Tuesday, October 8, 2013

reading for misery

One of the most depressing things about the rise of political correctness is that it takes the pleasure out of everything. Including reading. Especially reading. It’s obvious that anyone today who has been exposed to the poison of political correctness finds it very difficult to read for pleasure. The main purpose of reading today is to search a book for examples of thought crime. Every page has to be obsessively combed through for any hidden sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia. etc. The reader’s task is to look for things to get angry about, things to get offended by. Everything has to be deconstructed to the point of destruction.

This is incredibly sad. I’d have thought that the purpose of reading was to find things to be uplifted by. To find things of beauty. Or things we can learn from. Whether you’re reading great literature or lightweight beach reading the ultimate aim is enjoyment. Great literature offers more complex enjoyments but the principle is the same. There’s no point in reading if it offers nothing but misery.

Great literature might, and in fact probably should, encourage us to think as well, but increasing our understanding is pleasurable. If a book offers us spiritual truths then that is something that will makes our lives better and richer.

Literary criticism in the past was focused on finding the good stuff in books, not the bad stuff.

The same argument applies to watching movies, looking at paintings, listening to music, any kind of cultural pursuit.

I’m constantly saddened by people I encounter on the internet who are no longer capable of getting enjoyment out of anything. Recently I came across an internet post by a woman who was going through agonies over her favourite television show. Everything about the show seemed perfect. It had non-white people. It had gays. In fact it had wall-to-wall gays. But there was no transexual character! This woman was torturing herself with the thought that maybe this was indicative of some deeply hidden transphobic agenda. Which of course meant she’d have to stop watching the show! Even modern American television with its mind-numbing monolithic political correctness was still not politically correct enough for her. She is a person doomed to perpetual anger and misery because she will never be able to stop searching for hidden non-PC meanings and subtexts.

That’s undoubtedly one of the reasons conservatives are happier and better adjusted than leftists. We still allow ourselves to get some enjoyment out of life!

1 comment:

  1. Out of interest, was the show Modern Family? I am sometimes annoyed by the brazen PC-ness of that show, but I still love it; good characters, good stories, good humour. Although the show isn't always PC/liberal, like when they portrayed one of Clare Pritchard's old friends, a husbandless, childless "career woman" as having an empty and unfulfilling life compared to Clare, with her happy family.