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Satirical use of political correctness
The idea of political correctness also has a very interesting history of use in satire and comedy. One of the earlier and most well-known, satirical takes on this movement can be found in the book Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, in which traditional fairy tales are rewritten from an exaggerated, politically correct viewpoint. The roles of good and evil in these PC stories are often the reverse of those in the original versions. For example, Hansel, Gretel, and their father are evil, and the witch is good in the politically correct version of Hansel and Gretel.
The practice of satirizing so-called politically correct speech indeed took on a life of its own in the 1990s, though its popularity in todayТs media has largely declined. Part of what it is to understand the meaning of political correctness is to be familiar with satirical portrayals of political correctness, and to understand them as such. Such portrayals are sometimes exaggerations of what actual politically correct speech looks like. For example, in a satirical example of so-called political correctness speech, the sentence УThe fireman put a ladder up against the tree, climbed it, and rescued the catФ might look like this:
The firefighter (who happened to be male, but could just as easily have been female) abridged the rights of the cat to determine for itself where it wanted to walk, climb, or rest, and inflicted his own value judgements in determining that it needed to be УrescuedФ from its chosen perch. In callous disregard for the well-being of the environment, and this one tree in particular, he thrust the mobility-disadvantaged unfriendly means of ascent known as a УladderФ carelessly up against the tree, marring its bark, and unfeelingly climbed it, unconcerned how his display of physical prowess might injure the self esteem of those differently-abled. He kidnapped and unjustly restrained the innocent feline with the intention of returning it to the person who claimed to УownФ the naturally free animal.
The above text admixes the most radical versions of several movements or theories. In fact, almost any politically correct speaker would most likely be perfectly satisfied with УThe firefighter put a ladder against the tree, climbed it, and rescued the catФ.
There once lived an economically disadvantaged tinker and his wife. His lack of material accomplishment is not meant to imply that all tinkers are economically marginalized, or that if they are, they deserve to be so. While the
archetype of the tinker is generally the whipping person in classic bedtime stories, this particular individual was a tinker by trade and just happened to be economically disadvantaged.
The tinker and his wife lived in a little hovel next to the modest estate of a local witch. From their window, they could see the witchТs meticulously kept garden, a nauseating attempt to impose human notions of order onto Nature.
The wife of the tinker was pregnant, and as she gazed at the witchТs garden, she began to crave some of the lettuce she saw growing there. She begged the tinker to jump the fence and get some for her. The tinker finally submitted, and at night he jumped the wall and liberated some of the lettuce. But before he could get back, the witch caught him.
Now, this witch was very kindness-impaired. (This is not meant to imply that all, or even some, witches are that way, nor to deny this particular witch her right to express whatever disposition came naturally to her. Far from it, her disposition was without doubt due to many factors of her upbringing and socialization, which, unfortunately, must be omitted here in the interest of brevity.)
As mentioned earlier, the witch was kindness-impaired, and the tinker was extremely frightened. She held him by the scruff of the neckand asked, УWhere are you going with my lettuce?Ф
The tinker might have argued with her over the concept of ownership and stated that the lettuce rightfully УbelongedФ to anyone who was hungry and had nerve enough to take it. Instead, in a degrading spectacle, he pleaded for mercy. УIt was my wifeТs fault,Ф he cried in a characteristically male manner. УShe is pregnant and has a craving for some of your lovely lettuce. Please spare me. Although a single-parent household is certainly acceptable, please donТt kill me and deprive my child of a stable, two-parent family structure.Ф
The witch thought for a moment, then let go of the tinkerТs neck and
disappeared without a word. The tinker gratefully went home with the lettuce.
A few months later, and after agonizing pain that a man will never really be able to appreciate, the tinkerТs wife gave birth to a beautiful, healthy prewommon. They named the baby Rapunzel, after a type of lettuce.