Not Replying to Paul

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Sat Sep 25 18:03:02 MDT 1999


>  I'd be very careful about both the term and the concept of "political
>correctness." Personally, I find the term offensive.  (Ironic, isn't it?
>Political correctness is supposed to be the way to avoid giving offense.)
>These days, for the most part, calling something "politically correct" is a
>of dismissing it, marginalizing it and invalidating it.  Why else would
>Maher call his show "Politically Incorrect"?  It's his way of sneering at
>that he so labels, and he's not the only one who uses the term in that way.
>Deaf people are adamant about building their own culture.  To them being
>is not a disability.  Hard of hearing is another trek.  MacDonald, if you
>mind my asking, have you always been "almost deaf" or did you acquire this
>later in life?
>Marta Russell

I don't mind at all.
I was born with a useless right ear and a badly weakened left. Perhaps the
use of the term PC can be done away with, however I do notice the
transgressions in discussions that take place when someone uses a term
someone else has a problem with.
   There are several people in my family who are Pzcisophrenic or something
similar. Their abilities are not "Dis" any longer, one of them has gone from
being inside the hospital system as a patient to being a high player inside
the BC Mental Health bureaucracy. The best part is that she is in constant
danger for speaking out on behalf of the patients rather than the
   On the left here, and I would imagine anywhere, the conceited nature
taken towards the mentally ill is more repugnant often than it is amongst
the rulers. A good comrade of mine recently had a breakdown, and went
"inside" voluntarily.
He is still too depressed these days, but he will be just fine. What has
disturbed me the most about it, is that now he is an anathema to the rest!
No one calls him for actions, events, etc... It is as if he doesn't exist.
He drops by the lefts' hang out, and when I ask him about whether or not he
will be at this or that, he looks at me dumbfounded. I've taken to just
telling him that these things are happening. He shows up and contributes,
and people look the other way when he talks.

Why do I raise this? Because these actions are the problem, not the
vocabulary that goes along with it. Should I be in Australia and meet up
with Gary (sorry to have called him Phil, BTW) and see this kind of
behaviour, I will instantly call him on it. But not for metaphorical words,
wrong though they may be, that he uses to illustrate a point. It is always
the actions that create the problem, the language will vanish when we
eradicate the actions they may or may not represent. Right now, the language
wars have amounted to people who are otherwise totally racist being able to
get away with certain statements by clouding them in the "appropriate"
language. Then there are people who are called racist for the wrong
terminology. We need, rather than to act as word police, to eradicate social
conditions that allow us to have such garbage, in word or deed. I get joked
at for my ear- the same joke can be insulting or funny, depending on tone
and/or intent. When it is insulting or condescending then I say to hell with
you, and give them a good list of why. But not for the words, rather for the
intent and the action of dismissal.

Warm regards,


How many times have I wondered if it really possible to forge links with a
mass of people when one has never had strong feelings for anyone, not even
one's own parents; if it is possible to have a collectivity when one has not
been deeply loved oneself by individual human creatures. Hasn't this had
some effect on my life as a militant- has it not tended to make me sterile
and reduce my quality as a revolutionary by making everything a matter of
pure intellect, of pure mathematical calculation?
       ---Antonio Gramsci, 1926.

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