Literature and Political Correctness

I’ve decided to begin this blog with a brief discussion of the effects of political correctness on literature.  There have been quite a few blogs on how damaging political correctness is to literature in general, especially literature published many years ago before political correctness came to its present state.  See this article by Hugh Mercer Curtler in First Principals ISI Web Journal:  http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1733

Political correctness, it seems, affects our ability to process even historical books where characters were built around premises that are not acceptable today.   It seems to me that in today’s world, if a novel is not written in a politically correct manner it’s highly unlikely that it will be published.  I believe this is even more true for a first time author.

The problem:  If authors are forced to write in the narrow confines of political correctness, they are not apt to write the truths that may be the core of their story.  Rather, they are forced to write a watered down version that steps away from the truth.

Why is this a problem?  Any author that steps away from the truth of his/her story will have a less than quality piece.

What does this mean for literature?  It means that it’s likely that only those who conform to the standards laid down by the current political correctness doctrine will be published.  Granted, there are many of these because as students of literature are educated in Universities and Schools they are being taught the political correctness doctrine.

The unfortunate part of this is that it suggests that it is unlikely that we will ever find writers like Conrad or Nabokov writing their best works.

I read recently that Jerry Seinfield, Chris Rock, and other comedians will no longer do shows on University Campuses because of the political correctness sensitivity.  The clear point is that they would have to censor their show in order to have it accepted.

I fear that this has happened in literature as well, and that an author must self censor his/her work into some washed out state prior to submitting it if he/she has any hopes of seeing it published.  If this is the case, it’s quite disheartening for we will likely see little published writing as great as the classics of the past.  Unfortunately new authors will find themselves adjusting their writing and worse yet, their mindset to conform to the politically correct necessities of finding an agent and/or  publisher. That being said, our only hope for honest writing in the future may be self published stories and blogs.

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2 thoughts on “Literature and Political Correctness

  1. Hey Dale! Glad to meet you, my friend. I think you’ve spoken eloquently on a touchy subject that begs the question every writer will inevitably face: “Do I write for accolades, or simply for the love of sharing my story?” Personally, I want the accolades just as much as anyone else does. I want people to want to read Ennis C. Smith. But honestly, I would rather stick to the truth of the voice in my story (the very heart of my tale), and share that voice openly and freely as opposed to watering it down for profitable gain. I chose the self publishing route. Although the struggle to share it is real, I have faith that the heart and soul of my story will attract an audience on its own merit. Thanks for sharing Dale, and welcome to blogging!

    • Hey Ennis, Thanks for noticing my new blog and providing the very first comment! I’m considering self publishing but will try to find an agent for awhile first. I did recently have one of my short stories accepted and it will be published next month in Gravel magazine. gravelmag.com. I enjoyed your site and music. Best to ya!

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