I am in favor of political correctness. Sure, I had to take a lot of jokes out of my repertoire, and give my two second self editing function a little bit more power, but it hasn’t hurt me none, and society’s a better place. O.K., maybe it’s a bit of a limitation on absolute free speech, and I still believe that, legally, absolute free speech is a right. But just having the right doesn’t make it right.
All political correctness means is don’t use words that are racist or sexist, and try not to be an asshole. Piece of cake, really.
There are some people, I’ve noticed, who can get away with saying outrageous shit about race, gender, disabilities, whatever, and it’s fine. I’m not one of them, so I opt for discretion.
Louie C.K. is actually not one of them either. I saw a clip the other day where he was putting down a heckler, and this was presented as a clever example of him putting a heckler in her place, and the crowd was laughing, but I saw it and thought “What an asshole. All he did was call her a stupid cunt and it wasn’t even funny.” And the thing is, normally I like Louie C.K.
An example in the other direction is this: Martha Stewart is, among her other characteristics, a white woman, just about as white as white can be. But, in this clip, you see her getting away with incredibly racist and sexist jokes.
I think I’ve figured it out. You can get away with a bit of racist or sexist humor if you are not at all racist or sexist. The reason Michael (Kramer) Richards’ career was ruined by that racist rant a few years back isn’t that it wasn’t funny (although it wasn’t), it was because people realized he meant it, there was some real racial bitterness behind the attempted joke.
If you have any doubts as to whether you’re somebody who can get away with it or not, you’re probably not. Best to not even try.