Philippa

Political Correctness?

What is meant by the modern term referred to as “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”…The definition is found in at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.

The following are copies of four telegrams between President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur on the day before the actual signing of the WWII Surrender Agreement in September 1945.

The contents of those four telegrams below are exactly as received at the end of the war – not a word has been added or deleted!

(1) Tokyo, Japan   0800-September 1,1945

To: President Harry S Truman

From: General D A MacArthur

Tomorrow we meet with those yellow-bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions?

(2) Washington, D C   1300-September 1, 1945

To: D A MacArthur

From: H S Truman Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press, because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically correct! 

(3) Tokyo, Japan  1630-September 1, 1945

To: H S Truman

From: D A MacArthur and C H Nimitz

Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?

Washington, D C  2120-September 1, 1945

To: D A MacArthur/C H Nimitz

From: H S Truman

Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

2 thoughts on “Political Correctness?

  1. A good article, ER.
    This sums it up perfectly.
    In my company, they dread me talking to US colleagues and customers, as we could have a law suit.
    Personally, I do not give a shit !

  2. All – this is a joke! The veracity of it is dubious and never meant to be fact. It is intended to cause a giggle.

    On the serious side and thanks to ER’s observations, the following is the real background to the joke….

    Although World War II has been one of the most influential and well-studied events of modern history, evidence of this purported telegraph exchange between Truman and MacArthur was virtually non-existent on the Internet prior to 2015. The description of political correctness attributed to Truman therein weren’t spread in earnest until April 2015, although iterations of this item had been circulated a few weeks earlier.

    By Internet standards, this quip about political correctness is nearly ancient. Versions of it dating to 2006 and 2007 are easily located, attributed at least twice to students of Texas A&M University. It surfaced again in a 2012 Townhall column that lauded it while also describing it as an “old Internet joke”. Although the joke’s origins may be murky, the anachronisms involved in attributing it to President Truman are obvious.

    In one portion of the telegram exchange, Truman supposedly referenced the “mainstream media,” a marked neologism. During Truman’s political career (and for many decades thereafter), the news media consisted largely of radio and local newspapers; alternative news sources were not prominent enough in the 1940’s for the predominant news sources to be tabbed as a politically polarizing entity with the pejorative “mainstream media.”

    Also telling is the use of the term “political correctness” in the purported exchange. It’s true that the phrase “politically correct” was first employed as far back as 1793, but not in any way resembling the modern application of the term. The current usage was popularized on a large scale in the 1980s and 1990s, decades after Truman’s supposed condemnation of the concept, as described in the 2009 book Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture by Geoffrey Hughes:

    See http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/trumanpc.asp for further comment.

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