Carl Barron seems to have managed – for the time being, at least – to make himself pretty much the only one-ended stick in town. Google is clogged, not to say obsessed, with him. Apart from some inane Q&A stuff on Ask.com, the only directly relevant alternative within easy reach is on a web-site put up some years ago by Rochester Area Right to Life.
So why have I persisted? Because – from the time I started reading the signs: “Follow Carl as he looks for things that may not actually be there” – I really wanted to write about one-ended sticks. (I am, as you might have guessed, intensely interested in things that may not actually be there.)
But please try and follow me as I briefly backtrack: Why is the Right to Life web-site relevant? Because it quotes one Thomas J Fitzgerald on the subject of bias in media writing.
Fitzgerald explains that the one-ended stick represents the political spectrum as thought of by the politically correct. “At the one and only end of the stick one finds the extremists. This will vary depending on the topic under discussion. Sometimes it is conservatives, sometimes it is Catholics, sometimes it is all Christians, sometimes it is pro-lifers. Everyone else is a moderate, and they are in the middle of the stick. Since there is no one left, the stick has no other end.”
It might have been nice to have provided a diagram, but I cannot actually visualise it – although I’m wondering if Escher might possibly have done something that would make my meaning clearer.
So okay, I’m poking a stick at political correctness – as some folks believe is currently fashionable to do. But I’m doing so only in passing.
Incidentally: these days, “politically correct” does not mean you should not offend anyone; it means no one will be able to accuse you of having said anything wrong (WikiHow: How to Be Politically Correct).
Why are we talking about one-ended sticks? Everyone knows that every stick has two ends.
Years ago, my parish priest (Anglican) memorably pointed out to me something which has stayed with me: all fundamentalists believe the same thing – that they’re right, that they know the truth, and that everyone else is mistaken, misguided, or wrong. The same is roughly true of extremists, I’d say.
Following this perfectly logical line of reasoning, one can easily see why all those right-thinking-and-righteous extremists and fundamentalists are hogging the “right” end of the stick: none of them wants to be at the “wrong” end of it.
Suddenly, the ancient argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin starts to make sense.
1/ Touted as Australia’s most popular comedian, Carl Barron is “An Aussie larrikin persona that has been polished to shine brighter than an opal” (NZ Herald, quoted on Scoop Independent News). He gave a performance of his new show, A One Ended Stick, in Wellington on Saturday night, at the Opera House. I didn’t go.
2/ Thomas J Fitzgerald is Editor Emeritus of the newsletter of the Kingston Council of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest organization of Catholic men and their families.
3/ “In modern usage, the terms PC, politically correct, and political correctness are pejorative descriptors, whereas the term politically incorrect is used by opponents of PC as an implicitly positive self-description …” (Wikipedia: Political Correctness).