Archive for the ‘political correctness’ Category

Finding the right term for the global war on terror

March 27, 2009

The Obama administration wants to retire the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operation”—- This is political correctness pushed by critics who think the old term used by Pres. George W. Bush “justifies human rights abuses including detention and interrogation methods.”

In a directive to administrators and speechwriters, the Obama government seeks to avoid terms like “long war” and “war on terror.” Not everyone supports this fancy recommendation though. Those who know that “a spade is a spade” dismiss this as a wimpy change which lessens the real threat posed by terrorists.

Americans cannot protect themselves by “softening” the terminologies of war. It is dangerous to assume that their enemies will be kind to them by such naive gesture. (Photo Credit: MrMoonKe88; lonesome:cycler) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message” Posted by mesiamd at 3/22/2009

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Cory’s EDSA II apology opens controversies & distrust among Filipinos

December 24, 2008


Calling the EDSA II revolution a mistake, Corazon (Cory) Aquino, one of the leaders of the movement which ousted former Pres. Joseph (Erap) Estrada from power has brought the nation into new controversies. The sudden confession of the ailing former president opened wounds— sowing confusion among doubting Filipinos who bewailed the endemic poor leadership in the national government.

Rather than bridging the often-repeated “reconciliation” among warring political parties, the demure housewife and former chief executive unwittingly exposed the short-sightedness and immaturity of leaders who stood as huge obstacles to the progress of the country. There were those who surmised if cancer and treatment had put her on tremendous strain; her ability to think sanely as before might have taken a beating.

As a devout practitioner of Catholicism, the former president who’s trying to define her legacy as an infuential public servant may have scored high on matters of faith, but she has placed the people in a void of uncertainty whose damage is too early to quantify. The effects are likely to cause lasting shockwaves on how politics will be played in government affairs like the next presidential election. They will cut across the way people will view what is morally right and wrong as they rule over the scandals that see no end.

By seeking Estrada’s forgiveness, Cory repudiated the collective action of her party and those who pushed for an end of blatant thievery, corruption and ineptness during and after Estrada’s administration. The damning evidence of incompetence and plunder laid bare during the 6 years of trial reduced the public to docility and silent acquiescence—- a treacherous problem of Filipinos no wanted to touch.

Like a modern-day soap opera, Estrada’s dizzying legal battle and his privileged imprisonment shown in TVs, radios, and newspapers ended in a conviction hailed by the people. But it was quickly reversed by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA)— herself, a sore symbol of almost all things that had gone wrong with the country. Many believed GMA, the current prexy with an outrageously low approval rating of negative (-30) cleverly pardoned Estrada for political convenience. It was unclear though whether Cory’s apology to Estrada was linked to her frustraion over GMA’s mishandling the government. Cory called on her to resign amidst uncurbed corruption as the wagons of Estrada’s political come-back had rolled in from the first station.

Because of Cory’s change of heart, there are deepening doubts on whether Filipino leaders are up for the job of steering the country to better times. In spite of the early justifications and defense for the widow of Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, her position strengthens the chance of the come-back of the Estrada and his “weather-weather” gang. The Filipinos are left in an impasse: Wala na ba talagang ibang mga magagaling at matitino?

The demoralizing effect of Cory’s declaration puts the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) leadership, a staunch supporter of EDSA II on the defensive. It revives anew the questions on church-state separation and the constitutionality of the power take-overs which left a serious lingering leadership vacuum in all political fronts.

Most of all, it irreparably damaged the Cory brand of uprightness and wisdom she shared with her martyred husband Ninoy Aquino, leaving Filipinos one less of a person to trust and emulate. (Photo Credits: Joe Galvez; Marcial Pontillas21; Marcial Pontillas21; gmaresign; Marcial Pontillas21; Marcial Pontillas21)=0=

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Halloween Hangover

November 2, 2008

For most of us, the celebration of Halloween almost always means fun. The tradition of trick-a-treat, witches, kapre, goblins, ti-anak, jack o’ lantern, bonfires, costume parties, horror movies, and parades has become ever more popular. For the most part, the merriment goes without a hitch.

For Alex Woinksi however, this year’s holiday is different. Donning a crown of thorns and a costume to simulate Jesus Christ, the teenager was forced to go home early from the West Brook Middle School Halloween Celebration in Paramus, New Jersey. That’s upon the advice of his school principal.

It’s the old familiar question about freedom of expression versus the sensitivity and respect towards religion. Liberal society doesn’t see anything wrong with Jesus being impersonated in a pagan celebration like Halloween.

Many accept to see the holy Messiah reviled. He has been depicted as a frog pinned on the cross, prostitute-lover, a homosexual, and a loser immersed in bottle of urine, His mother Mary was “artistically” painted with horse dung—far outrageous than Woinski’s bland JC costume. Liberals and free thinkers justify these indignities as legitimate artsy self-expressions in synch with democratic rights in a modern society.

But those who don’t agree ask about respect over religious beliefs. They know some members of society recklessly push aside sensibility. Can anyone forget the rampage of killings provoked by depicting prophet Mohammed in cartoons published in a Danish newspaper? Does anyone notice how westerners are cowed to repeat the same “sacrilege” towards Islam?

The liberal-secularist point of view seems to play here again. About 75% of respondents in an informal AOL online survey opined it was OK for Woinski to wear the Jesus attire. Many didn’t believe that the costume was offensive to some students. The double-standard people have towards religion and the inconsistency of exercising political correctness make what is right or wrong, relative and contentious. (Photo Credits: Wonksi Family-AOL; pioscor; bcompetent; SD; rewritable) =0=

Banning the words “Muslim” & “Christians” in the media lexicon: ultra-sensitivity & the desire to sanitize reality

October 18, 2008

The Philippines seems to have joined the bandwagon of onion-skinned nations who give lots of thought on words that are otherwise innocuous. Per se, I don’t see anything wrong in using “Muslim” or “Christian” to describe a person, whether he is a criminal or saint. Adjectives make descriptions clear. If one calls a “dirty spade a dirty spade,” then that’s the honest truth. Regardless of whether the spade is sleek clean or dirty, it is objectivity that we desire in communication. Sometimes reality does bite. Risking of minor abrasion, I believe it is better to articulate truth than be restricted from using words that could be helpful in understanding.

The Philippine House Bill 100, now on its way to its third and final reading in congress, proposes to prohibit the use of “Muslim” and “Christian” or any word that indicates religious, regional, or ethnic affiliation. Violators (i.e. newspaper editors using “Muslim terrorists” to describe a convict) are threatened by a hefty fine of P50,000.

Authored by Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara with Reps. Pangalian Balindong, Arnulfo Go, Luzviminda Ilagan, Bienvenido Abante, Justin SB Chipeco, Yusop Jikiri, Raul del Mar and Neptali Gonzales, this bill shows how political correctness has crept into our brain like a neuron-gobbling worm. Why have they become wimpy in describing reality?

The “criminalizaton” of specific words in our media lexicon can be a new road to curtail our basic right for free speech. It is an attempt to sanitize reality and reprogram our way of thinking—perhaps to make as feel good that we don’t offend any religious groups including those who want to harm us— even if nasty, libelous, and more vitriolic words are hurled on us in the media everyday. However good-intentioned these congressmen are, they better be specific with the words they want banned. For fairness and balance, it will serve them well to consider adding more negatively charged words in their list such “discriminatory” terms as lesbian, homosexual, mentally retarded, old, disabled, illiterate, obese etc.

Our legislators say the words “Muslim” and “Christian” create “a sweeping generalization on other members of the race, culture or region” when the words are used to describe a suspect or convict. I don’t think this is true. I believe our rational mind doesn’t think this way, unless certain neutral words are accompanied by qualifying statements that lead to a particular derogatory generalization.

The bill’s stand seems distorted by its own tunnel-vision. There is the desire for political correctness and perhaps an inclination for approval. There is that unexpressed subliminal paranoia that we might want to cast away.

As long as “brandings” only refer to the criminals or suspects, those who are unintentionally linked with them by religious or ethnic associations need not worry. It isn’t the media’s fault. The people who make unfounded generalizations and make unfair conclusions are the ones who are culpable. Guilt by association without evidence is often debunked and doesn’t hold credibility in intelligent news reporting. Our legislators must be mature to understand this.

Congressmen may want this House Bill No. 100 like a comfort Barbie doll for all, but they fail to see that many Filipinos are fair, highly discerning, less paranoid, more considerate, and smarter than they think. Rooting for political correctness and becoming hypocritical in the process, at the expense of truth, is not the way to bring peace in the world. It only adds up to the cumbersome double talk that we are too tired of hearing. In spite of our frailties, let us try to work together to build a more honest world. (Photo Credit: VanLuchi; CiudadanoPoeta)=0=

Frog on the cross: insensitivity that they can’t do to the Moslems

August 29, 2008

In an environment of rising religious insensitivity, intolerance and persecution, a museum in northern Italy approved the display of a frog on a cross, the sacred symbol of suffering and redemption among Christians. (Photo Credit: AP/Seehauser,O.)

Negating religious sensitivity, the museum keepers insist on art freedom for showing a tasteless crappy “sculpture” that cause revulsion and sadness to many— not only to Christians worldwide, but to people of all backgrounds. They seem proudly convinced they are doing the right thing.

For fear of being nuked or killed, they couldn’t do such cowardly act and double standard with the Moslems if Islam’s Prophet Mohammed were to be portrayed in that insulting manner. Such affront to a particular religion must not be tolerated. Hyping a controversy that is likely to cause divisions, is the last thing responsible people need at a time when the world seeks unity, charity, and peace. =0=

Viewing a picture in the prism of race

August 12, 2008

Offensive or Innocuous? A picture of the olympic basketball team of Spain showing players slanting their eyes in reference to the Beijing Games can be dismissed as an innocent joke or a racial insult depending on one’s mood or point of view. Yet in this age of delicacy and political correctness, the picture which appeared in the Spanish newspaper La Marca has drawn some ire and criticisms. To quash further debates, extinguish anger and avoid racially-motivated violence, an apology has been recommended. YahooSports (08/12/08, Chase,C.)=0=

Politically (In)correct?

July 15, 2008

This is the New Yorker’s satirical lampoon which appeared in the magazine’s cover on its July 21, 2008 issue which drew flak from both sides of the political aisle.

The Democratic and Republican parties were quick to notice and condemn the illustration which depicted Barack Obama in a Moslem nightgown and wife Michelle in military boots with AK47, as “tasteless and insensitive.” The caricature artist attempted to make fun of the misinformation used in the on-going presidential campaign—a move some consider to be inflammatory, but others believe to be part of the normal journalistic tradition. PhotoCredit: AP

"In the age of string theory, singularity, and parallel universes, something racist is in a black hole."

July 14, 2008

Political correctness (PC) is straining our ability to express ourselves. It’s confounding our proper use of language, the right way of thinking and looking at things. In our effort to avoid hurting the feelings of our neighbors, we’ve become too careful, sometimes hypocritical in the way we present ourselves.

Until some race-sensitive people who are opposed to being reminded of the label “nigger” (a vestigial remnant of the harrowing days of slavery,) the word “niggard” to denote frugality has fallen out of favor. The words are avoided like the bubonic plague to minimize an affront against the black people.

On the other hand, the term “crippled” is benign. It simply describes a person with restricted mobility until we attach emotional and political meaning on the condition. We decide it should be replaced by softer-kinder terms like “handicapped” or “disabled” to wipe away any discriminatory negative connotations. It’s preferred to call the handicapped “physically challenged” which gives some degree of escape from the derogatory label even if it obscures the true legal meaning of the disability when claims are filed for benefits and entitlements.

The street sign “men at work” has received complaints from feminists who insist that it be changed by gender-neutral words like “people at work.” They say the gender specificity of “men at work” has marginalized women who labor building roads, thus discouraging others to get into jobs dominated by men.

Even science isn’t immune to the demands of political correctness. Color-sensitive individuals suggest “black hole,” which refers to the mysterious dark matter in the vast expanse of space (see photo of NASA) isn’t a good word for mainstream cosmology. In this age of string theory, singularity, and parallel universes, there are those who don’t approve of a “black hole” the way they dislike naming a cake “black forest” especially if it’s beside a white confection called “angel cake.”

Dinesh D’ Souza, a former Pres. Ronald Reagan policy adviser in the White House and author of the 1991 NY Times bestseller book on PC entitled Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex in Campus has this say:

“The term “political correctness” seems to have originated in the early part of this century, when it was employed by various species of Marxists to describe and enforce conformity to preferred ideological positions. Books, films, opinions, even historical events were termed politically correct or politically incorrect depending on whether or not they advanced a particular Marxist interpretation. The revolutionary ideologues of that period were serious people, and there is no indication that they spoke of political correctness with any trace of irony or self-deprecation.”

Eventually the term dropped out of the lexicon, only to be revived in the 1980s, when it came to apply to the assorted ideologies of the late 1960s and early 1970s: black consciousness and black power, feminism, homosexual rights, and, to a lesser degree, pacifism, environmentalism, and so on. The new Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines political correctness as “marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving especially race, gender, sexual affinity or ecology.”

So we’re hooked with political correctness and we invent euphemisms and jargons to make many submit to some conformity of thought and interpretation. We find it hard to eliminate the negativities, apprehension, and paranoia when we find ourselves diametrically opposed to someone else’s point of view. We struggle to see the truth clearly. Therefore, we’ve become tangential, restrictive, and sometimes derisive, in using terms like “guest relations officers” to refer to prostitutes, “erectile dysfunction” for impotence, “senior citizens” for old people, “different” for gays, “mentally disturbed” for crazies, “laid off” for those who lose jobs, and “vertically challenged” for persons with short stature.

Advocates of PC believe prejorative labels lead to stereotyping which limits the dignity, rights, and freedoms of people. But our prickly obsession to be politically correct seems overriding to define a derangement akin to a chronic allergy. That’s why the list of politically correct words gets more complicated each day.

Though political correctness promotes a change that must redress unfairness on matters of race, class, social stature, gender, age, religion, scientific belief, political affiliation or sexual preference, too much PC is starting to cloud our senses. No wonder there are those who believe hypocrisy and political correctness should be interchangeable terms. =0=