Monday, October 30, 2006

Political correctness or dishonestly polite?

My wife knows I can't stand Mitch Albom. His naivety shows in both his Free Press columns and his radio show on WJR. I read and listen to both as the occasion permits not for masochistic reasons, but I want to be there when he says or writes something that makes sense.

This weekend's column, The mediocrity of today's greatness, made a great point, but probably not one Albom intended as it could only have been written by someone that doesn't recognize political correctness--even when it sings to him.

His column tells a story about a morning TV program he witnessed where three local singers competing for the show's top prize each boasted about their talent then bombed on stage. What surprised the sports-writer-turned-feel-good-author most was the hosts' congratulations for the stunningly bad performances and the audience's applause for what were clearly (to Mitch) horrible performances.

Taking Mitch at his word, I hope the rest of us are not surprised. When you measure someone's effort and they come up short the honest thing to do is tell them they didn't make the cut and send them along with some encouraging words but advise them not to give up their day jobs. How well would any of us steer our cars if our eyes, ears, or sound of screeching metal didn't tell us to correct our course?

Yet, what Mitch described is what political correctness is all about. Political correctness is about dishonesty. It's about applauding someone's plan and ignoring their execution. It's about furthering self-esteem rather than success. It's about social promotions in school. It's being more concerned over minority admissions to colleges than minority scholarship or graduation rates (or is that attention deficit disorder?). Political correctness is the celebration of multiculturalism rather than the criticism of self-destructive behavior.

Just ask Bill Cosby.

Mitch Albom found it ridiculous the contestants even found their way to the stage and even more so the applause their painful performances received. In Albom's exposing the contest for being without merit he made Michigan's Civil Rights Initiative's case that political correctness doesn't belong in public contracting or college admissions.


  1. "Political correctness is about dishonesty. It's about applauding someone's plan and ignoring their execution. It's about furthering self-esteem rather than success."

    The power of this thought is so subtle that it too often goes unnoticed. Yet when the seed of this realization takes root, the fruit it can potentially produce is life-giving.

    Political correctness started as a mechanism to curb insults so that we don't refer to those with limited mental abilities as retards. However, like any slope that is slipperier than it looks, it quickly degraded into a mask to hide failure. Encouragement is good, deception is evil.

    Methinks that this perspective can be applied well beyond the MCRI.

  2. What an apt description of Albom (He is just a mediocre columnist at best, with a severe leftist perspective), and good airing of PC. Thanks for another piercing blog.