no offense

Have you ever thought about how fucking silly it is to get offended by shit?

Obviously I haven’t.

But seriously, when you allow yourself to be offended by something, you give someone else a power over you that they really shouldn’t have. I mean, if someone can come up with a well-researched, logical, reasonable argument detailing how you’re wrong about something, but you can reduce them to speechlessness and thereby win the argument by default simply by calling them a “fuckwit” or some other such nonsense, isn’t that, well, kinda stupid?

Now for the record, I make a distinction between “hurtful” and “offensive”, because sometimes when someone attacks you verbally you can’t help but be hurt by it. But when I think of the term “offensive”, the image that comes to mind is a small child on a playground, face scrunched up in outrage, foot stamped, accusatory finger pointing, declaring with typically childlike indignation, “You can’t say that!! That’s offensive!!”

To which my response is generally, “………so?”

Which is not to say that I take pleasure in saying (or writing) things purely for the sake of causing offense. I don’t. On the other hand, I do often choose particular words because of the effect I want them to have on the reader. And yeah, I don’t always get it right, but that’s all part of the learning process. The point is that I’m not interested in limiting myself or my vocabulary simply because I’m afraid of offending someone.

Now it may seem like people being overly sensitive and easily offended is something new, but I don’t think that’s the case. I have no doubt that for as long as the human race has contained various permutations of stupid people and assholes we’ve had stupid assholes getting offended by stupid things (like being called stupid assholes, for example) and we’ve doubtless had other assholes who figure out pretty quickly what offends the stupid assholes, and then intentionally do those things to piss them off because it’s funny. Not that I’m condoning such behavior, mind you, but I’m not exactly sympathetic either.

Because there is nothing in this world that offends me. Seriously. Nothing. Now I’m sure plenty of people could find plenty of hurtful things to say to me, but there’s not a single thing anyone can say that would make me so outraged that I would insist that they not be able to say it.

Because I want to know what people are thinking. I want to know who the douchebags are, rather than getting blindsided by them later because I wasn’t able to readily identify their true nature from the start due to their veneer of Political Correctness. I want people to be open and honest and direct, because if nothing else, it makes it a hellova lot easier to know who I’ll want to avoid.

And doubtless there’s at least one or two people out there who feel the same way about me.

But that’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me about everything. And if someone can explain to me how something I’ve said is truly hurtful, odds are I’ll adapt my language. But if someone were to bitch at me because according to them I’m offensive, odds are I’d just make fun of them.

Because when it comes down to it, it’s the person who claims to be offended who is really trying to take power from someone else, because what they’re actually doing is trying to control what someone else can or can’t say. And I think that’s pretty lame. At worst, it’s an insidious way to try and limit free speech. After all:

“If an offence come out of the truth, better is it that the offence come than that the truth be concealed.”

–  St. Jerome (347-420 AD)

So there.


About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

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