I’m going to try something new at In the Land of Reverie. From here on out I will be interspersing classic nuggets of wisdom from my old blog with current thoughts. It appears we have “secret readers” that find offense in ever thought, blog post, picture and punctuation choice I make.
Cheers and thank you! You have inspired me to amp up the writing exercises from once a month or once in a blue moon to EVERY DAMN DAY! I was looking for the motivation I needed to get back in the writing swing of things and TAG! You are it!
Muchas gracias! Vielen dank! Merci beaucoup! תודה רבה לך! Grazie mille! большое спасибо мудак! Du bist wirklich ein verdammter Verrückter!
Originally written: January 18, 2015
“I am offended!” : How to navigate through a world of hypersensitivity without stepping in a big pile of hurt feelings.
Okay, I’ll just say up front that in today’s society, one that seems to feed on constant worry about offending everyone and their brother, sister, mother, father, child, dog or cat…there is NO way to avoid a bomb that gets ignited by simply having an “opinion.” These days there is the impression that no one should, could or has a right to voice an opinion about anything controversial because it may hurt the feelings of someone somewhere.
You never know the “where” or the “who” until the words are out of your mouth or have been released from your fingertips via the computer keyboard but eventually it becomes clear that not everyone GETS your meaning or intent. They read halfway and then assume its offensive and fire a vicious missile of YOU HURT MY FEELINGS back which typically starts with personal insults being aimed at the offender by the offended. An offense for an offense is the new eye for an eye.
In doing this we are signaling that most “touchy” subjects are off limits and even the simplest of topics could get another person branded as narrow-minded, elitist, a conservative tight-ass, a liberal wimp or even the dreaded….INSENSITIVE! Surely we haven’t grown so intolerant of sharing and debating ideas with those different than ourselves that rather than trying we just shut the doors with a terse, “That was offensive to me and I’m going home!” It’s very similar to scooping up your toys in a huff and flipping little Johnnie the bird as you stomp back to your race car toddler bed to cry. Get back in there and play ball dammit! How is anyone ever going to learn your point of view or you theirs if everyone just walks away all pissed off.
How did we get here? Why is the air so filled with misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misinformation? “She said-They said-He said-Everyone says” fills the room during heated conversations but is there actual fact-based proof to support the “They” hypothesis or is it generally just based on personal belief and a sense of inner doubt mixed with self-righteous insecurity? My dilemma is one of not knowing if I should just pretend to give a shit when some Sensitive Sally gets their knickers in a twist over an opinion I was ASKED for or if I should just say that I’m sorry they got themselves all offended. I often laugh when I hear, “You offended me,” because in my mind I’m hearing, “I have poor listening skills and super thin skin so instead of admitting I didn’t get what you said I’ll just slap the new catchphrase of the year on it and blame you.”
What is offensive really? It has different meanings for everyone involved so wouldn’t logic also tell you that assuming the speaker is purposely trying to offend without even considering the tone and context or asking for clarification first would be a fault on your part and not theirs? Generally speaking, I typically say that it is completely up to you as to whether or not you will be offended and it isn’t my responsibility to protect you from your choice.
I never say I am sorry for offending anyone because that was not my intent, never will be and not something I need to atone for because I state my opinion as asked and as I feel it. In most adult discussions with people that you know well there usually is a common connection and the presumption that all involved are well-intentioned because you all are adults, after all, so to take offense is completely up to the person that chooses to.
It’s a “free country” (I put that in quotes because it’s the cliché we hear most) so let’s branch out and apply that to the human condition as a whole. Some people are assholes and like to get others all up in arms and outraged on purpose…that is their intention and if you just fell for it then whose fault is that really? Is it theirs for being how they really are or yours for forgetting what you’ve always known them to be?
The media is a key example of this because they study how pushing people’s emotional buttons creates a reaction so again wouldn’t it also be logical to think that they may play on this by tweaking coverage of certain important social issues in order to get a big pot of offense and outrage boiling? Being offended is just as great for ratings as being offensive is right? When one side jumps ship they have to go somewhere and thus the game continues with little relief in sight. Don’t allow yourself to be played.
So, how do we work through our issues with being perceived as offensive in a defensive world? We keep on being ourselves and clearly and plainly say in our most pleasant voice (sing it if you can) “Get the hell over yourself! I listened to you now listen to me.” Do a high kick and then twirl around for good measure too. Having an opinion shows we are still individuals and that we haven’t succumbed to the zombie state many unimaginative, scared of looking at people cross ways, whimpering cowards around us have. It’s called give and take. They give their two cents and then you take it and turn it into a damn dollar!
Taking offense constantly, rather than rallying the troops for another wave of shock and awe over your impressive debating skills is a sad thing indeed. Study up, learn your facts and understand that the best way to have a spirited transfer of opposing ideas and thoughts is to present them in as clear a picture as possible.
Don’t muddy your argument with fuzzy facts or insults…it’s not necessary and it just makes you look like a fucking idiot. The goal is to be able to state your true point of view, not some watered down, politically skewed version. It should be an honest, heartfelt truth so when people hear it they walk away thinking, “Yeah, maybe I could get on board with that because she’s got a point.” Trust me here. And, you REALLY can. I’ve seen shit and lived to tell the tale!
© 2019 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.