Political Correctness: When something is written it generally will attempt to capture the thoughts , ideas, ideology and cultural nuances of the writer. These can be greatly influenced by nationality, culture, religion and the era that the writing originated. What was “Normal” for the 12th, 15th, or 20th centuries may not be within what is our normal now.
I see myself as a reasonably empathetic and intelligent man of the 60s, but i’m constantly outhinking myself these days for the fear of upsetting someone by something I may say, something that I see as perfectly innocent but others may be outraged by. Context is what is all important here. If we continue this assault on the words of the past we may lose the ability for critical reflection in the future.
We may never see the writings of Byron, Keats, Shelley or great Irish writers like Behan, Enright and Doyle being repeated because of a fear driven agenda, music lyrics may end up becoming a mish mash of sanitised claptrap and the independent film makers may just as well take up knitting.
The past helps inform the future and helping each other deal with the sensitivities of something that my effect us is a very normal thing. I personally struggle with some of the writings in relation to the Mother and Baby era in Ireland but I will fight tooth and nail for me and my ilk to not be outraged at being referred to as Bastards because that was the “Norm” of the day.
The wider the gap becomes between the left and the right, the rich and the poor, the more we watch and the less we experience , the more we expose our sensitivities and righteous indignation. When baby its cold outside was written no one was offended by it, when fairy tale of new york was written it was hailed as a piece of artistic greatness, but today they are somehow a treat to the moral fibre of society.
What has happened to us all, can we not have divergent, oppositional and contrarian opinions and still find it in our hearts to love, live and respect each other. Can We ????
Adrian McKenna is a Social Care Professional ; he has worked for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Member of Social Care Ireland, Social Justice Ireland and sits on the Social Care Workers Board at CORU.