Thursday, February 19, 2009

Of being PC

If you are at a party, would you argue with a person who says something positive about an incident that you hold in absolute contempt? A few years ago I would have said yes. Now I don't. Not because I have grown wiser, but because I now believe you cannot hammer sense into a person in a setting that is meant for harmless social interaction. Parties are not for serious debates. I have seen that gossip and meaningless chatter goes well at a social do, than meaningful argument about current affairs, local, national or international. PC(political correctness) is the name of the game. Agree with everyone and say yes yes or keep your mouth shut. PC has ruined all intellectual debate that there could be among people. I remember in movies of the 70s where men and women would be gathered in circles, spirits in their glasses and in their hearts, debating away about some topic that they are all passionate about(don't remember which movies exactly.) That, in my opinion, is real social interaction, not the 'hello ji, how are you, sab theek?', 'did you hear about so and so's son?' or 'I love the jadau set you wore the other day'! What happened to the good old arguments between friends about the economy, politics and things like that? Have we become so scared of an argument that we embrace PC like never before?
I think PC also makes us boring. If you are the type who does not like gossip in any way, shape or form, all you have left to discuss is sports or the weather. (on a side note, imagine talking about weather in India. It is so warm today, it has been warm for a long time now, it will be warm tomorrow...etc.) If you are in the US and attending an American party and are in a group of non-Indians, you cannot even discuss sports if you have no idea of football or baseball or ice hockey.
The idea of PC is to not hurt the sensibilities of anyone around. Since there are different kinds of people at a gathering, better say things that are mundane than things that might raise an eyebrow. That I understand. But PC among friends and family? I have seen friends who will speak either about a third friend, a celebrity, sports or weather but not about politics or any other topic that might instigate a debate. Are we afraid of debates? Are we no more interested in conversations that make us think long after they are over? Have we become so robotic that we do not need an intellectual conversation that is food for thought?


  1. I find small talk a torture ...
    Intersting post subject!
    Extremely sleepy right now ... will be back :)

  2. I also belong to the category that finds gossip very boring, love serious discussion (read heated debates) - but I have attended many such parties and yes it did sometime become too much ...

  3. When to be PC is dependent on the people you are with. Having said that, I think the answer to your last question is in the opening line. The solution for this is: 1) Keep your mouth shut with people who have the potential to hurt you. 2) Make a good group of friends among whom you can have intellectual conversations and are not frightened about being yourself.

    Just to mention: This problem arises from the fact that all of us now have a little more ego than previously which makes us very sensitive to criticism. I believe that this is due to the fact that everyone now has access to loads of information (accurate or not) which projects a false image of self-smartness.

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