By Chelsey Albert – Cougar News Contributor
Why is there a constant pressure to say not what we feel, but what we should say? I find it slightly amusing that in a world of free speech, we must constantly tip-toe around any possibly offensive comments. Yes, I too am one of those people who rail against verbal oppression, but really I’m just asking everybody to stop getting their panties in a twist.
Political correctness in its most primitive form is a good idea. For the sake of preventing daily riots, there are some words and phrases that should never ever be said in public; however, since some things do need to be said, political correctness allows us to soften the blow and sugar coat the vile pill of truth that we occasionally need to take. This method of replacing offensive words with socially acceptable ones is a good practice, but how far do we have to go before we can go through a single day of speaking our minds without offending someone somewhere?
The answer to that question is we can’t! Let’s face it; you can’t please everybody. When a serious matter is involved it is important to not alienate your audience, but when did PG-13 rated jokes become taboo? We all enjoy a good off-color joke now and then, but people are so easily offended these days because there’s nobody to stand up and say “Stop whining and get a sense of humor!” Last month I was sitting in the green room at the Comedy Store, Hollywood, and a comic casually asked if anybody would like to hear a classic priest-and-a rabbi joke. At that point a woman in the back burst into the room shouting “Wait! Wait! I’m Jewish! My grandmother died in the Holocaust and Jew jokes are very offensive to me.” After that I had to express my condolences to my fellow comics, never before have I seen a mood so quickly yet brutally killed. The problem with this scenario was not that she was offended, but that she had to drop what she was doing so that she could thwart the evil joke from reaching the ears of those who might see the punch line as (Anonymous-Being-of-Supernatural-Origin forbid) humorous.
If you find what someone is saying to be offensive, stop listening! We live in a wonderful time when escape is as easy as changing the channel or turning up the volume on your iPod. Many so-called offensive remarks are not made with hate, but humor. Political correctness is an oppression that is enforced by the people themselves. You may not realize it, but when was the last time you heard a racist joke and didn’t do a quick perimeter scan to make sure there was nobody who could have been offended? There are no government agencies monitoring your conversations for political correctness, but the world is full of people waiting to jump out from behind a bush and tell you that you have somehow hurt their feelings. There is a solution to this madness: learn to laugh.