Thursday, May 03, 2007

Et Tu, Secretaries?

In yesterday's post, I alluded to being rescued by an Elvis impersonator. In the story I told how the gentleman had told my friend Dan and I that they (Elvis impersonators) preferred the term "Elvis Tribute Artists." I was devastated to discover that even Elvis Impersonators had fallen to the temptation of Political Correctness.

A couple of days ago, I recieved another blow. I was at the grocery store and saw a large sign advertising candy and flowers to celebrate "Administrative Professionals Day" on April 25 (obviously the sign was an old one).

I was puzzled-- what twisted maniac would set aside a day to celebrate bureaucrats? Then it dawned on me-- flowers, candy...it was the PC term for Secretaries Day.

I'll be straight-- I hate political correctness. As a progressive, a lefty, whatever, I've seen discussions in organizations screech to a halt as they failed to even agree on the terms of the discussion. I've been castigated for saying hispanic instead of latino. I've watched conversations become awkward as someone tried to decide whether they should say "Black" or "African-American."

I cheered when events for disabled people were added to the Olympics-- I have an enormous admiration for anyone who overcomes difficulties to excel at something. I was then disgusted as a debate over what term to use for it turned into a stupid brawl-- "Handicapped" and "Disabled" were negative. So what to use instead? "Differently Abled?" For god's sake, "Handicapable?" I found the alternative terms way more patronizing than the original ones.

I think the low point of the PC wave was when a tiny minority of gay activists demanded that the term "queer" become the only acceptable term for homosexuals. My best friend Jim, who is gay, was disgusted-- he pointed out that he'd spent his whole life fighting for respect, and he was not going to suddenly embrace an offensive term because a shrill minority demanded it.

My mother spent nearly her whole working life as a secretary. If you asked her what she did before she retired she'll tell you-- "I was a secretary." She'd laugh if you referred to her as an "Administrative Professional." She was a secretary, and a damned good one.

So I urge you-- resist the tide of silly PC-ness. Take back Secretaries' Day, in the name of my mother, in the name of all the secretaries who, let's face, really run the world. Fight the Power.

7 comments:

deadspot said...

I don't have to sound politically correct. I am politically correct. In fact, you are quite likely to find that I am usually correct on just about any subject you care to think of.

I'm humble too. I totally rock at the humility thing.

Johnny Yen said...

Me too. Of my many outstanding qualities, I'd have to say that humility is one of my greatest.

kim said...

I enjoy being politically correct. I enjoy saying, "African-American"; I enjoy talking about diversity as a noun and not an adjective; I do not stumble on the words, "Black or African American" I use the correct, non-offensive term. It is being non-offensive that is the trick, but if you can do, it will save you every time.

Splotchy said...

Woo, non-bleeped slam against Elvis and John Wayne.

I hadn't heard this unbleeped before.

The truly ironic thing about your inclusion of the PE video is that Terminator X was working as a secretary until the record "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" came out.

Well, that would be cool, wouldn't it?

GETkristiLOVE said...

When we develop online courseware at my company, we have to include "508 tags" which are explanations of diagrams for someone that cannot see. It always irritates me when other writers explain the diagram like they're talking down to a person. I tell them, "they're blind, not 12."

vikkitikkitavi said...

I'm not a big fan of the complication of language, but I never, ever, use the term "PC." First of all, because the term really gained popularity in the 80s when William F. Buckley started using it as a tool to bash the left. And I'm not fucking going to any party thrown by that pig fucker Buckley.

Secondly, speaking as a former administrative assistant and executive assistant, the word "secretary" has an overwhelmingly negative connotation in the modern business world. And I had enough troubles trying to be treated respectfully, without also trying to reclaim the word "secretary."

At my last place of work, I finally became a manager, but execs would still walk in my office and ask me to page people for them. I had to quit to escape the stigma. The guy who they hired to take over my job got a better title, a better office, better reporting, and certainly more money. Typical.

So fuck that secretary shit.

Bubs said...

I avoid the minefield of what to say/how to address people by waiting for NPR to tell me what to do.