Saturday, October 1, 2011

I’m Offended

“It offends me” is a whole other beast from “It’s offensive.” The former indicates that something bothers me and I’d prefer not to see/hear/experience it. It also indicates that I am the one with the problem and while I think this is wrong, I acknowledge that others can experience it if they choose—as long as it has nothing to do with me.

“It’s offensive” implies that it is near-universally appalled and that even mentioning it is distasteful. While there are things that fall into this category, it’s important to remember that something that bothers you is not necessarily in it.

One of the arguably unfortunate things about the world is that no matter how horrible something is, some @$$h0le somewhere is going to find it funny. Now, this doesn’t mean you should bite your tongue when something that bothers you pops up. You just have to remember to acknowledge that others think differently. Engage in debate—civil debate—ask it to be removed or whatever. And if someone says something you did offends them, offer them the same courtesy.

It’s frustrating, but one of the prices of free expression is that people can do things that piss you the hell off. And unless we all want to go Harrison Bergeron, we have to tolerate it. Unless it’s illegal. Then, yeah, go nuts.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the inspiration for this post, which probably makes the point better than I ever could:

Ever notice I use a lot of the same sources? It’s because I want people to think I’m smart, so I cite smart ideas of others. But it’s no big deal. Because that’s how academia works.


  1. Nicely done, and very funny today!

    It's surprising how just a slight variation of a word... winds up giving it an entirely different meaning.

  2. I love this post. I think that too often the people in my life (and I'm thinking of the older people in my life in particular) have a mindset that everyone alive somehow thinks like them. In other words, my parents for one believe that everyone will be embarrassed over the same things that they are embarrassed by and ashamed, etc.

    This is simply not true and is at the root of accusations when someone yells "This is offensive". What my mother who is seventy-eight finds offensive to what I find offensive are not even on the same page.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to this.

  3. Well put, dear Fritz. Since this was Banned Book week, I read a lot of articles screaming "offensive" when it really would have proved its point more with "offended." Unfortunately, the ignorant prevail and the rest of us must suffer silently. Or through blogs. Like this.

  4. Great post. Sometimes POV are a ping pong ball on a big table--back and forth, off the table, hitting the garage gets hard to follow sometimes.

  5. So true-- the post and how academia works, natch.

    What really drives me nuts is when entities (govt organizations, for instance) bow to a few people who are offended and issue a regulation/policy/apology/whatever instead of recognising the difference b/t a couple of people being offended and something being genuinely offensive. That's the sort of thing that stifles society, IMO.

  6. Great post that gave me something to think about. Thanks!


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