There is a widespread suggestion that political incorrectness is a detriment to social enlightenment. There is a unanimous decision to avoid using terms that have derogatory connotations. A person’s inclination towards saying words such as fat, nigger, and midget is not only considered to be a symptom of malicious personal prejudice, it is also considered an affirmation of one’s own stupidity and ignorance.
But what many people don’t realize is that prejudice and political incorrectness is not just a cultural phenomenon, it is an inviolable human tendency – and, in my opinion, a social necessity.
I. Humorous Transcendence
One aspect of human intelligence that makes it superior to other species is humor. It is the ability to recognize the “wrongness” of a situation and actually derive pleasure out of it. Political Incorrectness is funny. It is completely incongruous with what is perceived to be appropriate. Our recognition of humor allows us to transcend the wrongness.
For example: “Let’s all go to my house, run around naked and try to pee on each other.”
There is a common and unanimous assessment that peeing on each other is wrong and the very act of suggesting such behavior is incongruous to what is expected of decent human beings, yet there is a level of amusement the notion, however absurd, provides.
The humor of wrongness, at the end of the day, trains human perception to recognize and transcend absurdity. It trains the human consciousness to better adjust to the absurdity of a mortal, human existence (It’s stupid – work, worry, suffer, and then die).
The truth is that it is hard to live at the brink of oblivion without first being able to recognize, transcend, and derive pleasure from the “wrongness” of one’s own human condition. Political Incorrectness trains the human mind to accustom itself to the political incorrectness of everyday existence.
II. The Re-Contextualization of Hostile Symbols
One reason political correctness is considered correct is because it implies a will or desire to dodge negative connotations that may be associated with certain signs and symbols – the term “African-American” is free from the “slavery” associated with the term “negro.” The term “homeless” is free from the “laziness” associated with the term “bum.”
Political Incorrectness challenges the notion of connotation.
Wearing a Che Guevara shirt does not make a person a communist, neither does it suggest that the said person advocates communism. In fact, the commercialization of such a symbol (Che’s face) is counter-intuitive to its original intention (anti-capitalistic) further proving the possibility of altering the meaning of symbols.
Limiting the usage of symbols (such as the Nazi symbol) that supposedly represent derogatory prejudices only further affirms the prejudice – the ideology – by isolating the symbol to a single meaning (Antisemitism).
The best way to neutralize strong symbols is to simply trivialize or create ambiguity with what these terms and symbols represent. Che’s image, for example, has ceased to be a political symbol. It has become more of an aesthetic symbol – representing a person’s fashion preference rather than his political ideology.
The same could be said of terms such as nigger, Jew, fag, tranny, fatso, bitch etc. Its constant usage from different contexts subverts its connotations. An example is the cartoon, South Park. Through constant usage, the cartoon has stripped these terms of their original connotations and has trivialized them as simply childish name-calling.
South Park’s attitude towards supposedly offensive terms is dismissive rather than defensive. This approach pushes the notion that “it’s not a big deal.”
These symbols of hostility do not have to hold any profound impact if its connotations are trivialized or dissociated from its symbols.
III. The Production of Authentic Art
One goal of art, particularly, expressionist art is to elicit an emotional response. The best of this type of art intentionally jars the human consciousness to inspire passionate discourse (argument) – to cause an inevitable collision between opposing views. Even bad art, kitsch art, or amateur porno can be an efficient avenue for such discourse. Political correctness, however, sits on the fence in an attempt to avoid such a confrontation – taming the spirit into domicile conformity.
Authentic art demands from the artist (and from the audience) a commitment to and an acceptance of his own volatile and, often, prejudiced inclinations. Authentic art requires authentic representation, which is not possible with political correctness, because political correctness is, supposedly, free from agenda.
There are situations that necessitate Political Incorrectness (or, my preferred term, wrongness). A lot of what we consider humorous satire, a lot of what we call literature, is for the most part cleverly concealed with blatant prejudice. Satire – whether humorous or literary – is a highlight of human error and cannot be represented in a manner that could be considered, “politically correct.”