I cringe every time the subject of political correctness arises because I NEVER seem to hear an enlightened opinion. The general concept seems too vague to be relevant. I suggest it can only be realistically examined in particular examples.
In a perfect world people would think carefully before speaking or acting, and would demonstrate respect where it is due, and take responsibility for their words and actions. I realize that the human ego works against all of that, and for most people, any of that is a lot to ask.
Most people who I hear complaining about political correctness, seem to resent it as a cumbersome new code-system suddenly required to protect them from unjustified criticism. In other words, they come across as dingbats who don't know that they are dingbats and are mystified to be finally treated as such.
I personally don't give a flying care what kids look like at Halloween because they are just kids who are bribed by candy to look silly for us. Whether you dress up as Einstein or a skeleton I would happily surrender the tootsie roll without projecting arbitrary social interpretations onto the poor kid - concerning physics or flaying.
With Christmas just around the corner I shall grab hold of the nearest bolted-down object and steady myself for the coming onslaught of grating carol broadcasts and Greeting Debaters. I’m not aware that there is any intelligent debate to be had or ever was.
As a human being, you can either think about what you say before you say it, or you can be dull. You can either say what you mean, or be a dunderhead. You can mean to be respectful or you can be an asshole.
There are no inherently correct or incorrect seasonal greetings. It always depends on who you are and who you are communicating to: how wise, present, dull or dunderheaded you are being.
Let’s remember what Merry Christmas means. It is short for, “It is my wish that your Christmas will be merry!” Thus “merry Christmas” between Christians is perfectly appropriate obviously. And as a former Christian I do not manufacture imaginary harm by hearing it (Don’t get me wrong. I still like the dude but I’m allergic to some of his worshipers’ habits).
Example two: Wishing “Merry Christmas” to someone of a specific faith who does not celebrate Christmas but rather a specific winter ceremony of another name, is either presumptuous, dull or insincere, depending how well we know the person and their particular divine bents, or whether we give a damn.
And… example three: A government-sponsored billboard which wishes “Merry Christmas” to the public appears balefully ignorant of the fact that much of the taxation which pays for such trinkets comes from non-Christians or else was chosen to speak to a limited sector of its public and not to others, which is surely fiscally inefficient!
I won’t bother addressing those who claim that Canada is a Christian nation and “Merry Christmas” ought to rule unimpeded (if such dinosaurs still exist). I will flatter myself so much as to assume that no one of that intellectual quality would be reading this blog.
Frankly, I don’t care what anyone says to me, or around me, in between credit card transactions this jolly Productfest Season. Say what you want and let it reveal something about you!
To anyone who resents this concept and wishes to dribble arbitrary Merry Christmases everywhere you go, with clemency, as I have often done, it is surely no great crime. But it reveals we are lazy, insincere or both, and would be a far more honest person if we kept our mouth shut instead of issuing artificial sentiments from the tongue and not the heart.
Or if we all agree instead that we like artificial sentiments from the tongue as a societal behavior model, then why should it matter what the hell the words are?