Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Political Correctness- The Fawlty Logic of the Left

This clip is an early instance of liberal political correctness in action. Many years ago, before my first encounter with the beast, I was involved with a very liberal young woman. This was at the time when the Public Television network was just introducing Fawlty Towers to the American audience for the first time. One evening I suggested that we watch it together and was shocked when she said that she hated Fawlty Towers.

In time I came to understand that it was not so much hatred but a powerful identification with Basil Fawlty’s personality that turned her off so violently. The episodes that affected her the most powerfully were the one’s in which Fawlty’s emotional lability, low self-esteem and priggish sense of propriety combined to drive him into outbursts of bizarre behavior.

Basil’s aversive paranoia about giving offense (“Don’t mention the war!”) comes into conflict with his actual feelings and opinions. He has suffered a concussion (note the bandage) earlier in the day which has presumably left him with a Tourette’s Syndrome-like low threshold for expressing his real thoughts. He treats the German tourists with exaggerated (loony) care and is furious when they “insult” him by thinking he is crazy and trying to reason with him.

It is hilarious and it is sad. It is so funny because we all recognize the the conflict. It is sad because it causes so much harm. The Basil Fawlty governments of the west who simply can't force themselves to bring up the subjects of Palestinian bad faith, mis-management and terror as thy keep pouring aid into Palestinian Authority in spite of the proven correlation between that aid and terrorism aimed at innocent Israelis is a perfect example.

Forbidden to talk or even think about "certain" words and ideas that exist nevertheless, one becomes consumed by them, and humiliated by the result. The dishonesty and hypocrisy and unavoidable disasters caused by Political Correctness are most powerful in those whose character is weakest, emotions least stable and spiritual center is most jaded and hollow. It might well be called the Basil Fawlty Complex.

Here is the most interesting aspect of this clip: Basil Fawlty is clearly the loser (or, in the common phrase, “a loser”) in this scene. If the protagonist were a Palestinian, complaining about “the occupation” he would be viewed by most liberal westerners as either noble or, at the very least, understandable. Far more egregious behavior (murder of innocent civilians, warping of an entire generation of Arab children, random rocket attacks, and on and on) has been defined by the Fawlty Left as “resistance”, “understandable” and even “freedom fighting”.

It should come as no surprise that members of the honor-shame culture of Caliphate Islam are subject to this kind of tantrum. This is what honor-shame is all about. They will win the upper hand by any means that they think will work. They are, emotionally labile and see honor as a mere matter of having the upper hand. They are, by definition, The People of the Tantrum.

It is a tragedy, on the other hand, and a loss of civilization that so many westerners have today allowed this kind of honor-shame thinking to supplant rationality, freedom of thought and freedom of speech. We westerners who should have, in our schools and homes, absorbed the great traditions of western enlightenment, and come to value truth, ethics, rationality and morality over personal honor and shame should be able to transcend the tantrum.


Jeremayakovka said...

Well, it's another reason to recognize that any political relations with "Palestinians" are futile unless and until Hamas is crushed militarily and utterly extirpated from the political scene.

That's the neurotic, nearly emasculated hardship one comic Englishman dramatizes (through comedy). It helps me picture what relity was like for any moderately-witted Israeli during the 1990s.

Nancy Coppock said...

You're on to a good idea, but you forget here in America we have not taught the traditions and merits of Western Thought in our public schools for 2 or more generations.

Instead our children have been inculcated with the evils of our western philosophy. Because of this, many have either checked out and follow only the cult of pop culture.(What's Israel? they would ask.) The others practice a sort of nihilism where we must hurry up and destroy ourselves.

Anonymous said...

"The People of the Tantrum." Well said! I'm not as worried about the values that we possess as I am about the values imposed by the whole concept of political correctness. Those of us with the will can and will resist. Those of us that don't know any better will knuckle under and think it "for the best."

Good report and though I never watched Fawlty Towers, you have picked a perfect video to express your thoughts. Well done Yaacov, well done!

Jewish Odysseus said...

"People of the Tantrum," I second that emotion! But by "tantrum" we really mean "lynching/mass murder in the name of perceived disrespect!"

Yaacov, John Cleese also appeared in some fabulous scenes parodying political correctness in the great 1978 flick, "Life of Brian"--here are 2 beauties!:

[in the 2d one, you can see Idle and Cleese cannot keep a straight face]