It is rare to read the free bus paper – the Metro – without seeing at least one letter with a rant about “political correctness gone mad.”
Experiment: Counting the number of readers’ letters containing the phrase and working out a daily average, maybe comparing the result to the occurrence of some other nonsense phrase like “air conditioning walnuts.”
However, that would be a bit too much of a time and consciousness commitment, so I took the easy way out and googled.
Amazingly, google could only find 681 occurrences. Impossible. Doh, I misspelled the word and missed the first “i” out. Which makes the 681 occurrences quite impressive. (A truly dedicated social researcher would try every possible misspelling. Sorry.)
The correct tally is actually “about 61,000.” Even this seems a little on the low side, given the existence of the Daily Mail and the BBC’s Have your Say. I suspect I have been too specific to get a true picture of how often “Ranting Bigot” reaches for the conceptual green ink.
I put the phrase “political correctness gone mad” in quotes. This is an English usage. I’m not sure how thinking-constricted Americans say it. How do I make a direct translation of “gone mad” into US English, in which mad means “angry” rather than insane?
“political correctness run amok” gets 21,400. Quite a respectable tally but I don’t think I’m still getting the full flavour of it.
“political correctness run amuck” garners a further 4,230.
“political correctness gone insane” gets a modest 3,090.
“political correctness gone berserk” gets only 510, (plus one result for “political correctness gone bersek”, my misspelling again.)
Ok, I’m going for the big ones: The bald phrase “political correctness” gets about 5,060,000.
The phrase “politically correct” brings up 6,150,000 entries. There is some duplication here, though. Is anyone adding these up?
Oh Buggar. “air conditioning walnuts” – the control phrase in my experiment – brings up “about 1,240,000” google hits. I kid you not.
Undaunted, I have to conclude that this might just show that there is no nonsense phrase too ridiculous to bring up millions of google hits. (And, at least, “air conditioning walnuts” doesn’t have me snarling when it appears on a web page.)