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Friday, December 28, 2012

Outraged and Offended? Life is too short to be offended every day

I recently read a review and some comments on Twitter about the new film, “Django Unchained” and how the commenter felt OFFENDED that some white people in the audience laughed a little too loudly at certain violent and brutal scenes in the film. – (LONG PAUSE, followed by me sighing.)

Okay, let me get this straight- PEOPLE were offended because there was brutality in a Quentin Tarrantino film? WOW! What did they expect? Had they never seen a Q.T. film before? I read, then re-read the piece-(see here) and all I could get from it was how insane we have become about BEING OFFENDED!  I left a comment which said, “Honestly, I am perplexed. That kind of violence should be disturbing ALWAYS, regardless of who the victim is. Don't you think it is universally "inappropriate" to laugh at the pain and suffering of ANYONE, regardless of race???”  I mean, should anyone be offended that a person laughs when someone outside their race gets hurt or is it okay to laugh when someone of your same race gets hurt? What difference does it make? Does that make it racist? I don’t think so.

I’ve come to the conclusion that just about everything in existence has the potential to offend someone. Honestly, I shake my head daily, often multiple times a day, at the incessant whines across television, radio, internet, and print. This one is offended by this, that one is offended by that, and most of the time I can’t understand what the fuss is about.
In order to wrap my little brain around some of the hypocrisy and actual glaring double-standards of the offenses, I often try very hard to put myself in the offended party’s shoes. Once I have done that, it almost always points to the same conclusion- some people enjoy being outraged and offended so they go looking for it. It’s called, “I love being a victim and feeling


There is enough REAL oppression and victimization in the world, so when it is concocted and imaginary, it can really set me off. I have grown weary of listening to the unceasing whines and lamentations of how ___________(fill in the blank) society is.

Below are the TOP TEN over-used and often exaggerated “offenses” heard in the crowd:

1. Mean, as in “People are so mean! I can’t stand being around mean people!” 

2. Unfair, as in “THAT is really unfair that I didn’t get what I deserve!”

3. Sexist, as in “I am tired of Hollywood being so sexist!”

4. Racist, as in “Everything bad that happens to me is because someone is racist.”

5. Stupid, as in “I can’t stand being around all these stupid people!” (Usually referring to someone who disagrees with them.)

6. Rich, as in “I am disgusted by those rich people. They don’t know what struggles regular people have!”

7. Poor, as in “I am offended that there are people who aren’t able to take care of themselves and need assistance. They need to get a job!”

8. Religion, as in “People who believe in God, or that version of religion, ruin it for the rest of us! They should believe what I do!”

9. Appearance, as in “No one should make fun of anyone because of how they look!”

10. Catch all, as in “I am offended and upset that people don’t agree with me or my lifestyle, and make me feel like I am wrong about everything!”

So, let’s talk about a few of these and let me clarify that I am NOT saying that there aren’t extremely offensive and mean, unfair, sexist, racist, stupid, rich, poor, religious, or unattractive, or WHATEVER, in the world.  My issue is when people go looking for slights and offenses where they don’t actually exist OR they don’t agree with their version of it. Perhaps one should adjust their “offense meter” before voicing their outrage at offenses which aren’t really offensive. And if you don't like it, IGNORE THEM! Get that chip off your shoulder.

When you come right down to it, just about anything can be considered offensive to someone. That is a personal choice and prerogative. I have friends who are very offended by eating meat or killing animals for food. Are they are entitled to their opinion and lifestyle choice? ABSOLUTELY!  Just as much as I have a right to be offended by people who drink too much at parties and make asshats out of themselves.  But to be outraged and offended because different people choose to eat food I don’t or drink alcohol is ridiculous and a bit overblown. If I allow myself to be outraged by everything I disagree with, or don’t do myself, I begin to think and act like a victim.

Life 101: I don’t know how some people missed the epiphany most people have around the age of 30. It’s the one that tells you very clearly that LIFE ISN’T FAIR. It’s never going to be. Some really bad people have lives with really good things, and some really good people get bad things. It is called GROWING UP and GETTING REAL. If you never learn to deal with the fact that life isn’t fair, you will likely become a perpetual whiner and complainer. All I can say is, accept it and get over it. None of us like it, but it is just the way it is.

Life 102: Yes, there are a lot of people in the world who aren’t nice, and for those of us who try to be as nice as we can, we also fail. Niceness is often lost in a sea of fatigue, confusion, self-absorption, chaos, uncertainty, or ignorance. It isn’t personal, it just is.  That isn’t an excuse, it is an explanation.  Again, we don’t have to like it, but if you plan on being successful in life, you’re going to have to toughen up.

Life 103: IT ISN’T ALWAYS PERSONAL or about you! There are situations where people are unkind because they are wrapped up in their own unhappy lives and they have no kindness to spare. And yes, there are people who are cruel, brutal, unjust, nasty, rude, sexist, racist, and every other unpleasant word you can think of. They are often offensive and downright bad. Having to deal with them is toxic and can make a person feel like a victim. BUT when a person chooses to feel victimized by every slight, every mundane act of unkindness or careless comment, they are doing it to themselves and they are not deserving of pity.

My advice is simple. Don’t take offense at everything. Don’t take everything personally. Consider the other person’s motives and perspective. And save offense and outrage for important things.

If a person goes looking for things to be offended by and embraces every opportunity to be the victim of SOMEONE or SOMETHING, they need to get psychological help or a wake-up call. To indulge that sort of masochism is not helpful to the person or anyone else they have to deal with.  

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