Sunday, 25 September 2011

Dead Controversial

11:21:00 Posted by Lindsay 6 comments
Todays guest blogger is Barbara Thomas, who gave The Dead Good Poets' Society their name.

I originally wrote a blog about political correctness and compared it to ‘Newspeak’ from George Orwell’s 1984. However, during my research for the blog I discovered that (once again) I was behind the times as numerous writers had covered the subject and had also noted the similarities to Orwell’s book.

Therefore I decided to re-write the blog and started to investigate the subject further. The subject of the blog I was told, was controversy. Many of you who know me will probably agree that controversial is not a word that would be associated with me – hopefully! I have to warn you now that this may be about to change. For readers who don’t know me let me just give you a little bit of background information. My motto in life is ‘Live and let live’. I like to see the best in people – realising that no-one is perfect, I don’t judge people and believe that a good rule to live by is ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated’. I don’t like confrontation and deplore any sort of violence. That just about sums me up really so what I’m about to write may surprise you – as I believe some people will find it controversial.

During my research today something happened which very rarely happens to me, I came across a site which I found completely intriguing, so intriguing in fact that the next time I looked up from the screen two hours had gone by. I was completely engrossed. As I read through various sections of the site I started to get really excited. It was as if someone had grabbed my thoughts and written them down. I found myself agreeing with almost everything I read. The site is huge and there’s much more that I still haven’t read but, well you know when you discover something and you want to share it with everybody? Well that’s how I felt. I decided to put some quotes from it into this blog then post a link so you could all read it too – which I will do later but first I need to tell you a few things.

Each article that I read made me feel insignificant – as a writer that is. I started thinking ‘I wish I could write like this’ I thought back to my original blog and how amateur it looked compared to what I was reading. I searched through the site but couldn’t find who the author was so I Googled it and found that it was run by a man named Howard Martin. Further investigation revealed that he is connected to the Veritas party. (Space is limited here so look it up) I had a look at the party website and, once again found myself agreeing with the contents. I had vague recollection of the name but knew nothing of the party. Now once again I should point out that you may know of the party already, I often ‘discover’ things that have been common knowledge for a long time!

So why is this information controversial? Well judging by the furious reaction to one of Howard’s articles – which I had enjoyed – I am now assuming that I, along with my ideals are with a tiny minority of people.

I will now post links to the site which impressed me greatly and another link to the Veritas Party website. If you have time have a good read and see what you think. I would be interested to learn if I am out of step with society or if readers of this blog agree with my enthusiasm about the content of these websites.
I look forward to a lively discussion!

Barbara Thomas



vicky ellis said...

Well it is Sunday. I'm up for a bit of political debate on a Sunday.

Barbara, I can see where you are coming from. If you believe what the Veritas Party tells you about Winterval and the motives behind it, and the other extreme examples it uses, political correctness can seem ridiculous and over the top.

I believe that political correctness is a well meant, if occasionally unworkable, attempt to bring some sort of equality to a language which contains many prejudices towards minority groups. The link between language and thought has been long debated, instigated by the work of Sapir and Whorf. For a culture to allow demeaning language to go unchecked is to allow the concepts behind the language to filter down into a new generation as reality.

Nobody should be afraid to speak their mind and I do believe in freedom of speech, however I think that political correctness, if used sensibly and not blown out of proportion, is a sensible approach to redressing some of the cultural bias which is present in our language.

Thanks for the conversation starter :)

Ashley R Lister said...


It's a pleasure to see you here on the blog. And thanks for providing us with such a controversial opening gambit.

My thoughts: political correctness doesn't exist. It's a useful label given out by bigots, twunts and arse-wipes when they discover they can't call a spade a spade anymore without everyone seeing that they're a bit or a twunt or an arse-wipe.

The reality is that there is no formal organisation advocating political correctness. And, if we're supposed to be upset because someone with well-meaning intent tries to reformulate language so that it doesn't cause offence, then our priorities are seriously askew. It's only civil to show consideration, isn't it?


Barbara (The Prude) said...

I do agree with you that PC probably started out well intentioned. Prepare yourself I am about to be very controversial!However, when you say it's an attempt to bring some equality to a language which contains many prejudices towards minority groups, how do you decide what these particular words are?
For example, I have a particular disdain towards the 'F' word so I guess I'm in a minority group. However I choose to ignore it (Not an easy task as it is thrown in my face several hundred times a week) If I do express my distaste I am laughed at or called a snob or a prude. To me, the sensible thing to do is to accept that it is a part of today's vocabulary, grit my teeth and bear it. The other option open to me I suppose would be to complain loudly and start an 'action' group to get the word banned. What would you think if you were told to stop swearing because it upsets a minority group? Would you agree that it should be removed from the language for my sake? I doubt it very much. The point is, whatever people say is bound to offend somebody, somewhere but rather than trying to eradicate certain words would it not be better to educate people into being more tolerant and understanding towards their fellow human beings. That's what I do and it works. Just because I think it's wrong doesn't necessarily mean that it IS wrong.

Barbara the considerate said...

Ashley'Absolutely it is only civil to show some consideration but do you not think that being offended is becoming the National pastime?

Ashley R Lister said...

Being offended could be a national pastime if alcohol wasn't such an attractive alternative.

Very thought-provoking words.


Barbara said...

Just a quick update: Have a read of this blog: