Friday, December 08, 2006

On The Offensive

“Offensive” is one of the most overused words of the modern era. It’s supposed to pack a potent punch, but upon examination comes up decidedly lacking.

For starters, there are some who are easily offended. Often these people seem eager for a fight; they’re just looking for something to be angry about. I am thinking about people who are so
insulted by a satirical cartoon that they instigate deadly riots. Or who get miffed when others give them a generalized holiday greeting instead of a faith-specific one. Or who try to prevent women from feeding their babies. Or who try to stifle a message of peace at Christmas.

How should the offensive be dealt with? Hard to say, because it’s so damned subjective. There lies the honey-flavored barbecue rub.

In my experience, the way such things are typically handled is, if even one person complains, the offensive person/behavior/thing has got to stop and/or be punished. I know this is a bit muddled, but stay with me here.

As I
stated on a previous occasion, the existing practice is that when anyone claims to be offended, their rights automatically supersede those of the offenders. Why? Could not an offending party counter by saying that they’re offended that their rights are being curbed because someone else objected to their holiday display?

Far too many concessions are unquestioningly given to offendees. Offenders have rights, too, damn it. (You have probably already noted, I am not using “offender” here in the traditional sense of a criminal, but anyone who does anything deemed offensive by others.)

I’ve long felt that the prohibition of something should be directly tied to its capacity for demonstrable harm. So, while I generally feel people should be allowed to govern their own behavior, I agree with the ban on cigarette smoking in public places, for example, because of the discomfort and disease issues it presents.

Whereas, public breastfeeding may freak out some uptight people, it really doesn’t harm anyone. Sure, there are plenty of people around who “don’t want their kids (or selves) seeing that,” but they always seem to have a hard time explaining exactly what harm is being done to the viewers. They become indignant at the challenge, but rarely present a coherent, compelling argument.

Interaction with other humans will always require some give and take. And that means sometimes taking some shit you don’t like, because you’re also probably giving some of it to someone else. As long as no harm is done, we all have a self-interest in allowing it to remain that way.

Let me put it in other words: Lighten up, you lightweight, namby-pamby, pantywaist, c*cksucking, motherf*cking, grab-ass-tic pieces of amphibian sh*t. “You people” make me sick.

Man, I hope that didn't come across in an offensive way.


Hellpig said...


Breaking news Republicans cleared of any wrong doing,no rules broken in Foley scandal.

I bet you find this offensive Bogs

Pete Bogs said...

what you left out was that "Republican members of congress showed 'disconcerting unwillingness' and negligence" in the matter... it's like the Rove thing... everyone knows he did something, but not exactly enough to punish...

there's nothing offensive about the truth, hell...

there's one Republican yet to be cleared, and that's Foley himself, who may be facing some court time over this... too bad Republicants didn't release before the election, eh? anyway, the damage has been done, though it's hard to say how much it figured in the elections...

OT out...

Bird said...


i am deeply offended by this post.

i think it's that honey-flavored bbq rub comment that does it. i am a fan of HFBBQ rub and i think your useage here in essence implies that there is something inherently wrong with HFBBQ rub or that others might not like it?. subjective my you-know-what. everyone KKNOWS that anyone who is even halfway objective likes HFBBQ rub!

what have you got against HFBBQ rub?

you may think you've caused me no demonstrable harm, but you are wrong. my sensibilites have been assaulted. i am so upset, i cannot finish grading papers, nor concentrate on the myriad of responsibilities i must fulfill before the end of the semester.

and you have no idea of the ripple effect of demonstrable harm that can create!


Pete Bogs said...

bird - I used the HFBBQ word, huh?

Bird said...

oh don't play the innocent, bogs. you know perfectly well what OFFENSE you've perpeptuated on HFBBQ rub fans EVERYWHERE.

Pete Bogs said...

bird - you and your kind are just a bunch of "****ers!" (HBBQers)

Lil Bit said...


Well said.

I enjoyed your soapbox today. =)