"PC", the rest of the story (was Re: Gender issues (was HUMOR: A

Michael Butler (mbutler@ocv1.ocv.com)
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 18:20:28 PST

What I've always heard is that "politically correct" started as a


<Destry looks at his sixguns for a looong loong time...>

I repeat, "Was you _dere_, Fritz?" Did you read publications being
circulated on college campuses in the '60s and '70s? Do you know
anyone whose hands don't work right anymore because of years in
Siberia after conviction on a charge of political incorrectness? I
know I've done the first, and I _believe_ I qualify on the second
count, but I can't bring myself to broach the question directly to
that person--I'm not close enough to him to feel like it would be
other than a ghoulish mini-spectacle.

I'll do my best to find you cites if you like. I remember reading
translations of Maoist writings in the 70's and they didn't sound
like they were joking. Does the term "revisionist" ring a bell? Are you at all
cognizant that revisionism was worth the death penalty if the Red
Guard decided you had been too successful at it?

What authority would you accept for authentication of my claim?
Do I have to track down some Ukrainian NKVD/KGB has-been, and deliver
him to your door, or will a paper trail do?

I have a friend whose parents were-are authentic Reds, scholars and
activists (and college professors, both of 'em), of Hungarian extraction.
His mother is, I believe, still living. Shall I have her write you a note?

I'm serious, here.

Do you have any conception of how deadly-serious the official
policies of the USSR and the PRC were, whenever it suited whoever was
turning the crank on the torture-lobotomy-forced labor machine?

(note: of *course*, there was selective enforcement; but the first
rule was "be _quiet_").

themselves, or about other leftists who didn't have as much humor.
Then either the latter leftists took the phrase seriously and started
using it or someone on the right thought the laughing leftists were
using it as serious condemnation and things took off from there.

Yes, that's the "sanitization" I'm talking about. But the
less-serious leftists were mocking the _real_ sentiment of the
more-serious ones: that only "*true*" Marxist(-Leninist, -Maoist)
thought was tolerable, and in particular that deviations must be
pruned, brutally if need be. Ever hear about Beria and Trotsky?

Of course, there were relatively few pogroms and hardly _any_
work-till-you-drop camps in Berkeley, etc. Bully for them.

Assuming that it was all a joke is comforting, I suppose.

Eppur si muove. If it's all a myth, I'll buy you a dinner, $100
limit, gratuity and tax included. What odds do you offer?

MMB (old fart), at but not for OCC