Saturday, April 16, 2011

Who Knew? I Agree With Dick Cavett.

Who'd'a thunk that I'd agree with a celebrity talk show host?
I’ve never quite understood why this word — “offended” — is so horrifying. What doesn’t offend somebody? And who wants to see, read or write anything that is simon-pure in its inability to offend those dreaded “someones”?
Anyone working in the media can tell you that there seems to be an always-ready-to-explode segment of the populace for whom offense is a fate worse than anything imaginable. You’d think offense is one of the most calamitous things that could happen to a human being; right up there with the loss of a limb, or just missing a parking space...

“What sort of thing offends you, Mr. Cavett?” an interviewer asked me recently. “In other words, what to you is politically incorrect.”

“Anything that is politically correct.”

Such as?

Well, the infantilism of the phrase “the n-word,” for example, and of those of less than fully formed cerebral development who have bowdlerized Mark Twain’s masterpiece because of the references to Huck’s beloved friend in the authentic vernacular of the time. I hate to spoil the fun of the benighted and alleged educators who have even pulled this great book from the school shelves, but Jim is the moral center of the story.

Not much I can add to such clarity.


allen (in Michigan) said...

Cavett's distaste for the politically correct version of the word "nigger" doesn't, it appears, extend to actually using the word itself. Sort of undercuts his premise not to mention making him out to be a bit of a hypocrite.

Left Coast Ref said...

I disagree with allen. I don't think he was avoiding using the word purposefully. The fact that he was calling it "infantilism" in using the current catch-phrase negates the need to use it again in the paragraph. Everyone knows what he was talking about, and to go on and use it again would have been poor writing style.

allen (in Michigan) said...

And depending on other people's knowledge to avoid having to use the taboo word is what? Evidence of courage? Good writing style?


Cavett may be impatient with the taboo but he certainly isn't willing to ignore it.

Left Coast Ref said...

He certainly ignored the Homosexual taboo in the article. I heard Kobe Bryant paid $100,000 because he got "caught on camera" (not in print - you must read his lips) using "a derogatory slur toward the gay and lesbian community". In other words, he called a ref a faggot. Bowdlerizing is more offensive to me since it limits our freedom of speech. Isn't that what our country is all about, freedom?

I might agree with your last line - he isn't willing to ignore that taboo, but does that really make him out to be a hypocrite? Inciting unrest isn't in anyone's best interests. Not using a word, (or self censorship) is a better way of avoiding being PC but not kicking the hornets nest either.

Darren said...

Does the ref have his own jet airplane, is the ref a millionaire?

allen (in Michigan) said...

There aren't that many possible interpretations of Cavett's behavior. He could be a hypocrite for complaining about a taboo but refusing to transgress its boundary or he could be a coward.

As for nobly avoiding the incitement of unrest, once again, please. It's Dick Cavett. You think racial violence is going to explode if Cavett puts the word "nigger" in the same article as the word "faggot"? I doubt Cavett's that impressed with his influence. I know I'm not.

If I had to choose an explanation I'd pick cowardice.

The courage of "progressives" is most often on display where danger is absent. Faced with the repercussions of transgressing the taboo on the word "nigger" Cavett flinches. Cavett may hate political correctness but not enough to confront it.