The art of being politically correct

I don’t think anybody can neglect to acknowledge how politically correct our nation has become. I speak specifically of our nation because, well, I’m American. I don’t know what the heck is going on in other countries. It may be the case elsewhere as well, but I can only speak of what I’ve noticed here in my homeland.

First of all, what is politically correct? You hear it all of the time, but don’t always pause to think of its meaning.

Without actually looking it up, it essentially means to try to say the right things to appease everyone all of the time. It’s the way politicians talk, hence the name. To succeed in politics, you need everybody to like you. To accomplish that, you have to avoid saying anything controversial all of the time. You can never let your guard down — you have to compliment people a lot, and you have to treat everybody like human beings.

So the question becomes — why does everybody need to be politically correct? Not everybody is running for elected office.

Well, the answer is simple. Social media. Ten years ago, if you were not famous, you could live as freely as you wanted to. As long as you didn’t physically assault people, or shout racially charged obscenities on the street, then you could pretty much get away with a lot of stuff, and most people would be none the wiser.

But now, with Twitter, with Facebook, with Instagram, it’s all out there for the world to see.

Of course, the more well-known you are, the more politically correct you must become. If you work in a profession that requires a positive reputation — like as a doctor, a teacher or a professional athlete — then, naturally, you have more of a responsibility to keep your nose clean.

For the rest of us, who are barely known outside of our circle of friends, there’s much less of an obligation to do so.

But still. You never know. In today’s and age, where everyone is just one Tweet away from becoming famous, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. About 2,000 things go viral every day — one day it could be you.

Let’s do an exercise right now. I want everybody to take a look at their last 10 Tweets. Of them, how many can be used to misrepresent you in any way or form? Do they contain curses? Do they carry any hint of bigotry? Did you post a nude photo? “I was just kidding,” or “I didn’t think anybody would actually see it,” isn’t going to work anymore.

If you answered yes to any of those, and you suddenly became famous overnight, you’re screwed. And if you’re a girl and answered yes to the last question, email me. But seriously, just take a look at Sorority Girl. She was a nobody one month ago, then she sends a profanity-filled email, it goes viral and her Twitter gets exposed. Within days, she deletes her account, becomes the laughingstock of the Internet, and resigns from her sorority, effectively losing the one thing she had in life. She’s still hot as hell, though. And if you’re reading this, email me.

Learn from Sorority Girl.

And as a side note, if average people need to start using caution, just think about how careful actual politicians have to be. For Barack Obama to have the squeaky clean record that he has, it must mean he’s a pretty well-behaved dude. Because there’s nowhere to hide anymore. Am I right, Mitt Romney?

A rule of thumb that us regulars can go by is to always Tweet — or post on Facebook — like you’re going to become famous tomorrow. So if thousands of people were to flock to your Twitter feed, you won’t destroy your own image less than 24 hours into your newfound fame.

Even loyal readers will have noticed that my blog has become much more politically correct over the years. Do I still relentlessly mock stupid people, patterns and behaviors? Of course. But I try to do it with a little less venom. I try to swear less. Because you just never know.

I didn’t use as much discretion in the past. Consequently, if you Google search “Amanda Seyfried worst actress” or “Lent is stupid,” my blog comes up near the very top of the search results. That means that there is actually a semi-realistic chance that Amanda Seyfried could have stumbled upon my blog, if she was wondering one day about her public perception in a negative manner. Just think about that.

And Amanda, if you are reading, my opinion on your acting skills has actually changed since I saw Les Misérables. I thought you were phenomenal in it. Email me.

Anyway, the big worry I have with this nationwide transformation to political correctness is that it’s going to carry over to how people act. It’s one thing to worry about your Internet behavior, where there is an actual record. But what you don’t want to see is average people start to become monks in real life. I don’t need people to start congratulating me for no good reason via text message, or calling me “buddy” on Gchat. I just want people to act how they really are.

We’ll see how this goes. If the trend continues, then maybe we’ll be living in some Care Bear-like Utopia by 2020. That actually might be kind of cool.

Also, I’m glad I went this whole post without managing to say something that’s not politically correct.

Fuck all Canadians.

Whoops.

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