Now she understood a few things: that the American academy, which one might have thought the place to defend freedom of speech, had been the seat and soul of abrogating freedom of speech, if the first assault on its freedom can be said to be restricting, or handcuffing speech. The day she heard redneck on NPR, she turned NPR off, not because broadcasters were still using the term, but because she knew one day they would not be. In fact, she had a vision of the quiet moment backstage at a Boston studio when a good, surprised correspondent was let go for saying redneck the last time it would be said.
Love begets wisdom, thus it is, as often misconceived, more than vain layers of tenderness; it is inherently rational and comprehensive of the problem within the problem: for instance, envy is one of the most excused sins in the media of political correctness. Those you find most attractive, or seem to have it all, are often some of the most insecure at heart, and that is because people assume that they do not need anything but defamation.
There's a grosser irony about Politically Correct English. This is that PCE purports to be the dialect of progressive reform but is in fact - in its Orwellian substitution of the euphemisms of social equality for social equality itself - of vastly more help to conservatives and the US status quo than traditional SNOOT prescriptions ever were.
The Procrustean bed. . .suggests itself with dispiriting aptness as a metaphor for the Culture Wars, right down to the blandishments with which Procrustes must have lured his guests over the threshold. (I picture him as a handsome fellow with a large vocabulary and an oleaginous tongue, not unlike the chairmen of many English departments.) There's just one crucial difference. Sometimes Procrustes lopped off his victims, and sometimes he stretched them, but the Culture Wars always lop. I have never seen cultural politics enlarge a work of literature, only diminish it.