People need to be offended. You can’t very well challenge outmoded or mistaken thinking patterns about anything significant without irritating or offending their established sensibilities.
Yet somehow in some people’s minds, merely branding some idea as “offensive” constitutes an overwhelming argument that the idea is wrong and shouldn’t even be expressed or considered further.
Then the argument becomes one of what is or is not “offensive.” Some social conservatives have problems based on some WWJW idea- What would Jesus watch? Some liberals are deeply offended by any expression even hinting that homosexual marriage is anything less than an inviolable constitutional right.
“Offensiveness” seems to be basically a moral judgment. Within it are numerous sub-categories of offensiveness: obscene, homophobic, sexist, and- of course- racist. If you can tag someone or some writing, video or other art work with one of these labels indicating immorality, then it is invalid and discredited.
Some people are Most Always Complaining that anything or anyone they don’t like “is” somehow “racist” or otherwise “offensive.” Doesn’t Involve Valid Argument, but it doesn’t need to.
For my part, when someone objects that some article I’ve written is offensive, or one of the sub-categories of offense, I find it irrelevant. If someone says ‘This is a homophobic article,’ I’ll say, “And your point is?”
The point is, offensiveness is not the question. Truth is. Homophobic (whatever that means) is beside the point. Is the offending statement TRUE? Is it logical, and in keeping with known facts on the ground?
Besides which, “offensive” is a subjective personal emotion. In essence, people are arguing that their subjective internal emotional reaction of distaste constitutes an argument that an idea, artwork or person is wrong. Sounds kind of silly when you look at it like that, doesn’t it?
Offending people just for the fun of seeing them mad tends to mark someone as a jerk in my book, though. It’s not nice to say things just to hurt people’s feelings for no good reason. It’s good to be nice where you can.
But you’re not doing anyone a favor by coddling bad beliefs and dysfunctional behavior systems for fear of offending them.
You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Being offended is part of learning.
Plus, as per the slogan of my Culpepper Log, Sacred cows make the tastiest burgers.