intelligent adults and I hope I don’t come across as combative.

  39. First off, you’re welcome and thank YOU for taking the time to weigh in with thoughtful comments. You have to realize, though, that most of us here are not lawyers, don’t think like one, and have a hard time following legal arguments. Just going on your ending phrase about “You can’t just assume others share your underlying presumptions,” it was hard for me to follow exactly how that was being applied. The student government who rejected the yacht club, apparently because they just didn’t like the sound or idea of it, seemed to have assumed that everyone else would share this politically correct view that a yacht club would stand for all sorts of unacceptable things, when the guy behind it made statements that it would just be a school club like any other, open to anyone who has never been exposed to sailing before — not just the poor, women and minorities (the groups that presumably need to be shielded from yacht-club-connotation elitism), but plain old white guys like me.

    The whole who-gets-to-decide thing, when we’re talking about political correctness… all the power has shifted to the offended party. And as others have stated previously, there’s very little shared reality anymore about what is offensive and what isn’t, and it often feels like the so-called social justice warriors spend their time manufacturing offense, finding ways to be outraged no matter how innocent or innocuous the situation. What’s ripe for mockery is that being offended has become so arbitrary and subjective that anything goes.One of the silliest examples was the mad scientist party at Harvey Mudd college which was canceled because someone complained it was offensive to the mentally ill. That’s a very slippery slope. We should therefore ban Beyonce’s record “Crazy Right Now,” Patsy Cline’s classic “Crazy,” as well as everyday use of the phrase “that’s crazy.” And the English should never again be allowed to mutter “are you mad?”

  40. Ezra Cornell | October 15, 2015 at 11:31 pm |

    Sitting here in my pajamas sipping my herbal tea, so imagine my astonishment that amidst all the other things on his daily calendar, Donald Trump has time to write for this blog! Truly impressive. Only his trademark “LOSER!” is missing from the text, but fortunately his minions have come in with the inevitable chorus, and to rejoice again that they are WINNERS. Good going guys! Phew, having dispensed with all those PC whiners, now we don’t have to think about anything they say and we can pat ourselves on the back for being unwilling to think — oh, wait, no, that’s the PCers who are not thinkers.
    Let me get another mug of chamomile tea to clear my head.

  41. For what it’s worth, Christian, I think that I learned a lot more about argument and discussion as an English undergraduate than I did in law school, so I am confident you can keep up. I’m using examples from legal texts primarily because I think they are good 20th century philosophy more than anything. If you want, though, I can start pulling out the Foucault. 😉

    Here’s what I mean about underlying presumptions. Not everyone operates with the presumption that a mad scientist party is something that is worth having. You might ask “what’s the harm in having the party?” And we have the answer – it apparently offends the mentally ill. The next question to be asked is “what’s the harm in not having the party?” Does the party have merit that outweighs its offensiveness? Obviously the offensiveness and the merit are both fairly low, but it’s still worth asking the question.

    The tradly Harvard Professor Zechariah Chafee (great uncle to Lincoln) once wrote “Your right to swing your arms ends where the other man’s nose begins.” That general principle has a host of exceptions, from mutual consent (boxing) to necessity (self-defense). The underlying logic here is that our society tolerates behavior that isn’t injurious to others, but if you want to injure others, you need a good reason.

    As to your point regarding shared reality, I agree. We don’t have a lot of criteria to determine what is and what isn’t offensive. A lot of SJW’s are similarly guilty in failing to provide any explanation as to why something is offensive. It’s not always apparent to those outside of the radical feminist community, for example, why the term “woman” would be offensive.

    Unfortunately,the conversation has shifted towards SJW’s trowing temper tantrums and the anti-PC crowd responding with indignation, without either party trying to understand why the material might be offensive or might have social value.

    I think the Miller test of weight the offensiveness to the contemporary community against the social value provides a good framework for evaluating whether something should be censored. It’s not the only criteria out there and these aren’t exclusively legal issues, but I think it’s a reasonable lens through which we can look at these issues and maybe find some common ground.

  42. Not a reasonable lens at all. Even talking about “applying” “the Miller test” to non-governmental action is absurd, because it is solely about whether and to what extent _government_ can ban or otherwise regulate speech. E.g., whether certain speech can be forbidden and speakers prosecuted for violating that ban. P.C., on the other hand, is basically an attempt by private actors to control or limit speech using non-state action, such as shaming, social media harassment, etc., often informed by a perspective that does not reflect widely-held “community standards” but instead is in opposition to them. The spelling and terminology preferences of the “radical feminist community”, for example, are not widely shared by other Americans.

    Outside the context of potentially illegal activity, an American citizen is under no obligation to consider the “social value” of something he might say or do. This may make him boorish to some, but anyone he offends, deliberately or not, can express their disagreement with him, or can choose instead to ignore him.

  43. @Christian

    I am going to bite. If you are railing against PC then why did you delete Groton’s comment? Is it because it was not PC? He did not use any racial slurs, but he did express an opinion that is not PC.

    I fall closer to L-Feld’s camp. I may or may not agree with what is being censored or what is being determined offensive, but censorship always has been and always will be. It is a cost of doing business.

    I also have a hard time swallowing the “The whole who-gets-to-decide thing, when we’re talking about political correctness… all the power has shifted to the offended party” argument.

    Only those in power have the ability to decide these things. Rarely are those in power the offended party. If those in power are not the offended party they may side with the offended party, but that generally only happens when it starts to become a good business decision to do so.

  44. We seem to have a difference of opinion on more than one matter, including that the deleted comment was pure, undiluted vile racism.

  45. @Christian

    I did not say that it was not racist. I said that it was not PC. I am just trying to better understand your position about all of this PC talk.

  46. Now you know where I draw the line.

  47. @Taliesen

    It depends on the community. If we’re talking about the academic community of a small liberal arts college, certain tenets of radical feminism are widely accepted. And while a college administration is not a state actor, it has some government-like elements that make Miller at least worth thinking about. In the case of public colleges, Miller may well be applicable, as they actually are state institutions.

    If you want to go down the other road and assume Miller is wholly inapplicable, let me ask you this – who are you to interfere with a private college administration’s decisions regarding conduct on its campus. Attending the school is voluntary – compulsory education ends in high school. Students agree to the school’s terms when they enroll. Liberty University and BYU are able to enforce all sorts of religious intrusions into their students’ lives, why shouldn’t Oberlin as well?

  48. It appears to me that the comments can be broken into 3 main areas of focus:

    1. How the government ought to handle censorship.
    2. The rights of an individual concerning freedom of expression.
    3. How an individual ought to use their right to self expression.

    Conversation takes a particularly heated turn when discussing 2 and 3. There is the libertarian notion of self-expression embodied in 2, and the civilized or cultural limit imposed on 3. Just because I can allow prejudice to shape my perspective doesn’t mean I should. And that prejudice goes both ways, as many have noted.

    The choice, it seems to me, is between PC’s cultural sensibilities, and some other ideology’s sensibilities.

  49. Miller is not applicable because it is solely about to what extent the government can regulate obscenity, i.e., speech depicting sexual conduct (and, unfortunately, “excretory functions”).

    That’s not what P.C. is about and not what Ivy Style’s recent posts are mocking. P.C. targets, as its name suggests, political speech, with a special focus on perceptions of power and victimhood. Of course, its campus purveyors are, as your post admits, often the ones in power (e.g., “radical feminists” cloistered in a small liberal arts college), and use their power to crush individuals or small groups they don’t agree with, while simultaneously claiming to be the victims or advocates for the victims.

    The yacht club case is perfect – students in a powerful position to approve or deny a club the right to exist wielded that power harshly, justifying their conclusory intolerance by referring to vague concerns about elitism or exclusion, yet producing no witnesses or evidence to support the notion that the proposed club would be either of those things (or even that those things are self-evidently bad). It’s not the yacht club kids who are in power.

    As far as whether anyone can intervene to combat P.C. at private schools, usually such opposition merely points out the hypocrisy of selective speech repression in a purportedly open-minded environment. There’s little interference beyond that, and ultimately, a student does have the choice to leave, as unfortunate as that result would be.

    The recent statements in support of free speech on campus by Cornell’s new president, Elizabeth Garrett, may signal a return to sanity in the ivory tower. P.C. is, in the end, repressive and intolerant because it protects arguments and odd speech tics that are not, on their own, persuasive or appealing. So they must be compelled. That rarely ends well.

  50. @Taliesin

    Then provide a different framework for evaluating cases like this and we can go from there. But don’t act like it is self evident that a student government should not have the authority to decide which clubs exist on campus. Or to use a less petty example, don’t act like it is self evident that campus faculty or the board of regents should not have the authority to determine what books stay on the curriculum. If you want to argue that, go ahead, but at least provide some rationale.

    I don’t think anyone has ever argued that pure, wholly unencumbered academic freedom should exist on campus. If it did, students would be majoring in drinking beer. Even open minded campuses have limits and curricula. The question is not whether there should be boundaries on the curricula, but where those boundaries are, what is included, what is not. So if the faculty of Oberlin decide to drop Ovid from freshman English, who are you to criticize? Are you part of the Oberlin faculty community? Does it affect you in any way? Is Ovid inherently more important than whatever they replaced it with? (I’m asking these questions in earnest, I really don’t know what they even replaced it with).

    The same should go for things like campus clubs. In the yacht club story, nobody told the students they couldn’t go sailing or congregate. The school just declined to fund the club and provide an official facility. Should the school fund every single club someone proposes, especially one in which the students were requesting money to hire a sailing instructor? I suspect that would be expensive. I’m sure you will counter with “but they are funding a tattoo club, surely that’s trivial and offensive to some students.” My retort would be, I don’t know the culture of that particular university, but considering it is in L.A., it seems reasonable to infer that tattoos are more widely accepted as artistic expression than yachting is accepted as a beneficial activity. So why shouldn’t the student government choose to fund and endorse a tattoo club and decline to fund and endorse a yacht club, even if the yacht club advocates are in the minority. Is the yachting set an important component of the community that we should seek to protect? If you think it is, explain why.

    Alternately, if you don’t want to answer these questions and you want to provide some other framework for evaluating these controversies, go ahead. Or if you want to make some sort of argument in favor of pure academic freedom for professors, or that schools should uncritically fund every club that proposes to exist, go for it.

    But don’t just go ahead and assume that there is some inherent worth to a yacht club or to Ovid without considering that there is limited space in which these can all exist and, at least under the current scheme of curricula or club funding, not every single book or club will make the cut.

  51. Fun watching two legal guys go at it. You definitely set high standards for Internet debate.

  52. I already noted that “criticism” of decisions like that of the yacht-hating student government are limited to that – pointing out the hypocrisy – and that the only real power an individual student who disagrees has is to leave the college. I never said or implied that the student government, faculty group, or whoever, shouldn’t have decision-making power, but instead that public accountability is an appropriate check on that power. As far as I know, no one is trying to overthrow the Oberlin College governance structure in what one might call a coup d’etude. Instead, public accountability and debate are appropriate. As a society, we have an interest in our country’s educational system, and since nearly every college and university receives federal funding, I think all citizens have “standing” to weigh in on such topics.

    As far as outlining a “framework” is concerned, I don’t fall for that kind of rhetorical trap. We aren’t writing or construing a statute here, and society’s changing preferences, etc., preclude such rigidity. People more or less know the difference between repressing a club because it is, say, racist (e.g., a campus chapter of Aryan Nations) versus repressing a club because it lets the student government members engage in a kind of crudely Marxist moral preening (e.g., a campus chapter of a boat club). Gray areas can be hashed out with exposure and discussion.

    I’ll quote myself here. As Taliesin recently said, “an American citizen is under no obligation to consider the “social value” of something he might say or do.” If someone is applying for funding for, say, a yacht club, he would have to fill out the forms and meet whatever the standard is, e.g., minimum number of interested students, safety concerns, etc. But the standard should be fair and fairly applied, and “we’ll only fund clubs that don’t strike us as elitist” is almost certainly not in the college handbook.

    P.C. is a way to try to rope ordinary controversies into a legalistic framework, giving those who use such tactics the aura of the majesty inherent in government action, and implying the existence of the coercion that in reality only the state possesses. I do not accede to those parameters.

  53. William Richardson | October 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm |

    @Ezra

    You definitely sound like quite the manly man. By the way, I am a Dr. Ben Carson supporter.

    Cheers,

    Will

  54. @ Taliesin –

    If by your standard, the public’s criticism of “hypocritical” decisions like the yacht club are the only appropriate check on this behavior, then that’s fine. There is clearly a diverse range of viewpoints out there.

    But the anti-PC crowd has not, at least on this site, presented any real points in support of its viewpoint. In fact, I haven’t even seen any real coherent viewpoint beyond “PC bad, mkay?”

    You suggest that the student government should spell out fair criteria for clubs, for example. So here are two questions: (1) How do you define fair? (2) Why is this criteria important for something relatively whimsical like student activity groups?

    In other words, my big question, as it has been all along, is what is the harm of political correctness? How does it affect you? You’ll have to be more specific that just saying you have a general interest in the education of Americans. How does political correctness impoverish the education of Americans?

    Nobody here has provided any sort of rationale for why “political correctness” is such a bad thing. We’re just asked to assume that it is.

  55. Also, I wanted to point out another sort of logical fallacy that I’ve admittedly been dragged into. The anti-PC crowd center on the handful of ridiculous examples as though they were the norm. The yacht club example is somewhat ridiculous and largely indefensible from either side because it is nearly meaningless.

    The real question is, how does something like the removal of Ovid from a curriculum really injure the average American? Does it at all? If not, then why complain about it.

  56. One does not have to show an individual injury in order to be entitled to an opinion. This isn’t litigation, and we all have a general interest in our national community and the health of its discourse.

    I think P.C. offends many people’s sense of fair play. It is also an understandable reaction to try to strike out against something unjust before it injures you, sort of the “first they came for … and I said nothing” point.

    The attempt to control words for allegedly admirable reasons is often just a way to reframe the debate. For example, the P.C. term for “illegal alien” is “undocumented immigrant.” This is a term that is pushed very hard by pro-illegal immigration advocates, even though they are wrong on the facts – the actual legal term, found in the U.S. Code, is illegal alien. But changing the common usage to “undocumented immigrants” serves to grant them the apparent status of “immigrants” (a step up in immigration law as it implies an entitlement to be here) and reduces their offense of entering the country illegally to a mere question of “documentation,” as if it were a mere clerical oversight, when in reality many or most of them would have been denied visas, and thus entry, if they had applied through the proper channels at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If someone cares about immigration policy and takes a restrictionist view, then yes, P.C. matters because its success in redefining words makes it harder for that restrictionist to make his argument. And that, of course, is the whole point of political correctness, and why some of us are against it.

  57. Agreed on that last point Taliesin. It’s nearly impossible for society to have clear discussions on many issues with constantly evolving PC language – especially cross generational discussions. My poor late grandmother sounded like a raving racist solely due to falling off of the euphemism treadmill.

  58. The Ovid flare up-http://columbiaspectator.com/opinion/2015/04/30/our-identities-matter-core-classrooms

  59. Wow. Excellent discussion.

    I am old enough to remember when the term politically correct meant something else. In the 1980s, it implied that the person so described was taking on a Stalinist level of ideological rigidity. The notion that a position could be “politically incorrect” was an affront to the ideal that a university should be a marketplace of ideas where a range of views could, and should, be represented. It was recognized that the designation of something as being “politically correct” or “politically incorrect” was an illegitimate attempt to shut down debate. It had Orwellian overtones, and was only used in earnest by leftists.

    While some of those elements remain, I think others have been attenuated in recent decades.

    To chime in on L-feld’s comment (10/15, 2:13), we should also remember that until the 1960s & 1970s, “freedom of speech” did not mean “freedom of expression,” and non-speech acts, such as flag-burning, were not protected by the First Amendment. There are those who say that this extension of First Amendment protection to actions was an illegitimate expansion of both the First Amendment and the Supreme Court’s powers, but that is another debate.

  60. @Taliesin –

    I wouldn’t have a problem with this if it were a civil discussion in which two sides discussed the merits of terminology. The debate, at least on this site, and, in my experience, in the general discourse, relatively one sided. One side (typically leftists, but not always) presents an argument for changing terminology, adding a relatively benign trigger warning, denying funding for a trivial club, or, sometimes, making a substantive change to a curriculum.

    Instead of responding with some sort of substantive discussion, the “anti-PC” opposition (usually rightists) responds with a histrionic reaction of “you’re trying to enslave my mind!” or, on in the case of the discussion on this site, a smug dismissal of the issue. While it might be valid to have such an opinion, I don’t see why such opinions should be taken seriously as part of public debate.

    The closest you’ve come to really getting to the heart and sole of this is your explanation regarding the terms “illegal alien” and “undocumented immigrant.” You’ve somehow framed this is a “politically correct” hegemony using language deceptively, despite being “wrong on the facts.” However, the facts are relatively unclear. 8 USC 1101 defines aliens as anyone who is “not a citizen or national of the United States.” However, the code then divides “alien” into two categories – nonimmigrant (e.g. diplomats) and immigrants (everyone else). The term “illegal alien” only appears in the code in the 1994 amendments, which primarily relate to smuggling of aliens and aliens who are convicted of crimes. The term “unauthorized alien” appears more frequently, most notably 8 USC 1324a, which deals with the employment of “unauthorized aliens,” a big issue in the 1986 amendments.

    Like most semantic debates, the “illegal alien” versus “undocumented immigrant” boils down to rhetoric. As you said, “illegal alien” sounds more favorable for those who want to restrict immigration and “undocumented immigrant” sounds more favorable for those who want to expand immigration.

    And that’s the end of it. You’re having a histrionic reaction to the use of a rhetorical device, claiming that it goes against “the facts,” which aren’t really even factual.

    My experience has generally been that people who freak out about “political correctness” are trying to hide the fact that they don’t have any well-considered basis for their opinion. You may be entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to act like your opinion is some sort of unequivocal fact of nature.

    If you want to use the term “illegal immigrant” because it is favorable to your political views, great, go ahead. You’re doing the same thing that your political opponents are doing. But don’t act like there is some sort of moral subterfuge in what is essentially semantic debate.

  61. William Richardson | October 19, 2015 at 3:49 pm |

    @L-feld

    I happen to be a lawyer at a firm of three hundred lawyers. I studied 9 WTF 1234a and found that you have a great deal of time on your hands.

    Cheers,

    Will

    Will

  62. Agree with Will, Esq. And my postings are hardly “histrionic”. I was mainly objecting to your verbose efforts to “debate” the issue into oblivion with a large quantity of poorly-reasoned analogies hidden inside a morass of legal mumbo-jumbo, and to help the other posters here sort thru the sludge. And to contradict the bullying way you try to frame issues and place the burden on others to disprove your wild and numerous contentions. But I was patient and respectful about it. Try to learn that lesson, at least.

    Over and out.

  63. Henry Contestwinner, what is intended by the depiction of a bottle of Suntory Yamazaki Japanese Whisky

  64. Henry Contestwinner | November 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm |

    That I like it.

  65. @Taliesin

    I appreciate that instead of trying to actually defend any of your ridiculous vdare.com talking points, you have instead just called me a bully. I’m glad that white supremacists have also found their place in the cult of victimhood. Enjoy being my bitch.

    f/k/a L-Feld

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