Well, not just books. All types of media.
Believe it or not, though I read mostly non-leftist to conservative leaning, anti-SJW blogs, I’ve noticed that political correctness is still something that exists. It’s just that the Overton Window has shifted. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
The first time I noticed this was with my first scuffle with John C. Wright. I want to point out now, I’m not bringing this up as a way to dredge things up with Mr. Wright, who I have a lot of respect for. And he apologized, and I accepted. So I’m not returning to that argument. I’m just acknowledging the reaction. To wit: Mr. Wright claimed I had a darkness in my soul and was, essentially, a secret nihilist.
Because I liked “Silence of the Lambs”.
Why did I like it? Well, the acting was great, and it was a horror movie that was actually, legitimately frightening. Why else are you watching a horror movie? But “Silence” beat out “Beauty and the Beast” for the Oscar that year (as it should have, by the way – Shots fired!), and horror movie or not it had a nihilistic philosophy and portrayed Hannibal the Cannibal sympathetically. So even though it was designed to be horrifying and advertised that way, and it was an entertaining watch, I am WRONG for liking it.
And forget ANYTHING about racism. I mentioned in passing, again at Wright’s place, that I liked the play “Fences” by August Wilson. I don’t think it’s the masterpiece many claim, but it’s well-constructed with good dialogue and some powerfully written characters. But I was wrong to like it. Why?
Well, according to Mr. Wright, it was not the “steppin’-fetchin'” dialogue that was the problem (the black folks in the play spoke like, you know, poor Southern black folks), but that the characters did not act like “any black people he knew”. Well, I dunno. Their actions and motivations seemed to be consistent and logical to me. It’s fiction. Isn’t that what we should be looking for?
Truthfully – and Wright didn’t say this, I hasten to add, and certainly would deny it – my impression is that the real issue is that it talked about racism against blacks. Which was a real and horrible thing. And that meant, in this play, in this context, white folks were not portrayed sympathetically. A lot of people, I guess, are tired of that nowadays, and I get that – but that play is still a quality piece of work, well-written and with legitimately good points to make.
Liking “Fences” is normally the politically correct thing to do. But not in the circles I frequent. In fact, where I normally read and comment, it is actually politically incorrect for me to like “Fences” or “Silence of the Lambs” (bizarrely enough, “Rain Man”, of all things, was on Mr. Wright’s Hollywood shit list, for reasons I still don’t understand).
I don’t mean to pick on Mr. Wright here; in fact, consider this something of a compliment to him, in a way. I also read and comment at Vox Day a lot, and I wouldn’t dream of saying this stuff there, because I know I would get abuse heaped on me. While Mr. Wright reacts strongly, it’s probably not as strongly as Vox would react, and his commenters are much more civil. And he hasn’t yet banned me.
Further up and further in, however, we get to things like the monarchy discussion.
Criticizing pick-up artist Roosh is another one. In most places, it would be the politically correct thing to criticize Roosh. But on the blogs I frequent, if I point out that Roosh actually says and does very little we should be condoning, I get trashed. Why? Because SJW’s don’t like Roosh, which is somehow supposed to automatically make him “our side”. Thus, where I write and read, it is politically incorrect to criticize Roosh.
And let’s not even talk about criticizing either the American government (as in, our system of government) or, worse, the dropping of the atomic bombs. What are you, some kind of commie?
And believe me, this is undoubtedly political correctness. It’s why I sometimes hesitate before, on another blog, saying I like something. For example, I enjoyed reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”. But what if I say it? Will I be roundly mocked or attacked? Probably. What if – Heaven forbid! – I end up liking a book written by John Scalzi? Or if I don’t hate the new Muslim Ms. Marvel comic (I’ve read worse)?
I’m not even really criticizing all of this, by the way. I’m just pointing out, for all of our “side’s” talk about opposing political correctness and SJW’s, there is ALWAYS going to be an Overton Window. We just need to make it sure it lines up with the right things – and maybe not focus so much on attacking people who simply disagree with you.
And as a last note – No, I am not saying I’m definitely any better on this point. But it’s a general musing all the same.