I understand what you're saying about not using words that are hurtful, but that wasn't the point I was trying to get across.
My general rant about PCness is aimed at the idiots who want to change "chairman" to "chairperson" or some other perfectly good word to some unpronouncable gobbledegook in an effort to deny there are differences in sex or race or creed or ethnicity or whatever. If it's important, I don't have a problem with "chairwoman," even though I find it a little silly.
What sparked the major part of that rant was — I though I had made pretty clear — the RETRO PCness of changing Twain's writing so as not to offend the people who weren't really listening and understanding. Twain had something important to say, and I don't think gutting it and offering PC pablum is the way to get people to hear him.
It's a little off topic, tho' maybe instructive about the kind of idiocy overzealous PCers can get into that a Washington, D.C. city official used the word "niggardly" in a conversation with a friend and got fired for it. A black staff member heard it, didn't understand it and raised hell about his "racism."
Then came the REALLY absurd part. The fired man happened to be homosexual, so the gay community got up on its hind legs and screamed bloody murder. He was rehired BECAUSE HE WAS GAY. Now how stupid can you get? He should never have been fired in the first place, but what the hell does being gay have to do with anything here?
I have nothing whatsoever against anybody because of the color of his/her skin or sexual orientation or whatever, but I get really upset with stupidity, especially if it is then shoved down everybody's throats by a cadre of people who make careers of being offended by everything around them.
I just reread this and — as I am wont to do — I may have come on a little strong, so I'll go out of here with a couple of caveats;
1) None of the above is aimed at anyone person in particular — especially not you, gentle Kat — it is just an attempt to explain something that I feel very strongly about.
2) The world needs more beauty, and that includes beautiful language. A lot of what's being done to the language not only sounds like hell, it obfuscates meanings in an attempt to say something which will offend no one. Most things that don't offend SOMEONE have absolutely no meaning. We can say what we want in many ways without offending people, but butchering the language doesn't have to be one of them.