Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.
The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.
Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.
From friend of the blog, Mark Saltveit who, among other things, is a professional stand-up comedian, we have a special guest post. Mark writes:
I’ve written about my profession of standup comedy as applied Daoism. I’ve just turned in a draft of this for editing to MefiMag, the print expression of the Metafilter website, who commissioned it. I would love to get feedback and corrections from your readers for my final version. (MefiMag doesn’t mind if this appears on the web before they print it.)
Mark will be replying to your comments himself. Enjoy.
Comedians as Taoist Missionaries
By Mark Saltveit
I’ve worked as a paid standup comedian on the West Coast for 12 years. It’s fascinating, rewarding, and usually compelling – but it’s still work. Comedians joke around a lot and are usually fun people, but the job itself is not especially amusing. I’ve heard that stripping and prostitution aren’t that sexy, either.
Is Confucianism alive and well in China — to such a degree that it’s a source of moralizing criticism of Charlie Sheen? So it appears from a recent op-ed in the English-language web newspaper Global Times, at least until one starts to read between the lines. The satirical opinion piece by one “Hao Leifeng” is quite hilarious, and seems actually to be aimed at excesses of contemporary Chinese society. This earlier essay by the same author is equally biting (and amusing). (Jeremy Breningstall’s blog has a bit of analysis.)