Over twenty years ago, James Finn Garner wrote Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. Meant as a satire, it takes well-known stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and “rehabilitates” them for modern sensibilities. Obviously, a prince rescuing a woman is a knave, not a knight, and story lines are secondary to ideological diatribes.
In Stalinist Russia, the idea of sanitizing stories was not amusing. People found themselves banished to the Gulag or worse for writing something the wrong way. Of course, the correct way one year could become a criminal offense the next year.
Even now in China, according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, anyone writing certain true accounts on social media that the government finds offensive finds himself imprisoned and beaten. Naturally, most published material China meets the socialist government’s rules.
With this in mind, I found myself pondering the December 15, Modern Love column in the New York Times. It is a story of a woman with an auto-immune disease whose boyfriend married her in order to bring her under the umbrella of his medical insurance. Written several years after the fact, she acknowledges that without that medical crisis they likely would not have married. She now recognizes her marriage as a gift.
On the surface, it is exactly what the Modern Love column likes to portray; a personal, human-interest story. However, I was struck while reading it by numerous instances of concepts and sentences that should result in a flurry of outraged letters to the editor demanding that the author be sent to a re-education camp. Here are two examples.
- In the couple’s haste to be married, they needed to gather the necessary documentation and cut through City Hall bureaucracy before the office closed. Speaking of her friend, the bride comments, “Luckily, Rachel, who knows how to flirt, worked her magic on the clerk, and he pushed through our paperwork.”
What an outrage! Rachel clearly needs to be condemned for anti-Feminist behavior. Current ideology claims that women are pure, virtuous creatures who would never use their wiles or bodies to encourage a man to pay attention to them. If a woman flirts it is only because of fear that she will lose her job, not because she is an aggressor in the situation.
My harsher criticism is for Rachel’s sexual harassment behavior. What if twenty years from now, the poor, hapless clerk cannot live a healthy life when he realizes that he was taken advantage of by a woman who manipulated him? The obviously intimidated clerk should have lodged an immediate complaint.
- At the end of the article, the author writes, “After my immediate health crisis passed, I was able to look back and appreciate how much Chris had stepped up to take care of me. His passive side disappeared the moment he proposed. I had never seen him take charge like that. (It was sexy!)”
I’m sorry, but clearly this Chris is a danger to society. Politically correct ideology insists that men must be wimps. Next thing we know, this fellow will be thumping his chest and shouting, “Woman, get me a beer.” Perhaps while she was ill, the protagonist of the story wasn’t able to take care of herself, but intimating that his take-charge attitude was sexy is simply pre-historic. Instead of gratitude for his actions, she should end the article by making very clear that if the situation was reversed and he was ill, she would have stepped into exactly the same leadership role (which is quite possible). In either case, it should have nothing to do with being perceived as sexy.
Frankly, the entire notion of a column entitled Modern Love is offensive. It makes those who do not have love in their life feel unwelcome and like second-class citizens. In a proper socialist paper, there should be only carefully censored news and propaganda. There should be no whiff of humor or emotion. Like college campuses today, every word should be vetted for its ability to offend, leaving little room for anything of interest, let alone true.
Over twenty years ago, Mr. Garner’s re-written stories were seen as satire. Today, their equivalents are in classrooms throughout the world. Is there any reason to think that articles like the Modern Love one I just read, where a woman can write of her personal situation and emotions, will be allowed twenty years down the road if society continues on its current path?