What the heck is political correctness anyway?
How can an ordinary, everyday person-me, for instance-differentiate between language that is offensive and language that is not offensive, when the same word is used in both examples? For example, the word "moron". "Moron", of course, means retarded. I don't think there is any other meaning for the word in English. It used to have an actual medical-terminology use, in the olden days before almost any of us were born. It was a subcategory of mental retardation, at one time, when it was vitally important for some reason to differentiate between people with IQs of 40 vs. IQs of 20.
For some reason, that was once vitally important.
And a "moron" was a person with a relatively higher IQ than an "idiot" or an "imbecile".
Yet this term has no current medical meaning; it is, simply put, now only used as an insult. Period. It is used in place of "retard", "idiot", or "imbecile". Often preceeded by the superflous "stupid", (which could be read as a comment on the speaker's own language abilities, but I digress).
And lately, or in the last couple of years, heard often in the same phrase as "red state", as in "red state moron". It's related to the news-pundits' use of red and blue to color the states who vote Republican and Democratic in national elections, red being Republican and blue, Democratic. The phrase apparently means something close to "redneck", or perhaps knee-jerk reactionary. It's hard to keep the insults straight, and I prefer to read and avoid talk-radio, so I may not be totally clear on the latest uses of this...term.
So, back to wondering about "political correctness":
There is a medical blog often cited (in some circles) and a recent host for "Grand Rounds" (a weekly round-up of healthcare related blogs) called "Red State Moron". I suppose the title is an attempt to be ironic and satirical.
It is ironic; it is written by an obstetrician who also practices maternal-fetal medicine. He has, in fact, written several posts based on ultrasound images of babies who will be born-not to put to fine a point upon it-meeting the old-fashioned definition of that insulting and irritating and infuriatingly awful word "moron".
Since the blog's author did not respond to my email asking him how a practicing physician who will have to counsel couples prenatally diagnosed with a fetus whose birth will result in a child with intellectual impairment can use the word "moron" in the title of his blog, I thought I'd ask some of you:
Is my reaction simply "political correctness" run rampant?
mary ("Emily's mom", after all)