To Be PC or Not to Be PC

This is today’s prompt from the WordPress editors’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts.

Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion?

Knee-jerk answer: Yes to the latter half of the question. Slightly more thought-out answer: Not when people make it a point to be non-PC and end up embarrassing themselves with the candidness of their remarks, or not when people make it a point to be PC and end up saying what amounts to a bunch of nothing because their true intent was so deeply hidden behind weasel words.

Choosing words carefully is important, but when your word choice actually obscures your true thoughts or opinions instead of clarifies them, then you’re probably erring on the side of too much political correctness. Private citizens can be blunt and brash because they do not have as much to lose as a big-name politician or celebrity. However, at the same time, certain politicians and celebrities feel as though they can eschew political correctness, say whatever they want, and get away with it. In a way, with great popularity comes great responsibility.

If you are popular, people listen to you, and chances are, they tend to take you seriously. For politicians, that means being PC so you don’t lose a single person in your voter base. For celebrities, that means being irreverent and ridiculous so your name stays on the cover of Us Weekly. Both approaches are wrong. If you are lucky enough to have people who listen to you, take you seriously, and perhaps even want to imitate you, then you’d better weigh your words and make certain that what you’re saying is actually something of importance.

In short, I wish people would speak the truth more often and do less hiding behind a façade, whether that be of measured political correctness or hysterical bravado.

Carefree

The WordPress daily prompt struck a chord with me today. The word was “carefree,” so what first comes to mind when I hear it is the fact that I am not a carefree person at all, even though I wish I was. Some things in life have to be navigated with care, but there are many smaller decisions that do not require as much thought. Because I overreact to things, I tend to give the smaller decisions more time than they deserve.

I wonder if “cautious” is the opposite of carefree, but I think that designation would go to “careless.” It’s good to be cautious, but sometimes, it’s best to throw caution to the wind, grab life by the horns, carpe diem, and any other cheesy saying that motivates you to just go out there and stop worrying so much!

Here’s to being carefree!

Crossroads

The WordPress Daily Prompt word of the day is “crossroads,” which immediately made me think of the movie of that name with Britney Spears in it, which I didn’t watch because I assumed it would be as awful as it sounded.

And that makes me think of celebrities, which makes me think of Prince, who passed away not too long ago. I was never that big of a Prince fan, and I think I’ve only heard three songs by him: “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “When Doves Cry,” which are probably the ones most often played on the radio.

It’s always kind of strange when a celebrity or a well-known public figure dies. I remember feeling a similar way when Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, and Antonin Scalia died. You’re so acquainted with these people’s work or legacy that you feel as if you actually know them on some level, and you’re really crushed when they’re gone because there’s never going to be anyone exactly like them again.

It’s horribly cliché, but it’s true: everyone’s unique. If you look at the obituary section of the local paper, you get a cold, mechanical list of names and ages and places of death. Not even the little blurbs in the paper really testify to what the person achieved in his or her lifetime or who loved that person or what that person loved.

“Society” and “the world” want you to believe that you’re easily replaced, that your abilities and talents and skills are interchangeable with those of another person. Society likes to put people into neat little boxes, and the world wants you to believe that ultimately you are nothing more than a blip on the screen of the universe. Just another human. Nothing special or unique about you. There are a million other people who are just like you.

The reality is that everyone is as unique as Prince or Michael Jackson or any other well-known celebrity or public figure. But not everyone gets commended for it in such a large way, and not everyone has such reach. That’s why it bothers me when little kids aspire to be pop stars and famous athletes and are upset when their dreams don’t come true. And so many people struggle so much to achieve the dream of becoming well known and adored… and they don’t know their own worth, so they have no idea that they’re just fine as they are.

I believe God created everyone for a purpose, and some people simply have a purpose that reaches a greater amount of people. The key is to “bloom where you’re planted,” I suppose.