Political correctness is a term that has taken on many different perspectives over the years. The core meaning of being ìpolitically correctî is to speak, write, or express oneís ideas in a way that doesnít disparage any members or groups in society or exclude anyone from a narrative.
Political correctness originated as a term to support and define what it means to speak professionally and politely, especially within the realm of politics. However, as society has moved forward, the phrase has been expanded to represent systematic failures in politics, news, and the new generation.
Many people have challenged the idea of political correctness because they feel that it inhibits free speech and prevents society from dealing with complex and controversial issues fully and effectively. During Donald Trumpís 2016 Presidential Campaign, the idea of political correctness rose to the forefront of the election with his unorthodox and at times polarizing rhetoric defining much of his campaign.
This controversy has also branched out into both entertainment and comedy. Top figures in the entertainment and comedy businesses have been called out, torn down, and blacklisted for certain jokes and/or remarks that have been deemed ìtoo offensive,î ìpolarizing,î or as critics would point out, ìnot politically correct enough.î
Similarly to politics, many feel that in comedy and entertainment part of the message has to be controversial, mean, polarizing, or insulting for the piece to truly achieve its goal.
Another phenomenon that has overtaken both politics and pop culture is ìcancelî or ìcall-outî culture. These terms have become so widely recognized that even former President Barack Obama criticized the development on Twitter. Cancel culture refers to a culture, specifically on social media, where people, and more so public figures, are constantly publicly shamed or ridiculed for their mistakes and behavior that are seen as problematic.
As political correctness and cancel culture grow in pop culture, comedians have had to reckon with the effects of their jokes and have had to adapt in order to survive in their careers.