Are we an offended nation? All the right wingers and the generally rude and crude seem to think we are. The new trend is to tell Americans to grow a pair, or stop shaving your female genitalia, or something equally witty in reference to your overly sensitive self. We see the memes and comments everywhere online. Sometimes we respond to this criticism as if we are offended about being called offended but that never goes well now does it?
I can turn on my TV and watch Honey Boo Boo, which seems to be a show about how horrible a family can become given no hope or reason to do otherwise. The Duggar family and their guiding Christian values of assembly line procreation which was unwatchable until they produced that one pedophile son with a penchant for sexual adventure. There is Survivor, a real life Lord of the Flies, where we pit humans against one another to lie and cheat and starve and basically chase piggy till his desire to survive leaves him. The Jersey Shore was a fan favorite where a group of pseudo humans cavorted about drinking and humping and vomiting while spewing their version of wisdom on such subjects as humping and drinking and vomiting. Such gems as The Bachelor and Bachelorette or the Naked and Afraid are there for our viewing pleasure also. I mean, the list is far to long to continue.
Maybe a better question at this point is, do we not have a right to be offended? It is clear that we live in an age where offensive is front and center. It is clearly on the TV and on the internet. It is in your face very much on purpose. They not only want a reaction from us, they demand it, and once given they cry foul. They cry that we, the offended, are too easily upset, to quick to judge.
If I were to fess up, and it seems I am about to, I would admit that my sense of humor runs dark. I gravitate to the Sam Kinison, and Doug Stanhope style of stand up comedy which can get pretty bleak pretty fast. I enjoy the disgusting memes and laugh at the morons as they film themselves in what appear to be attempts at suicide. I do all of this but there is one minor difference. I know this stuff is offensive so when someone calls me on it I do not whine.
This leads to another important question. Who is actually offended? Is it the person reacting as you knew they would when you did the offensive thing, or is it the idiot that got called out as offensive for purposely being so, and then whines about it? I say the latter.
I went to school for art. I recall a bit of an issue with an art school in Chicago where a student painted the beloved former mayor in lingerie. The city was appalled and they eventually came and confiscated the painting. Was I offended by the painting? No. But I was offended by the artist feigning indigence. The artist tried to offend, knew he would offend, then whined when he succeeded even better than he had hoped. You cannot whine when you get the reaction you aimed for.
This gets us to the heart of the matter does it not. if you are trying to offend, or do not care who you offend, then you cannot call the people easily offended. It is the equivalent of running over someone with a car and then bitching at them for being in pain.
If I am wrong, and you grew up in a cave away from society and unaware that other humans have other sensibilities I suppose you can get a pass, the first time. But if you grew up in this country then you should be aware of where the lines are in at least some general way. You should know your joke about Jesus is not going to fly in a Baptist church any more than your joke about gun lovers being morons will fly at an NRA meeting. If you plan to forge ahead with these jokes then be ready for the consequences and do not get offended when the whole place is offended and rises up to slay you.
Your defense that “this is ‘Murica and I can fly my confederate flag on my truck if’n I wanna” is perfectly valid. And so is the counter argument that if you fly that flag society in general will think of you as a racist redneck moron. You do not get to be offended when they do, you knew what was coming.
Personally I view it less as being offended and more as whether I think something is just plain wrong. For me that is usually when it is not funny. And I can think it wrong and not be offended in any way. There is a difference between offended and thinking something useless.
In the end though, I say, make your jokes, and fly your statements. See how they fit. See if you have the courage of your convictions. Do this before you get that prominently displayed confederate flag tattoo on your face. Once you go that far it doesn’t matter if you have the courage to face your constant stream on detractors and offended. You shall be their poster boy for what is wrong with most of the country, and the poster boy for what is right to a select few. Make certain you really like those select few because they are now your friends for life.