Waaay more fatuous than political correctness is “PC gone mad”—that’s “PC gone mad” gone mad. As ever, Stewart Lee has a definitive routine:
And there’s his eloquent demolition of Amanda Platell’s complaint about Bake Off: she
made minor chocolate ripples by suggesting in print that a middle-class woman called Flora Shedden, and her chocolate carousel, were booted off the BBC’s Bake Off cake contest in favour of Muslim mum Nadiya Hussain, gay doctor Tamal Ray and “new man” Ian Cumming, because she wasn’t “politically correct” enough. Perhaps, wrote Platell, “if she’d made a chocolate mosque she’d have stood a better chance”.
The idea that a chocolate mosque would have scored better than a chocolate carousel suggests a baking competition in which, as well as for the technical quality of the cake, points are also awarded for the meaning and cultural significance of the thing that the cake is made to look like.
The idea that Shedden lost because she didn’t make a chocolate mosque would only hold water had she been in competition with other cakes that had also been baked into the shape of culturally, socially or politically significant icons, saturated with meanings designed to appeal to the liberally biased judges of Platell’s fecund imagination; i.e. a sponge Unitarian chapel, a meringue women’s refuge, a fudge abortion clinic, or an icing sugar Tom Daley. As this was not the case, and her fellow competitors’ cakes were not baked in shapes smothered with inference, it is spurious to suggest that the outcome of the cake contest was decided on these terms.
An obvious subtext to Platell’s story is that the other contestants were favoured, irrespective of the quality of their cake work, because they fulfilled some kind of politically correct quota, such as “Muslim mum” and “gay doctor”. But the idea that this could be a deciding factor is undermined by the presence of the third victor, Ian Cumming, for whom the best denigrating epithet that the increasingly desperate Platell can find is “new man”, a phrase last used pejoratively by a woman wearing legwarmers in the early 1980s.
Anyway, I’m still fond of the musos’ PC version of the Missa Solemnis: