Is that politically incorrect or what?

‘Politically incorrect’ is one of my least favorite sayings of all time. It is overrated. It is abused. It is also, coincidentally, one of the phrases I use to describe myself.

But why?

‘Politically incorrect’ is one of those sayings that can be applied in a variety of very different contexts. While most often used by conservative shock jocks like Glenn Beck or Michael Savage, I have  heard liberals use it against conservatives, especially when attacking their Christian propensities. In that respect, it is much like the phrase “last acceptable prejudice.” ALL prejudices are acceptable somewhere, so this saying does not have much meaning. To be politically incorrect, you need to violate the political norms and values of a certain ‘in’ group.

What makes me politically incorrect is that I say what I think is the truth regardless of what others feel about it. This is the way we should ALL be. We ALL need to stand for something. In carefully learning, thinking, and choosing sides, I am continually violating the norms of various ‘in’ groups that I might otherwise identify with. This makes me politically incorrect-among liberals and conservatives alike.

I also treat words with the respect that they deserve. I don’t hide behind my politically correct persona when challenged, nor do I expect never to face fallout for what I say. I don’t abandon diplomacy and shoot my mouth off because I can. What someone like Glenn Beck seeks to defend is not political incorrectness, but Political Incorrectness (TM).

Political incorrectness is about saying what you *need* to say REGARDLESS of offense to others.

Political Incorrectness (TM) is about saying what you *want* to say BECAUSE of offense to others…and the privilege of never being challenged on it. This, to me, explains why so many P-IC (TM) shocks jocks say things so often that aren’t politically incorrect at all, but conventional.

It’s not about challenging paradigms, asking questions, or fostering discourse. It is about taking common prejudices and making a show out of them. The value of P-IC discourse comes solely from punchy delivery and the offense the message causes others, not the content.

This is what the average person would call being a gasbag, being shallow, or just plain being a bully. And it is not brave by any stretch of the imagination.

I think this, more so than anything else, explains the maddening propensity that people have to stylize fat hatred as politically incorrect (aside from rampant prejudice, of course.) Fat people are a large enough group of people to create a satisfying vocal fallout, but they are just as easy to put back in their place because of the tendency towards self-hatred. They kick them and kick them  again when they are down.

They have no real power to challenge what’s being said either, so it is virtually guaranteed that they will stay down once they have been kicked in the face. There will be no deathfat women with TV shows promoting the fat cause Glenn Beck style anytime soon.

Fat hatred is also bipartisan. In this age of polarized politics and bridge building, the one thing we can all agree on (in power, that is) is the obesity problem and the people “responsible” for it.

To conservatives fat people are:

-going  to Hell

-Personally irresponsible

-Tax burdens

-Unable or unwilling to work



-Setting a bad example

To liberals, fat people are:

-Tax burdens



-Socially irresponsible

-Environmentally irresponsible

-Setting a bad example


This is the list of “issues” we can allegedly all agree on. This makes fat a target-rich environment for shock jock radio.

It’s P-IC (TM), to be sure, but it’s not politically incorrect.

In the Fatosphere, we pay attention to the tone and inclusiveness of our dialogue and many of us style ourselves proudly politically correct.

But advocating for the rights and inclusion of fat people is not politically correct. Being PC is about the practice of avoiding offense to others, but for a substantial number of people  in the world, being fat in their face is the ultimate offense of which we should be unashamed.

I have no desire to dictate how you define yourself, but I do have a proposal.

None of us here is politically correct. Fat activists are the most kick-ass, politically INcorrect people around.

P.S. I believe that people have the right to say what they want. However, if someone asks you AS A FRIEND to not say certain things because it HURTS them, just do it. That’s not about being politically correct. It’s about manners.


One comment

  1. Emerald · July 19, 2011

    Political Incorrectness (TM) is about saying what you *want* to say BECAUSE of offense to others…and the privilege of never being challenged on it.

    Yes. Thank you.

    It’s also often known as ‘I just say what other people are thinking’, or ‘I call a spade a spade’, or ‘I know the truth hurts, but….’ I grew up with a mother who was like this, so I’m pretty good at spotting it in other people. It flourishes on talk radio (I’m remembering a certain on-air preacher/shrink of a few years back who told female callers that their being hurt by his extreme misogyny was proof that deep down, they knew he was right), but it’s found in all walks of life. And these people always seem to be the most easily offended by anyone who doesn’t agree with them. All the more reason, I find, to keep being yourself, fat or whatever, right at them.

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