Thursday, October 2, 2014

That's Offensive

I was watching the news as I got ready this morning and, during the span of about 30 minutes, there were FOUR stories that talked about people or groups that had recently been offended by one thing or another.  Now I'm not talking about serious things that go against our spiritual beliefs......we won't go there.  I'm just talking about petty issues that keep people's undergarments all up in a wad.

Understand that I'm not advocating being insensitive or cruel with our words.  I'm certainly not on the side of bullying, discrimination, or hate.  I'm just saying that it might be time we quit being so touchy, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and implement what our Mamas taught us....."in one ear and out the other".

Weary of the repeating "offensive" stories, I thought about what a bunch of big babies we've become. You remember that kid, Cindy, in your fourth grade class, who was always sullen and whining that someone hurt her feelings?  Every class had a Cindy.  Each day would find her complaining about what this person did and what that person said.  It was like walking on eggshells when you were around Cindy.  You never knew when you might say something that would offend her even though you didn't mean to.  Cindy was always eager to be offended and even more eager to tell everybody just how offended she was.     

Well, we've become a big bunch of "Cindys".  (In the spirit of being sensitive, I hope I don't offend any of my readers named Cindy.....I just pulled that name out of the air.....I do apologize.....and it could, just as easily, have been "Jim" or "Billy"....so no underlying insinuation intended there.)  

The list of things that we can say is getting shorter and shorter as the tabooed list is growing by the day.  And the things you can say today, you may not be able to say tomorrow..... it's a fluid list.....and so you have to try to keep up.  We've become so self absorbed and thin-skinned that we have no mercy or tolerance for any kind of faux pas or human slip.  It's all about us and we will take you down.....all the way to the very door of destruction....if you misspeak or have a lapse in judgment or even if we just perceive that you've misspoke.  There's no room for error.

Companies pull million dollar ads and release long, groveling, apologetic statements to appease their offended potential buyers....just ask Pepsi, GM, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola to name a few.  GM pulled an ad targeting college students which implied to some that riding a bicycle around campus was uncool.  This caused an uproar from the League of American Bicyclists.  GM caved under the pressure. 

Now listen, my little brother is a BIG cyclist.  He rides in these ridiculously brutal endurance races and, rain or shine, even bikes to work every day......and to the store....and any other time he gets the chance, but not once do I recall him expressing his displeasure with GM or tweeting about how insulted he was or marching while holding up a sign calling for a boycott.  It was almost like his life was totally unaffected by the ad.  He must be out of his mind!  Who misses the perfect opportunity to be offended???         

Politicians are constantly offending some group in their voting public when they speak.  Of all people, you hate to feel sorry for them, but the trap's baited and set for them around elections.  There are about 8 words that are safe to use in a political speech now and those are as follows.....strawberry, Arbor Day, sunshine, antelope, clarinet, waffles, peace, and autoharp.  These words have been approved as having no offensive qualities whatsoever....nor can they be misconstrued in any way.  Try making a speech out of that...... but veer too far from those and your poll numbers will sink like an anchor.  (I apologize if that sounded derogatory toward anchors.)     

Celebrities, athletes, and news anchors are always issuing apologies for tweets or comments that weren't thought out properly or that were taken the wrong way by some circle.  They're another group you hate to feel sorry for, but everything they say is examined closer than your Pap smear.  Agents and PR firms are in constant motion, putting out fires, dialing comments back, and smoothing things over.     

And you can't help but feel sorry for men.  They don't know how to act anymore.  Apparently, opening a door or offering a seat to a woman is offensive to some as if it signals that we are a weak sex.  I don't know about you, but you let a rattlesnake crawl up in my garage or the 10 foot Christmas tree need to come down from the attic and I don't care what it implies......DAVIS!! 

There are no longer such words as a fireman, salesman or chairman, so don't make that mistake.....it's firefighter, salesperson, or chairperson.  Apparently, there were some people who couldn't sleep at night knowing the word, man, was in those titles.  I can see their point though.  It is quite troublesome even when lined up alongside world hunger, persecution, and disease. 

If a man calls a group of women ladies, then I've heard he's being derogatory as the word, lady, originated in a time when women owned nothing and had few rights.  I can see how some would rather be referred to in a more politically correct manner.   "Good evening...how are you, Homo sapiens with two X chromosomes?"  It does have a nice ring to it.  Let's go with that. 

And in case you're not up to date, you can no longer use the term, founding fathers, when talking about our country's beginnings as it projects a tone of sexism.  No matter what the realities of the day were, from this point on, you should only refer to them as the founders.  This will help us all cope better emotionally with any inequalities in our history.

Did you know that those of us with furry creatures are no longer pet owners, but pet guardians?  The reasoning is simple....it is now less acceptable to own animals, so we shouldn't even imply that concept.  This is offensive to some two legged creatures.  I don't think Sugar really cares what I call myself as long as I keep her favorite Caesar dinner flavors in the cabinet under the sink and an ample supply of Beggin' Strips on hand.  If you must use the title, pet owner, please be considerate enough to not do it front of them, at least.          

People who are in our country illegally are now just undocumented.  Illegal is such an ugly word.  We wouldn't want law breakers to get their feeling hurt.  And by all means, please don't use the word, terrorists, when referring to murderers who behead innocent people in the name of their cause.  It is an act of workplace violence.  Worst case....they are violent extremists.  There's a big difference.  How would you like it if someone called you a terrorist?  Sit and think about that for a while. 

Yes, nowadays we can get offended by everything from mascots, Jeopardy categories, breastfeeding, cartoons, job titles, children's toys, and recently even our own flag seems to offend some of us.  We get offended if you're not offended.  We get offended if you are offended.  We get offended if you offended an offender.  We get offended on behalf of the offended.  We get offended just to hear ourselves offended.  We get offended for the sake of being offended.  We just like to be offended....but don't say that out loud because that would be offensive. 

I can't imagine what we could get accomplished if we would use all of the energy that we invest in being offended into changing something that is worth fighting for....if we focused on making a difference in things that really mattered.  I think it's time we evaluate what's important, what's worth our time, and what really isn't.  Maybe we should raise the threshold of our indignation just few notches.

Please don't get offended, but there are more noble and worthy causes than our feelings.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!     



 


              

      
     
 

25 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. :) Thanks, Joni........always happy to see a Joni with my spelling!

      Delete
  2. A school district in eastern PA just spent $400k losing a lawsuit over breast cancer awareness wristbands that said "I heart boobies". I guess they thought those were too offensive for students to wear. I can think of a lot of phrases about boobies that would be offensive, but I'm not so sure that's one of them ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just never know these days, Brandi!!

      Delete
  3. This was brilliant! I find that I often don't have anything to say after reading your posts because you already say it all. You leave me speechless, but in a good way! Loved this post! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You said it Joni!!!!!!! As always, you are spot on! Your posts are so eloquent. I believe that your common sense and writing rival the late Andy Rooney's. Absolutely love your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to clarify the comparison to Andy Rooney.....whether or not one agreed with his views, I admire the fact that he took a stand and stated it succinctly just as Joni does.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much, Squirl! You're so kind to say that! :)

      Delete
  5. Wholeheartedly agree! It has gotten ridiculous. Love where you yell DAVIS! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha......I'm no fool, Marie. ;)

      Delete
  6. Amen, what a great post.
    I heard of a blind lady saying, I used to be called blind, then handicapped, then sight impaired. What ever you choose to call me, I still can't see!!! : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bless her heart......she probably never knows what she'll be called next.

      Delete
  7. I can't even explain how much I agree with you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pet Guardians! That's new to me...and I'm offended. :) I own my animals, sorry people (and animals).

    Such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Jennifer......I own Sugar and she likes it that way :)

      Delete
  9. ohmygracious, YES. nail on the head, joni! more than once in the past week i've said to someone, "you've got to let that go & take the high road." we're so busy being offended that we're missing LIFE. carry on, sister.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't agree more, Tracey!! Let it GO!!! :)

      Delete