Offence: When did everyone get so precious?

Offence by Tom NashDespite what many of my blog posts may suggest, I try to make the journeys where I climb up onto my pedestal and proclaim something bullshit rare. When I do, I try to make it worthwhile. I consider this piece one of those. The ease at which people take offence to things these days is fucking ridiculous. Feel free to disagree- that’s what the comment section is for.

Now don’t go thinking I’m one of those “it’s Political Correctness gone mad” pee-narses, this is nothing to do with deluded excuses for racist/xenophobic/racist and xenophobic language/behaviour/language and behaviour, as those of you who make to the end will see.

Now, cleverer people than me have explained why ‘Political Correctness’ is a good thing and they’ve done it in a much more entertaining and eloquent way than I ever could, so I’m going to let one of them do it for me now. If you think ‘Political Correctness’ has ‘gone mad’, watch this clip of comedian Stewart Lee and join the rest of us in a bit, OK?

No, my beef is with the sense of privilege that people are increasingly displaying. The sense of privilege that seems to believe that we are all unique and delicate porcelain dolls that must be handled carefully in case something upsets us. And god-forbid anyone or anything that does.

Being offended is an unavoidable part of life. Sometimes you see or hear something you don’t like. It happens. There are a lot of us to keep happy, occasionally you won’t be one of those, who at that moment, is happy. It’ll pass and life will go on. Deal with it.

The sort-of metaphor-type thing that I’ll use to explain myself is that of ‘heckler at a comedy show who takes offence to the material the performer is using’:

A fully functioning, rational human being- upon realising that they disagree with the majority of the comedian’s opinions and are no longer enjoying their evening- finishes their drink, gathers their things and leaves quietly, as to prevent disrupting those who are still having fun.

The heckler? They no likey and the source of the no likey needs to know. This means the world must stop while they throw their toys out of the pram, ruining the pacing of the routine the professional on stage has prepared and forcing everyone else in the room to acknowledge and pay attention to them. Wah.

Is the aim of the exercise for the greater good, or is it a selfish act?

And thus is the basis of my argument.

Here are more examples of inexplicably precious behaviour that I, personally, find a bit twattish:

Complaining about TV programmes
Do you not have a remote control? Oh you do. Switch to something else. Problem solved!

If only it was that simple…

Did you hear about that controversial programme what has a scene in which actors do things that you don’t agree with that’s on tonight? Bet you’ll probably just avoid it, right? You know what’s going to happen because you read a detailed, outraged article about it in the Mail/Sun/other fear-mongering, prejudice baiting shit-rag earlier anyway. And you know you’re not going to like it- you’re not even in the target demographic anyway…

Oh. You are going to watch it. OK. Maybe we set a rule that if you choose to watch something you KNOW is going to piss you off/make you confusingly aroused/make you feel stupid, you forfeit your right to moan about it afterward on any public platform other than Facebook. Deal?

Objecting to things that don’t concern you
What??? Gay people want to celebrate their love and commitment by marrying other gay people??? The beautiful, important and wondrous union of a couple in love that people totally don’t just do for tax reasons? That super important ceremony that brings families together, although more than half of heterosexual people who do it end up getting divorced at much emotional and financial burden every year? Not on my fucking watch, pal!

Why? How does it affect you? What business is it of yours who people fall in love with? Why should you have any say in what people do with their own lives?

Maybe you use the ‘what do I tell my children’ argument? OK. Louis CK can deconstruct that one for me:

Are you short on time? Just watch from 0:55-1:30 for the gist of it.

Do you ‘oppose’ gay marriage? Spend a lot of time thinking about it, do you? And you don’t think that’s a bit weird? Hmmmm?

“How dare you speak to me like that?”
Normally comes from the mouth of some tit that wouldn’t be able to spell respect if the song was playing in the background but expects it in heaps from anyone they encounter. Seems fair…

But why is that? Why do despicable people think respect and special treatment is a given right rather than something to be rewarded with once it has been earned?

And why is pissing YOU off such a crime? I’m not saying I’m separate from this phenomenon either, of course I’m fucking not- I’m human; I can be happy, sad or angry (that’s ALL the emotions and you can only feel one at a time, right fellas?). I genuinely want to know why having our sensibilities tested can regress even the most educated, reasonable people to the emotional depth of a toddler…

Any theories are welcome. I’m no sociologist, but here’s mine:

There appears to be an abundance of people walking the streets of the UK that still believe their mum was telling the truth when she said they were special and unique, well into adulthood.

What the actual fuck? Being that clueless and unaware of the world is pretty much akin to believing in the Tooth Fairy at 40 or older. Grow up.

Quick reiteration: People say and do offensive things. Learn to accept and deal with it and the world may stop being such a frustrating place.

One last note:

Social media
This one is quite specific. If you don’t like what Joey Barton says on Twitter, stop tweeting him to let him know, just unfollow him. It’s that easy. You don’t even have to tell him you’re unfollowing- one click and you only ever have to read about him when some lazy hack compiles one of his latest rants into what passes as a newspaper story these days…

But you won’t will you? Because he HAS to know that YOU disagree with his opinion and that you don’t think he is a particularly pleasant human being. He HAS to!

Why? What difference will it make? Countless people before you have done the same and still he witters on.

Will this time will be different because it’s the almighty YOU that’s telling him? Get. The. Fuck. Out. Of. Here.

Guess I’m preaching to the choir by now- nice one for making it to the end.

Let’s hope that someone took offence and un-ironically lets us know with a poorly worded comment. Fingers crossed!