Thursday, January 8, 2015

I'M OFFENDED!!!"


There’s a new craze in America, a new pastime. It’s all the rage and equally popular in every demographic. Whites and blacks, conservatives and liberals, gays and straights, the religious and agnostic alike, something has finally come along to unite us….being offended.

Taking offense has become the new morning cup of coffee for vast swaths of America, from the heartland to Manhattan. It is the great conversation ender. All one has to say when confronted with something disagreeable is, “I’m offended by that,” and all debate grinds to a halt. It affords its speaker immense stature as a member of the growing legion of the aggrieved, those delicate souls of the put upon generation. Only this generation encompasses everyone at every age.

TLC offers up a reality show called, “My Husband Is Not Gay” about several Mormon men who despite being happily married, confess to being attracted to other men, and before you can say “Ellen DeGeneres” a press conference is called by GLAAD announcing their grievances accompanied by a petition with 80,000 names demanding that TLC pull the show.

Meanwhile, the parent organization, One Million Moms was busy being shocked and revolted by a Disney offering, Good Luck Charlie, because of the appearance of a same sex couple. A boycott is in the works.

Yesterday in Paris a couple of radicalized Muslims who were offended by irreverent cartoons responded by storming the offices of the offending publication and murdering 12 employees in cold blood, so at least the American strain of the offense bug isn’t quite as violent as the European variety.

Over the past few months I have seen published accounts of a heavenly host of the gravely offended. White people offended by Al Sharpton, black people offended by Donald Sterling. There was even a giant, outdoor crowd offence demonstration when a crowd of NYPD officers turned their backs on their mayor, so deep was their collective emotional scarring.

But, lest you think that your humble correspondent is immune, think again. There are a long list of things and people who offend the hell out of me. What follows is a brief list of just a few:

I AM OFFENDED BY:

1.     Reality television. Any family who agrees to introduce cameras into their home so the rest of us can be entertained by either their dysfunction, celebrity or both is beneath contempt and offends every fiber of my being.

2.      The Westboro Baptist Church. These hateful bastards are the ones who show up at funerals with the most vile, illiterate signs speaking cruelly of the dead, all in the name of Christianity.

3.     Rap music lyrics

4.     Rap music

5.     Rap musicians

6.     Donald Trump

Fortunately, as an American, there exists a remedy for #1. I never, ever watch reality television. That way I am only offended that so many others do. As far as #2 goes, the hateful bilge that proceeds out of their mouths is protected speech by virtue of the First Amendment. Inasmuch, I must learn to live with it. Numbers 3, 4, and 5 I also have the privilege of filtering out of my life by choosing not to listen. I hold similar power over #6 by never watching any television show that features his buffoonish face and toxic hair, and never, ever voting for him for President.
I feel the need to point out the fact that if something offends me it bestows upon me no special rights or privileges. The proper response should be something along the lines of, “So what?!” Life is a complicated, contentious thing. Not everything suits me, not everyone agrees with me, and that’s perfectly fine. Would I prefer it if people were nicer and more agreeable? Yes. Would I prefer if people with whom I profoundly disagree would just shut the heck up? Yes. Will that ever happen? Not in a million lifetimes. My only alternative to perpetual indigestion is to develop a thicker skin, and learn how to shrug my shoulders while saying, “oh well…”