Friday, March 21, 2008

I Am So Offended....

DrugMonkey has started a very interesting discussion about being offended over at Science Blogs. I'd like to weigh in because really, being able to "go off" on what offends me is one of my favorite things about being a writer. In fact, if you've read my blogs or much of my published work, you'll know already most of the things that offend me. Nonetheless, here they are:


I cannot stand bigotry. Put me in the room with a bigot and I'm bound to become so incensed that I literally get physically ill. Unlike many people who claim to hate bigotry, however, I'm offended by it in ALL of its forms. Whether it's a member of a majority attacking a minority group or the reverse, I get in high dudgeon. So, for instance, I'm just as offended by some women stereotyping all men as I am by certain men stereotyping all women. I completely recognize that one has greater EFFECT than the other, but that doesn't change the general offensiveness of either.

Finding Offense Where There Is None

I've seen far too much of this in politics and public debates. This little phenomenon rears its head when someone insists on claiming their "opponent" is saying, writing, arguing the opposite of or at least something very different from what they actually are. The "offended" person then attacks the made up statement.

For instance, recently Al Sharpton took offense at a Clinton-related politician stating that some whites weren't ready to vote for a black man. Sharpton, however, attacked the statement never made that a black man could never be president. The ACTUAL statement is rather accurate considering the current state of race relations and is an indictment of certain parts of white America. The MADE UP statement is racist claptrap and easy to find offensive. The ACTUAL statement isn't very useful for someone wishing to score political points against the Clinton campaign. The MADE UP statement works just fine at making it look like the Clintonians are injecting racism into the campaign. I wonder why Al Sharpton would use the MADE UP statement?

The Dreaded Slur

I generally find slurs offensive or inoffensive depending on context. Some of my closest friends could get away with calling me Kike Dyke or Half Breed. We'd probably laugh about it. Why? Because I KNOW that I don't hang out with homophobes and anti-Semites. I KNOW that they wouldn't do it in front of unknown Jews and lesbians so that they wouldn't offend unintentionally. It's all from love and our generally bizarre senses of humor.

However, when a reader once insisted on repeatedly calling me Jew Dyke, I was spitting fire. Not publicly, of course, but my floor took a good pacing and my teeth were nearly worn down to nubs.

Willful Ignorance

Some people can't help not knowing things. Humans can't help not knowing everything. But when you make a point of not knowing something you really should know, you've got a problem.

When people like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens et al. write books about religion but don't bother to find out what the FACTS are about what people ACTUALLY believe or how religions are ACTUALLY practiced or how religious behaviors fit into universal human/primate behavior patterns, it chaps my hide.

When the president of the United States avoids asking the experts because his friends and his prayers and his "gut" tell him all he needs to know, I want to vomit.

When people go off on ill-educated rants about how our country isn't "really" a democracy anymore because the people don't get to micromanage national policy, I just want to scream "No shit, Sherlock! The United States never was a direct democracy. That was the whole point! Read the FUCKING constitution, Moron!"

Blaming The Victim

She was wearing a short skirt, so she was asking to get raped. If you'd shut up about being gay, people wouldn't have a reason to attack you. We've heard it all ad nauseum.

My new favorite is people who speak or behave offensively acting like their "victims" don't get to be offended. If you call someone a moron, they have the RIGHT to get a little miffed. If you're acting like a jackass, people have a right to tell you that you're a jackass. If you're being a willfully ignorant, bigoted, slur-slinging moron, people have a right to get royally pissed. Deal with it.

They Hate Us Because We're Wonderful And/Or Better Than Them

This one is bad enough coming from ignorant morons like George Bush, but when people who should know better think this is a reasonable argument, grrrrrrrrrrrr.......

My least favorite example of this came up in the discussion that inspired this post. A quote from Richard Dawkins: "Offense is what people take when they can't take argument" Maybe Mr. Dawkins should consider the possibility that educated theists find him offensive because he's a willfully ignorant, bigoted, slur-slinging moron who intentionally misrepresents his opponents and the state of the world so that he can pretend that he's so oppressed by being a best-selling author who makes millions off doing the very thing he insists can't be done publicly these days, attacking religion. Okay, that may be the longest sentence ever but I'm pretty sure it's both grammatically and factually correct. Don't make me have to blog Dawkins' book to prove it.

The Obvious

I think I can skip listing things like slavery, rape, child abuse, etc. as things I find offensive. If you can't guess that from the title of the blog, you probably haven't been able to read this far anyway.