Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 1999 /22, Elul, 5759
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WE LIVE IN FAST TIMES. Things change so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Computer technology is just one example of something in a constant state of flux -- as is popular music. Fashion apparel also fluxes ... a lot. But when it comes to industrial strength fluxing, nothing quite matches the fluxing power of political correctness. What was considered acceptable yesterday is often deemed unacceptable today... and vice versa.
For example, in olden times it used to be politically correct to run around naked pounding your chest and screaming unintelligible words at the top of your lungs -- but fortunately Madonna doesn’t do many concerts anymore.
So, as a service to the community and in an effort to keep you all up to the minute with the latest politically correct terms and mores (aren’t those some kind of eels?) this column has enlisted the services of MR. POLITICALLY CORRECT MAN, who will undertake the arduous task of addressing such hard-hitting issues as what to call an elephant with African heritage who was raised in India but now resides in America (answer: an elephant). Ready or not here we go.
Q. Dear Mr. Politically Correct Man, I work hard for a living and donate a large percentage of my income to charity. Additionally, I personally do over 20 hours of volunteer work each week. I have a strong religious faith and high moral standards. I have never disobeyed any laws, I treat others with respect and courtesy, I’m kind to animals, I pay my taxes, I love my family and have basically tried to live a decent, honorable life. My only bad habit is that I occasionally smoke.
Mr. PC Man. You’re a despicable bum, and a scourge on society.
Q. Dear Mr. Politically Correct Man, when referring to people from the Orient, why is the term Oriental considered to be offensive and the term Asian is not?
Mr. PC Man. Because Oriental has been so associated with non-human items as oriental food and oriental rugs, we make the distinction that when referring to people, we speak of Asians.
Q. But, Mr. Politically Correct Man, what about the Asian Flu and the Asian Tiger Mosquito?
Mr. PC Man. Stop clouding the issue, troublemaker!
Q. Dear Mr. Politically Correct Man, is it politically correct to eat meat?
Mr. PC Man. It depends on the party affiliation of the animal in question. Republican sacred cows are always fair game.
Q. Dear Mr. Politically Correct Man, many years ago when I was a little kid, I once referred to a man with a severe walking problem as a “gimp.” My mother told me that it wasn’t nice to use that term since the poor man was “crippled.” Years later I was told that instead of crippled it was better to speak of someone like that as being “handicapped.” Then after awhile the proper phrase became “disabled.” I used that term until I discovered that it had changed yet again to “physically challenged.” Since I certainly don’t want to be thought of as insensitive, am I, at last, politically correct?
Mr. PC Man. Sorry to break the news to you, but I’m afraid you are still an insensitive boob. The current PC term of choice for someone possessing a physical affliction is “differently abled.” As a matter of fact, we here at the Politically Correct Institute are so happy with that turn of phrase, we have decided to use similar terms for other groups as well.
For instance, anyone who is not a Caucasian will now be referred to as “differently white.” Women will be known as “differently gendered.” We are also looking into the possibility of changing the word “hot’ to “differently cold” and the word “night” to “differently day.” But don’t use any of them yet, we may change our
JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.