Hello dear reader(s)!
I’m all for not purposely offending someone. Unless a major part of your act is a giant statement in the absurdity of people being offended (such as Anthony Jeselnik or Bill Burr), in which case…more please! But have we taken our outrage and offense too far?
It is my definite opinion that we have.
I believe that we are just too damn sensitive. When even your fiction writing requires trigger warnings or explanations about why you said what you said, and why you either stand behind it, or agree it was a stupid thing to say…something is wrong. This post was triggered (hahaha) by a comment from a blogger I respect. It was based on a generalization about a region made by a character (a generalization about the place I admit to sharing). In the comments I explained that places aren’t people and I stand by my right to write about it. She explained her position that just because I see it that way does not mean my readers will. Which is absolutely true. A completely reasonable and likely accurate stance.
But so what? As I’ve stated numerous times, I do not write for my readers. Some are going to like it, some are not. Some are going to find what I’ve said offensive, many won’t. If I were to sit down and think about what I could write without offending anyone, I would not be able to write anything.
You are going to offend someone.
If I like rap, I am appropriating black culture. If I don’t, I don’t like black culture. (For the record, I like plenty of rap.) If I think there is no such thing as race on a genuine level, but it is a construct of humanity’s need to categorize, I am seen as denying the experiences of a people. And I am. Because in my opinion, there is no such thing as a people. There is just people. I acknowledge the experience of a group of people. But not A people. I’ve been told I hate white people because I believe as a person commonly referred to as white that I have a certain privilege. An unfair advantage, if you will. If you name a category of people, I have probably offended some of those people in it.
If I say I don’t care for religious fundamentalism, I am seen as being intolerant. Never mind that it spans fundamentalism in ALL religions, and I wouldn’t care except a large part of fundamentalism is to be intolerant of other belief systems. I’ve offended atheists in their almost religious-like fervor that there is no God. I’ve offended meat eaters simply by choosing to cut back on my meat intake. I’ve offended vegans by saying I just don’t think I’d want to give up cheese and yes I know how bad it is for the cows and the Earth. I’ve offended vegetarians for occasionally slipping and eating meat. I don’t think I’ve offended a pescatarian yet, because they all seem to love me. (That last line probably offended a couple of pescatarians now.)
You can offend someone for telling them to have a nice day. I have. Someone said, “I can’t. I have depression. That is rude.”
I said, “Fuck you. I was being nice. I don’t give a rat’s fuck what kind of day you have.”
People are outraged over people’s Halloween decorations. Or costumes. “That hanging body is an offensive racial stereotype.” Oh really? Tell me again how only one race has ever been hanged? Tell me about how hanging can’t be traced back to at least middle aged Europe. Tell me that again while you are wearing your awful witch costume that would be offensive to those who practice an entire religion if those people were more of the type to get too easily offended.
Think about the Starbucks cup controversy.
This is insanity. A company, changes the design ON THEIR CUPS and people believe it is part of a larger war on a religion? Do you know what a war on religion is? The Crusades. The Spanish Inquisition (which nobody expects, by the way). The slaughter of the original Americans who would not convert. That is a religious war. You really want to see how that works? I guarantee you, it will be a lot uglier than having snowflakes taken off of cups.
People are offended by a fucking design change. A design change. They aren’t storming into your Sunday service demanding you to start calling Christmas the holidays. They aren’t bombing your places of worship. They are changing up their cups. Oh. My. Fucking. God. It’s war!!!!
If you are offended by something, it is okay. We all get offended at things. Sometimes it is justifiable because it is just something that should never be done by any common sense of decency and is so blatantly and purposefully hurtful to someone. Sometimes it is us being too sensitive. And even when that happens, you have a very powerful tool at your disposable. Choose not to consume it. I know that goes against everything you are being told as a good citizen, not consuming something, but it can be done.
But when you start suggesting censoring someone, including yourself, from saying something not intended to hurt someone based on the possibility that someone COULD possibly be offended by it…I find that offensive.