Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Dishonest Atmosphere: Why I HATE Political Correctness.

Political correctness is where you get to make your problem my responsibility. Thus a variant of Chapter 4: "Now I've Got You, You Son-of-a-Bitch!" from:

Games People Play: The basic handbook of transactional analysis.
by Eric Berne MD, beginning on page 85.

I routinely misinterpret or misunderstand visual data, especially of an artistic nature. I have a severe limit to my visual input, as I'm legally blind. I have chosen to have fun with this difficulty, therefore moving it from something others have to contend with, into something we can laugh about. I accept the reality of my vision and am not afraid of, or ashamed of it any more.

MacPhilly is an extremely creative individual. I doubt he has ever met a ‘change’ he didn't like. This is just who he is. I’ve gotten into the habit of quickly scanning his websites to look for the small adjustments and additions which routinely appear. I always note them, but usually forget to mention them. I share part of a recent email exchange:

I have been meaning to mention this to you for the longest. I really like the snow and now you've changed it again! VERY cool!

liked the snow? changed it???

You added dots to the normally uni-color background on, banner, (up above the little box-links that run across the page), and then added vertical lines to the array of random dots. I assumed it was supposed to be snow. I don't think I'm THAT tired? Whatever it is, I like it!

Oh! It's a leopard skin background ;-)

I laughed so hard at this exchange, I haven’t figured out my private response! My thinking proceeds along these lines. A leopard? I have to try and remember what they look like - oh yeah. But why would you put a "MacPhilly” logo wearing a Santa hat on a Leopard skin background? God, what a creative and fascinating mind you have!

I swear, if I had the money, I’d pay to put MacPhilly in an MRI and do one of those ‘live’ experiments, where he’d think of stuff and the MRI would record what parts of his brain light up and in what colors. I bet it would not only expand our knowledge of the human brain, but also be beautiful, colorful art! Unlike most of us, I bet he uses a lot more then 10% of his brain.

Returning to political correctness, there is a truth in life. When you learn how to accept your value as a human being is when you can accept the positive treatment given to you by others. Political Correctness has it exactly backwards. I can’t count the times nice people attempted to 'reach' me, but I was totally closed to the idea that I was worth anything. Therefore, I ignored them and their kindness. Political Correctness is a way of making our entire culture dishonest and co-dependant. A co-dependant lives their life with 'your' needs uppermost in their mind. This is not a healthy giving away of oneself. Health says, “I’m content at the moment and am willing to postpone my wants, to be of service to you. I will get my stuff later.” (And the healthy person actually accomplishes this.) A co-dependant becomes a martyr, in the name of 'helping' others.

"I’ve got you, you son-of-a-bitch!" has hostility and contempt buried within a Politically Correct motif. My totally blind friend doesn’t like the reality of her complete lack of vision. I don’t blame her. I’m not at all pleased with the limits of my low vision either. I just have gone beyond needing to attack the fully sighted for being able to distinguish between a drawing of a snow flurry and a leopard skin.

MacPhilly responded absolutely correctly. He felt no need to ‘sugar coat’ the truth. He made no apology, but simply corrected my misunderstanding along with the smile he experienced when he realized how our brains just weren’t "on the same page"! A politically correct MacPhilly might have felt bad, guilty and or uneasy. His language would have take on a more reflective, self deprecating and dishonest tone. “Its supposed to be a leopard skin, but I can understand (not ‘see’), how you could interpret (avoiding all ‘visual’ references), my attempt at art, as snow” Oh pa-lease! (If I ever got a message, like that, from MacPhilly, I’d try to get him immediate medical assistance!)

This is not to say that MacPhilly is not courteous or sensitive. But he knows who and what he is. He makes no apologies. I’m discovering my very strong commitment to blogging and the mental health of others. I know someone will be helped to see my honest and (at times) less than noble, struggle for mental health. If somebody has a problem with that, I say: “Okay, you don’t have to read it. This is who and what I am”. Hello adulthood! We’ve got to return to telling the truth.

My friend is on a crusade to re-educate me. Here are her conditions for communication:

Can't discuss:

  • irony, doesn't understand it.

  • visual subjects, can't relate to it BECAUSE SHE IS TOTALLY BLIND! (Tries to make me feel like an idiot)

  • my earrings, its disgusting materialism and pride which she doesn't possess.

  • my vacations, hotel adventures, not based in 'reality' she prefers to have 'real' friends, not pretend friends who are only kind to me because 'its their job.'

  • computers, doesn't understand it. means nothing to her

  • Police science or true crime, too violent, sick, it upsets her

  • Philosophy or religion, Unless she's into it, its boring, organized religion is for the weak.

  • science, can't relate to it, its beyond her

  • comedy, I'm too visual, she gets frustrated BECAUSE SHE IS BLIND...

  • current events, too negative

  • My blog, doesn't want to hear about it, as she feels it only reflects my continued mental illness.

which leaves? Food, but not Gourmet, too pretentious!

Looking at this list in the cold light of reality I am forced to ask myself if this kind of self-editing has any benefit for either of us. I can do it, just like I can testify in a court of law, but is this really a friendship? Sometimes I'm amazing at missing (or ignoring) the obvious!

If I ever attempted to straight jacket my friends (especially her), like this, they'd be gone within days! Adults don't have time for this silliness. This woman complains of her isolation. I believe it is a form of painting herself into a corner. (Oops, used a visual image there!) I believe this is a form of locking herself in a prison of her own design. (Now, don't I feel better, having come up to our Brave New World of enlightenment?) Hell NO!

I realize, with some surprise and sadness, that I've been her whipping post for months and my deliberate withdrawal of the parts of my communication, which trouble her, will terminate our relationship. I feel CyberGal gearing up to do EXACTLY what this crusader thinks she wants. I'm going to humbly apologize for inflicting all that pain on her and let her talk. Since most of her life is about trapping others in their conversation, she will become very uneasy having to confront herself.

This is a drag. Happily, it is a rare event. Most of my friends are real friends. They don't need to put me down to lift themselves up. Mental health says: "I don't bring healing to anyone by being a whipping post." So, here are the lyrics to the song I'll be silently singing, until this lady tires of hearing her own voice in response to my 'politically corrected' non-conversation (since 99% of my being bothers her!)

Overdue goodbye

written by Anastacia Newkirk - B. Mann

album: Freak of nature
released: 2001

This is a message, pay attention;

I got something to say,

blessed information.

This is me walking,

That's you waving;

this my get away,

my taste of freedom.

Goodbye, goodbye.

This is a calling, not a conversation

This is not a game, no manipulation

If love is a season, you are my winter

You are just the ice laying on my finger.

This is a message, pay attention;

Nobody's gonna love me the wrong way again.

This is a calling, not a conversation;

this is my overdue goodbye.

Yeah, overdue goodbye.

Oh in my tomorrow all the fields are golden

And all the papers say that the spell's been broken.

To my future lover - Fate will find you

'Cause you have the power Of truth behind you, yeah.

Goodbye, goodbye.

This is a message, pay attention;

Nobody's gonna love me the wrong way again.

This is a calling, not a conversation;

this is my overdue goodbye. Goodbye.

But, what do I do with my Christian commitments here? I haven't decided that question, but am becoming aware that being a whipping post feels wrong. I am pondering this situation, as I am more willing then I've ever been to try and do what God wants me to do. More than likely, my friend and I will discover new things we can truly enjoy together. I am sad for her and the very real isolation she has and is experiencing. I hope to help her find a better answer in Christ, but it is God who does the work. I have to stay open and willing. I'm pretty sure being routinely punished for who and what I am is not a healthy response. God will show me a better way. When I get it figured out. I'll write it up for you all.

Patience is really hard for me. I don't like unresolved dangling things. I have found that hanging out with God every day, just to be there with Him, has given me more tolerance for the unresolved. Through His Grace, I'm finding the courage to stand, "... Hold my peace and let The Lord fight my battles - until victory is mine!" I am going to make a serious effort to be more aware of my friends touchy areas. That is a healthy thing, up to a point. The script isn't finished and since God is the author, I bet something wonderful, good and totally new will grow from the pondering and questioning I'm engaging in now.

1 comment:

MacPhilly said...

Hmmm. This is just my limited view point, but from your description it sounds like your friend is narrow minded, full of self-pity, judgemental and needs a kick in the pants. Of course, that's just me - the person known to be a "crotchety old tactless bastahd." (spelling correct for reflection of the Boston type accent required to say it properly)

All kidding aside (no I wasn't kidding about the above) I can understand her frustration at hearing idioms that are sight based because she has no frame of reference and therefore a lack of understanding of the type of point trying to be communicated.

Other than that, the limitation of conversations, etc. Well, she just needs to lighten up a bit. I have friends that are nothing like me and if I go off about blogging to them they'd look at me like I have 5 heads. You know what, I generally won't mention it. BUT, if something really cool happens that I can share with them and I can help them to understand without telling them a 15 minute story, then I share. Heck, why not! After all, I've got a buddy that's a plumber. He tells me all about plumbing. Do I care about plumbing? NO. I do care about my buddy. I'm excited for him. It's interesting to hear what his job entails. I learn more about him, his talents, his goals, his ambitions and achievements. Of course, he realizes that normally I'm about as knowledgeable about plumbing (and as interested) as he is about blogging. So, he doesn't go on all day either. But, he does share.

So, what's happened here? We both consider the other person. Because we're friends, we still like to share important things. Because we're friends we both listen to the other talk about things that are important to them. We both learn. We both grow. That's a healthy friendship.

What you're describing sounds more like a ministry opportunity, not friendship. Hopefully, in time by sharing the truth in love it will be a friendship in the future.

Always remember... LOVE. It's the most powerful force in the universe!