Oh for the dear pre-PC days of yore

You know, nostalgia for the 80s, before people started frowning on homophobia and transphobia and we all lived happily together. (That’s not how I remember it actually. I remember frowning on homophobia in the early 70s. I remember knowing people who agreed with me about that. Lots of people.) (Granted, transphobia not so much. That was more buried.)

carlie has a good comment on the subject at PZ’s place.*

My mind is still stuck on Barbara’s “Oh, how I long for the days when no one would call us on shit when we talked about people” comment, because that sentiment comes up so often in this stuff. And what it comes down to is that they just don’t realize that people in those marginalized groups were never ok with those comments, but didn’t have the social standing to even complain about it back then. So they’re creating a fantasy past in which people in marginalized groups were all ok with everything, when really it was a world so oppressive that they couldn’t even risk voicing any negative opinion and at most just laughed nervously to cover their pain.

And people like her think that was a good time to live in.

I think that’s a shrewd observation.

Addendum: the remark in question.


Barbara A. Drescher I want the 1980s back. Yes, it was a bit oppressive, but people laughed at such over-the-top PCness. Today, we aren’t even allowed to be direct or honest without being accused of bigotry and “privilege”. Frankly, I don’t think most people would recognize real bigotry if it bit them in the ass.

Like 30

*Last sentence revised.


  1. shari says

    i second the motion. The level of ‘disturbing’ is massing up this week (or am i just woefully out of touch with the disturbing in previous weeks?!)

  2. shari says

    ugh. damned allergy meds. I second your observation of her observation.

    No. I meant to say ‘heard and seconded”.

    i hate drugs

  3. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    “Remember when I could be a total unrepentant asshole, and nobody would ever call me on it? Those were the days…”

  4. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The longer that sits in my mind after having read it the more disturbing and dark it seems. The 80s were, in many important ways, utter hell for me and much, much worse for my dead friends and transgender folks. I just can’t. . .

    I mean, I don’t like Drescher or have much respect for her, but it still stuns me to see people who, despite all that, can say a thing like that and mean it. People you assumed had *some semblance* of awareness of what oppressed people have endured. In my head I’m saying, “You really think this? What did [generic you] ACTUALLY think of me all that time? I should have kept my back up even more, apparently.”

  5. Wylann says

    I’d like to say I can’t believe someone was stupid enough to say that out loud. All one has to do is go back just a bit further when some other minority was called a specific derogatory term, to realize how absurd that is.

    I long for the days when people are smart enough to at least know their being insulting and not utter morons….but that probably never was, either… 😛

  6. says

    My mom would have had words for anyone who referred to white women as a minority.

    I remember watching with amusement white people trying to get people of color to agree the 50s and 60 were better than the current day a few decades ago.

  7. says

    I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to those days (though I was in the single digits then). It doesn’t seem like in that world I could tell someone to stop saying cunt and get a supportive reaction from other people. Which seems minor, but was a satisfying experience I had the other day.

  8. says

    If anyone wants to hear about that horrific interaction from (a) trans* person’s p-o-v, and find out whether it really hurts or not, I point you to my comment over at Lousy Canuck. Actually two comments. Warning that I don’t pull any punches about what it was like being on the wrong end of this kind of shit, and punches were definitely part of it.

    The aqua-hued ungulate version: It sucks, and it hurts, and yes, we definitely notice. Because no-shit survival skill, that’s why.

  9. says

    She’s longing for a time that didn’t exist. Sure people said and did things back in the 80s that we would consider unacceptable. But people were called out for racism and sexism back then. Heck, I lived in Iowa City in the 1980s and the political groups I was involved with called out people for sexism and racism. I remember the outrage whenever the conservative paper would print on the back cover the words “Stop AIDS” and below show two signage figures having anal sex.

    People also complained about political correctness back then. The 80s were when the term changed from a joke within the progressive movement about a well intentioned person who goes to far, to a term to attack any progressive/liberal ideas or actions.

    Hate was bad back then too. I’m sure others can talk about how bigots marginalized people with AIDS because it was considered a “gay disease.” Racism existed behind code words like “quota” and “urban.” The idea of gay marriage was unthinkable back then.

    One major change is that we have access to more information and more chances to express ourselves. Before, the newspapers and TV networks were the gatekeepers of what went out to the public. Now everyone can speak out.

    The 1980s were simply a different time. They weren’t a mythical time where those in power made fun of the powerless, and the powerless laughed along.

  10. AnotherAnonymouse says

    The 1980s where when I first heard bigots sneer, “I am not “pee-cee”, so what?” and to this very day, my current boss says this as a preface before he says something rude or insulting or degrading. IMO, it’s just a deflection so they can continue to be asswipes.

  11. carlie says

    Eek, I’m famous! 😉

    I don’t think I phrased the last sentence exactly how I meant to, although I think the meaning is clear enough from the context. I should have written it as “And people like her think that was a good time to live in”. They think everybody was happy then, not realizing how false that facade was.

    I mean, jeez – in the 1980s I was about as sheltered as it gets, being a white middle-class evangelical fundamentalist Christian teenager in a Mayberry-esque town in the midwest, and even I had a pretty good idea at the time how bad some marginalized groups had it and that no, it was not ok to make fun of them. I wouldn’t wish going back to that kind of culture on anyone.

  12. says

    Does anyone have a direct, un-abridged quote of what Dresher wrote in support of DJ? I’m not accusing anyone of distortion, I’m just curious for the full version, and would like to double-check all the details for myself.

    From what’s being reported, the sheer nastiness of her comments seem to be eclipsed by their stupidity.

    I think it would be useful to remind some people (former friends) of the kind of attitudes, and the culture they’ve been sucking up to/selling people out to/running apologia for, just to get ahead.

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