2014 Vintage Year for Political Correctness

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    There’s no denying that 2014 was a vintage year for political correctness.

    In February, Facebook increased its gender list from two – male and female – to 50, including “pangender”, “cisgender” and “intersex”. In June, after integration with the firm’s US gender policy, that figure soared to 71, including “two-spirit person”. (Maybe they should be “consciously uncoupled” like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in March?)

    In July, white, male superhero Thor became a gender bender, too, when he morphed into the “Female God of Thunder”. Critics dismissed it as a “politically-correct PR stunt” but it spurred equal rights campaigners to call for a black Batman.

    In August, Zara was forced to withdraw an “anti-Semitic” sheriff’s T-shirt after a solitary blogger pointed out it looked “similar” to striped garments that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

    In October a billboard ad for the new Mini captioned “topless or bootylicious?” sent masculinity’s wall of shame – Everyday Sexism – into overdrive, with users baying for Mini to “sack your entire marketing team for blatant sexism!”

    In November, a “multicultural Christmas jumper” that represents Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and atheism went on sale.

    Fittingly, Christmas cheer deserted December when the boss of Clinton Cards was forced into a ludicrous, grovelling apology for its “10 reasons Santa lives on a council estate” card – proving that now, even humour is the subject of PC censorship.

    When I appeared on Sky News last week and it was announced that Nigel Farage had blamed immigrants for heavy traffic on the M4, it wasn’t clear if his comments were genuine, a hoax, racist or a knowingly ironic after-dinner joke. Seasoned news veterans had no idea how to react through fear for being slaughtered on Twitter.
    To all of this, do we laugh? Cry? Go and live in a wi-fi free cave? Or do we just bellow, “seriously, liberal offended people, enough is enough!”

    It sometimes feels like 90 per cent of the Western world is operating within a bogus, right-on, five per cent emotional bandwidth.

    Outside of that live the impure of thought – the “them” to the politically correct’s “us”: the racists, sexists, misogynists, fascists, UKIP voters, “the patriarchy”, the anonymous trolls, “privileged white males”, lads, “victim blamers” and a legion of other socially inept undesirables. They should all be treated with suspicion, watched very, very closely and shamed into submission at every opportunity.

    With echoes of George Orwell’s Thought Police, the liberal left has become intoxicated by an internet-fuelled cultural Marxism; a dominion where “Tweeters of the world unite”.
    But instead of rising up against capitalism, Twitter’s proletariat are encouraged to out any perceived sleights of racism, Islamism, jingoism, sexism, genderism, classism, anti-Semitism and whatever other -ism happens to be the flavour of the week.

    In 2014 political correctness ceased to be merely unfunny and tiresome. It got bigger than insisting “gingerbread men” be called “gingerbread persons”.

    It became something altogether more sinister, as a form of McCarthyism emerged, where one misplaced comment lead to kneejerk calls for resignations or bans.
    Worse, what the PC brigade fail to grasp is that living in a perpetual state of not wanting to offend anybody creates a vacuum that can allow insidious forces to grow.
    Some are seriously malignant, such as 2014’s surge in home-grown British jihadists fleeing to fight with IS, and the “Trojan Horse” scandal.

    Both of those social phenomenon went largely unchecked because local authorities and police were afraid of claims of racism – and I say that having reported on these cases and having personally spoken with parents, teachers, activists, senior MPs and police. The same claim has been levelled at the failure to investigate the sex abuse scandal in Rotherham and other grooming rings.

    Other reactions to the shackles of political correctness are more benign, such as the resurgence of online lad culture as a direct backlash to young men being told how to think by aggressive feminists, and the emergence of odious anti-heroes such as Dapper Laughs and Julien Blanc.

    All of which means that, in 2014, political correctness finally got out of control. Intellectually, we are thought-policing each other towards the precipice. And that way, fresh madness lies.

    It’s time to tell the PC brigade to stuff their sanctimonious judgments where the sun don’t shine. And if that offends them, so much the better.


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