Cover image for Incorrect thoughts : notes on our wayward culture
Incorrect thoughts : notes on our wayward culture
Leo, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Transaction Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
267 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"The essays in this book originally appeared in U.S. news and world report"--T.p. verso.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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E169.12 .L444 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this new volume of political essays and social commentary John Leo offers a lively alternative to the Washington-oriented slant of much political journalism. Rejecting the dry insider's air of knowing punditry, Leo's conversational style and acerbic wit engage the reader with his insightful and humorous views of what is going on in education, law, advertising, television, the news media, language, and the various liberation movements that are shaping-and sometimes convulsing-the country.The unifying thread of Incorrect Thoughts is the emergence of Political Correctness and its diffusion throughout American social and cultural life. Most of the media have viewed the rise of PC as a collection of unimportant oddball anecdotes, but Leo perceives it as a coherent social movement sweeping through colleges and schools, the courts, the media, the feminist movement, and the art world. Its goals are traditional goals of the left-equality, inclusion, liberation, racial justice-but, as Leo notes, the tactics employed are often less than noble and the contempt for tradition, standards, and Western culture has grown each year.The new orthodoxy has developed a taste for censorship and coercion. Speech codes and anti-harassment policies are used as weapons to silence and intimidate opponents. Speakers have been shouted down and whole editions of college newspapers stolen to keep students from reading the arguments of conservatives and moderates. Readers will find here judicious and often devastating appraisals of self-esteem and therapeutic trends in education, of efforts to revamp history along multicultural lines, and of the extremities and absurdities of identity politics among other of the latest fashions in radical chic.Drawing from ideas first presented in his U.S. News and World Report columns Leo charts the political fever of a contentious and disordered period in American society. At the same time his pointed humor, long-term perspective, and strong moral edge ensures his continuing importance to the debates of our time. This book will interest those who share Leo's concerns as well as those who appreciate models for incisive political commentary.

Author Notes

John Leo is editor of the weekly syndicated column "On Society" in U.S. News and World Report. He has been a staff writer for Time magazine, the New York Times, and Commonweal.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
Part 1 Media
This Column Almost Mattersp. 15
Scotch the ADS? Absolut-Lyp. 17
Prime-Time "Gotcha" Journalismp. 19
Why Ruin a Good Story?p. 21
More Guests Who Guessp. 23
Boyz to (Marlboro) Menp. 25
The Selling of Rebellionp. 27
Nothing but the Truth?p. 30
The Joys of Covering Press Releasesp. 32
Media Bites Selfp. 34
A Quiz for Media Mavensp. 36
A Lovely Day for a Haranguingp. 38
Part 2 Education
True Lies VS. Total Recallp. 43
Don't Get Hystericalp. 45
Dumbing Down Teachersp. 47
Let's Lower our Self-Esteemp. 49
Sorry About That 1992 Report. We Misspokep. 51
That So-Called Pythagorasp. 53
Let's Attack Merit!p. 56
Don't Listen to Mirandap. 58
Good Hair, Bad Cakep. 60
Separate and Unequalp. 62
Killing off the Liberalsp. 64
Hey, We're No. 19!p. 66
Shakespeare vs. Spidermanp. 68
Expel Georgie Porgie Now!p. 70
Empty College Syndromep. 72
No Takeovers, Pleasep. 74
The Answer is 45 Centsp. 76
How the West was Lost at Yalep. 78
Miss Piggy was a Smarter Choicep. 80
Cop-killer and Commencement Speakerp. 82
Bold Words for a New Generationp. 84
Mainstreaming Deviancep. 87
Affirmative Action Historyp. 89
No Books, Please; We're Studentsp. 91
Let's Lower the Barp. 93
Ready for Betty the Yeti?p. 95
Tongue-tied by Authorityp. 97
Part 3 Family and Gender
Mars to Venus: Back offp. 101
Marriage Bashing a La Modep. 103
Boy, Girl, Boyp. 105
Parenting Without a Carep. 107
The Joy of Sexual Valuesp. 109
Promoting No-Dad Familiesp. 111
Devaluing the Familyp. 113
Things That Go Bump in the Homep. 115
Defending the Indefensiblep. 117
Fairness? Promises, Promisesp. 119
Part 4 Race and Minorities
A Dubious Diversity Reportp. 125
A Waspish, Niggardly Slurp. 127
Jelly Bean: the Sequelp. 129
The Oppression Sweepstakesp. 131
A Sunny Side on Racep. 133
Feel Abused? Get in Linep. 135
War Against Warriorsp. 137
A Second Look at Lani Guinierp. 139
The Junking of Historyp. 141
Our Addiction to Bad Newsp. 143
You Are What You Eatp. 146
Let's Not Call it a Quotap. 147
Part 5 Politics and Law
Avoid "Climate" Controlp. 153
When I Was Bill's Guyp. 155
What Rhymes With Carter?p. 157
The Shrine at Yorba Lindap. 159
A Fable: "Pro-Choice" in 1860p. 162
In the Matter of the Court vs. usp. 164
It's a Tort World After Allp. 166
Steamrolled and Bulldozedp. 168
Changing the Rules of a Deadly Gamep. 170
Playing Any Reindeer Games?p. 172
Are Protesters Racketeers?p. 174
When Judges Feel Romanticp. 176
Judges 1, People 0p. 178
Bust Those Candy Cane Felonsp. 180
Praying for Sanity in Schoolsp. 182
A Man's Got a Right to Rightsp. 185
Part 6 Culture and Language
Of Famine and Green Beerp. 191
The Two Sinatrasp. 193
The Official Column of Championsp. 195
Cheers, Circa 1968p. 197
Gunning for Hollywoodp. 199
Hold the Chocolatep. 201
A Tower of Pomobabblep. 203
How to be a Rich Geniusp. 205
Nobel Prize for Fiction?p. 208
How 'Bout Those Cliches?p. 210
Repackaging the Perpsp. 212
Opinions Were Expressedp. 214
Language in the Dumpsp. 216
Close the Envelope, Pleasep. 218
Our Kinder, Gentler Armyp. 220
In the Key of Fp. 222
Oh, No, Canada!p. 224
This Column is Mostly Truep. 226
The Leading Cultural Polluterp. 228
The Private Parts of Don Imusp. 230
Selling the Child-Womanp. 232
Decadence, the Corporate Wayp. 234
Part 7 Society and Social Behavior
Thank You For Not Smokingp. 239
Doing the Disorder Ragp. 241
May the Feel be With Youp. 243
My Sobbing Valentinep. 245
Life Among the Cyberfolkp. 247
Damn, I'm Good!p. 249
We're all Number 1p. 251
Mainstreaming's "Jimmy Problem"p. 253
The "New Primitives"p. 255
Chortle While You Workp. 257
Thou Shalt Not Commandp. 259
The Unmaking of Civic Culturep. 261
When Stability was all the Ragep. 263
The Price is Wrongp. 265