If the media can be believed, we live in a country that could currently be best described as offended that we’re offended by the offensive offending that may or may not offend you, me, or the neighbor and if any one of those people are not offended, we’re unilaterally offended by their lack of offense.
It’s enough to make a poor blogger’s head hurt. It’s probably only a matter of time before the Court is asked to find that we Americans have a heretofore undiscovered and absolute right to not face any issue at any time that may hurt our chickenshit little feelings. That way we can prevent anyone from saying anything.
I can only hope that it doesn’t come to that.
I want to be offended by people. I want them to express ideas that are different than my own. I want them to challenge me – because that means I have to better understand my own positions and arguments. It means I have to work just that little bit harder to know my own mind. It means I don’t get a free pass when my poor little feelings aren’t validated.
While we’re at it, could we maybe “feel” a little less and “think” a little more – as in “I think this is important and here’s why” instead of “I feel that we should eat granola instead of eggs because chickens are people too.” All I’m asking for is a little intellectual rigor instead of running the country like some kind of damned new age encounter group.
As for me, I’ll continue to speak my mind. If anything I say offends you, good. That means I’m doing my part.
1. Being polite. I realize the social convention that tells us it’s bad to walk around punching people in the face exists to protect all of us from each other. God knows there are probably of plenty people out there who would like nothing more than the opportunity to slug me with no repercussions, but still, there’s something infuriating about being in a position day-in-and-day-out of being annoyed to your wits end and not being able to say or do anything about it because it would be considered rude. The people who don’t get typical social cues shouldn’t be covered by normal social conventions. When I’ve turned my back to you and you keep talking, I should be allowed to punch you in the face. Invade my personal bubble? Punch in the face. Have no clue that others aren’t interested in a monolog about your top five worst medical problems? Punch in the face. Twice. You get the point. When someone lives outside society’s norms, maybe they shouldn’t be protected by those norms. If your feelings get hurt and your nose gets bloodied in the process, well, maybe that’s just a lesson learned… and yet for some reason when you tell someone they’re being an obnoxious douchecanoe, you’re suddenly the asshat. There is no justice.
2. Celebrities. You know the funny thing about celebrities behaving badly? Their asshattery is only covered by the news outlets because we all tune in. Justin Bieber getting a DUI? News. Brittany Spears flashing her hoohaw. News. Kim and Kanye doing anything? News. Except the thing is, it’s not news. People get DUI’s, show their lady parts, and are generally stupid every day of the year without it being the lead story on every website and newspaper in the country. Celebrities get the attention they do not because they behave badly, but simply because we allow it to be so. It’s the classic example of ignore it and they will go away. Or at least they’ll continue to get into trouble, but do it more or less in anonymity and without it becoming a spectacle. It’s a crying shame that we all can’t just agree to ignore these tools until they stop getting the ink they so desperately want.
3. Policy. As a rule, policy is something I’ve always considered a guideline. It’s the user’s manual version of how to do things – 98.9% of the time, policy coverers just about everything you’ll deal with on a regular basis. Conveniently, though, policy very rarely has the force of something more codified, say like a regulation or a law. That means there’s almost always a way to get an exception to policy (or in more extreme circumstances just ignore the policy because it doesn’t pass the common sense test within the context of new or extenuating circumstances). No one is doing themselves a service when the blindly follow something just because “that’s how it’s done” or “that’s the policy.” You see, the problem with blind adherence to anything is that it so often comes with unintended consequences… and those so very rarely end well for anyone.