For several years now, I've wanted to write a comprehensive rant against the incorrectness of political correctness in America. The problem is that it's just too huge of a topic to handle within the confines of this short column. There are so many things to say about it, so many worms in that can, that every time I try to open it, they scatter into the cracks and cubbies of my skull, never to be seen again.
Of course, I've proclaimed my general disdain for the PC mentality in various writings over the years, but any time I've tried to devote an entire column to the subject, I could never get beyond one, utterly bland summary sentence—a sentence I wrote three years ago, which is saved on my hard drive in a folder called “Sordid Ideas.”
It says, “This is what I hate about political correctness.”
That's it. That's all I have. That's all I've ever had because anything I've tried to add has been instantly deleted.
The idea was to come up with perfect examples in current events that would simultaneously contain the enormity and the minutia of political correctness in America. Alas, such examples I could not find, until last night, during an episode of Supernanny.
OK, first of all, yes, I watch Supernanny. I love that show. Aside from its value to society as a guide for child rearing, it's also a wildly intoxicating weekly train-wreck reminder that birth control is so totally worth the trouble.
In this particular Supernanny episode, a family of five was in ruin. The parents didn't know what they were doing, and the kids—three repugnant demons who slithered from the putrid womb of Satan's goatwife—were in a constant state of rampage. The oldest two were hellions to be sure, but the worst of the lot was the youngest boy, Blake, who was—in a word—tempestuous.
Blake did have a tender side, however. Aside from hitting, kicking and spitting at people at will, the boy also liked to wear lipstick and dress in girly clothes. The father was distraught by this behavior and reacted to it by scolding the boy and taking his lipstick away, a response which greatly offended the nanny.
Now, I adore Jo Frost, aka the Supernanny. She's the Simon Cowell of child rearing. She's brilliant, intuitive, has an English accent and is an opinionated douche. She's just fab. But the way she handled this situation was lousy.
Rather than calmly explaining to the father, during the first “State of the Family” meeting at the kitchen table, why his parental response to Blake was inappropriate, she chastised him for responding at all. His wife agreed, and the two of them jacked the father up for having such a politically incorrect feeling as not wanting his boy to grow up with a little fem in his feathers.
At one point, the Nanny snapped at him rather nastily, “What do you think, he's going to grow up to be a transvestite? Get a grip!”
Of course, the word “bigot” was never used, but it floated over that kitchen table like a giant flyswatter poised to smush his guts. Thus, was the father stifled. And you could tell, just by looking at him, that he wasn't ever going to “get a grip” about his son's cross-dressing, largely because he didn't get to talk it through with the very person who was brought in to help him.
When I watched this all unfold, I said to myself, “Now see, this, right here, in this little encounter, is everything I loathe about political correctness: That it prefers the pounce to the probe. That it doesn't want to hear opposing viewpoints, only to espouse its own. That it doesn't recognize a person's feelings are a person's feelings and Dad can't help having his any more than a transvestite can help wanting to play dress up. And last, but not least, the reason I abhor political correctness in America today is that it never gives the benefit of the doubt.
Just because a person is worried about his child becoming a transvestite, or a transsexual, or any of the other words in the tran family, that doesn't necessarily make that person a tranophobe. Perhaps the father was worried about the boy's quality of living. After all, tranny life is hard. People point, people laugh, people hit. So maybe Dad was thinking a little tough love now might be better than a lot of rough hate later. He'd be wrong, of course—tough love now won't stop his tranthropomorphication should that turn out to be his proclivity, but at least it all would've been discussed, right then and there, on primetime television, had the father not been so abruptly shut down—making Supernanny's reaction to him no better than his reaction to Blake.
What Jo should've said was, “Look, Dad, don't drive yourself nuts over this. Playing dress-up is not uncommon for young boys, and the overwhelming percentage of them grow out of it. But even if it's not a stage, well, the worst thing you could do is humiliate him. That will only make him miserable and confused, which will extend his stay in the closet, which will ultimately delay his confronting the awaiting bigotry, isolation, insecurity and sorrow that assuredly awaits him in this tranophobic society. It will retard, if not sabotage, his ability to cope. The point is, it doesn't matter if it's a phase or not. You love him exactly the same, either way. You encourage him to love himself, either way—to be himself, either freaking way. Not only do you not take his lipstick, you go and buy him the whole girly makeup kit. Then you dress each other up like a couple of Faye's and dance Mamba No. 5 to Perez Prado on the living room couch with the windows wide open for the world to see!”
This is what I hate about political correctness. The father never got to hear that message, the mother never got to hear that message, and the world never got to hear that message, because it was swept beneath the carpet, only to be heard by the dust mites and the dander.