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In defense of offense

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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.

Mmm, burgers…

About Gadfly

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    BHW:

    What about adults that are related by ‘blood’? Brothers and sisters? Mothers and sons, fathers and daughters – if everyone is an adult? Is this alright too? If not, then why? Why do we have laws against it?

    “The ick factor.”

    Really? That’s one of the main reasons beastiality and gay sex have been taboo for so long. But if we merely “educate” our children into realizing that sexual relations between sisters and brothers (perhaps in a group setting!) is completely normal, then the vile discriminatory “ick factor” will go away, in time…

    “Also, the belief that too much inbreeding causes genetic problems [see the Hapsburg chin].”

    Do we presently ban couples from marrying, even if both parties carry the same recessive gene? Nope…

    “But about a year ago or so, scientists said that, genetically speaking, it’d be okay for first cousins to reproduce.

    Que bueno for the scientists…

    “That’s kind of gross to me. I love my cousins, but you know, not THAT way.”

    Yabut, you see, you’re just a mindless bigot who has no yet opened your eyes to all the possibilities of a truly liberated humanity! Imagine a world in which parents do not merely talk about the “birds-and-the-bees” with their offspring, but they actually act it out in front of their kids! What great lessons can be learned! Tolerance and close family-ties would both receive a great boon from such a society.

    I, and all other non-bigoted people, demand that incest be decriminalized, so that future generations of horny teens will not be oppressed and discouraged from fucking their siblings.

    Fight The Power!

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Has anybody else noticed that black men are vastly more likely to partner with white women, than white men are to partner with black women?

    Is this an MTV-driven phenomenon? Or is there something inherently attractive about black dudes and white women, and something lacking with white men and black women? And if so, why don’t lonely white men go for black chicks, and vice-versa?

  • boomcrashbaby

    White women have less issues to deal with than white men.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    You know… I’ve made a vow to myself NOT to respond to Barger or R.J. Elliot…

    Unfortunately, this is going to be one of the few times I break that:

    Has anybody else noticed that black men are vastly more likely to partner with white women, than white men are to partner with black women?

    Is this an MTV-driven phenomenon? Or is there something inherently attractive about black dudes and white women, and something lacking with white men and black women? And if so, why don’t lonely white men go for black chicks, and vice-versa?

    EXCUSE ME?? Once again…

    EXCUSE ME??

    My father is white. My mother is black.

    Of all the “mulatto/mixed” chicks who I went to grade school and high school with, only Three have I known to be vice versa. (And I went to school with quite a few)

    Of the “mulatto/mixed” people I know on the net, seems to be an even mixture.

    RJ, I have no idea what you have “observed”, and I have no idea where you live, but I would suggest getting out into the big city, stop watching MTV, and STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.

    As far as Yeagely goes:

    Damn right! He deserves to have his testicles kicked right back up into his body cavity as does any racist or anyone who associates with racists (except those who associate with racists need a good kick in the head as well… because they are just as guilty by condoning such people. It is no different than if you knew your friend was beating his wife. If you still remain friends, or support someone who is beating their spouse, you are just as much of a maggot as they are.)

    I abhor Nazis and racism in any form. I abhor the people who participate in it and collaborate it.

    Fuck them. They should die (as much as the Palestinians that you so despise Barger).

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Yeah, see Ms Tek, this is just the kind of hateful rant I’m talking about. Yeagley is not beating anyone, or murdering anyone- like the Palestinians. He’s really not even so much as using racial epitaphs.

    I consider your malicious voodoo wishes for harm and death a far worse trespass than Yeagley’s sexual distaste for dark women. I definitely consider your hateful sentiments a much worse transgression than whatever sin I may be committing by not being righteously indignant against the Injun.

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    **rolls eyes**

    Whatever Barger… You might want to check your halo, seems to be a little crooked.

    people, just so you know… it is WRONG to hate racists. ;)

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Noting that it is early on Easter morning. We expect Jesus to be getting up in a few hours, so I’ll just say that I don’t consider hate a virtue.

    I am probably guilty of it on occasion myself, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I certainly would not present it as something to be PROUD of, however.

    Also, I mostly commit sins of hate against, like, mass murdering dictators and such- people who are actively causing destruction and suffering.

    I would never, on the other hand, wish that someone have their genitals stuck in a meat grinder- not even Saddam Hussein. That’s purely sadistic. He needs to be put down in the name of public hygiene like a rabid dog, but I certainly get no joy in contemplating some extended physical suffering.

    Nor would I be wishing death on ANYONE who is non-violent, such as Mr Yeagley.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    Ah, well I am not a hippie and I accept all feelings as being what they are, neither good nor bad. Its only how you act on such feelings that is the “sin”. There is nothing wrong with hating someone so long as you don’t hurt them. If you wish them to be hurt, that isn’t a nice thing however, when it comes to racists, rapists, murders, and their ilk, I don’t give a shit. 1001 tortures for them. That being said, Yeagley should have his genitals in a meat grinder, among a few other people I have in mind.

    BTW. words can cause as much destruction as deeds.

    I thought not too long ago you said that the Palestinian children deserved suffering because their parents brought it on themselves.

    Either way, you are speaking out of both sides of you mouth.

    I accept hate as much as I accept love. Both are very good at balancing things out in the end. People need to get over thie bullshit the hipple crap.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    No, I’ve never said that Palestinian children deserve suffering, and I find it difficult to believe that you could have ever honestly thought I said such a thing.

    I also find it difficult to believe you honestly think that Yeagley should be classified in a group with rapists and murderers.

    You act as if you are positively PROUD of indulging blind, indiscriminating hatred and ill-will.

    And calling ME of all people out as indulging “hippie” crap, well I’m not sure how to respond to THAT.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Ah, well I am not a hippie and I accept all feelings as being what they are, neither good nor bad. Its only how you act on such feelings that is the “sin”. There is nothing wrong with hating someone so long as you don’t hurt them.

    Careful, Tek. This is exactly Al’s argument about Yeagley.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I should add that I’m not at all in favor of any kind of “thought police,” but I do believe that thoughts/beliefs aren’t just benign ephemera: most people act on them in some way.

    Most of the time, it’s in a legal way [like voting, evangelizing, etc.]. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a signficant impact. So the idea is to keep saying what *you* believe is true so that the voice of the ignorant minority doesn’t get too loud.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    Not really bhw.

    I was thinking about that before I went to bed and I think I should blog it. I just woke up an I need to cycle 15 miles before I can be coherent enough to do a thought out blog on my position on “hate”.

    I don’t think that is going to be a post that is appropriate for blogcritics so it will just go up on my site. You are welcomed to read my full response there.

    I will try to say it very simplistically and quickly now.

    All feelings and emotions are natural. They are there for a reason. They are what helps one survive. Feelings are not “wrong”, they just are there. Feelings can come from illogical or logical reasons. I hate anything with over eight legs. I’m actually fearful of centipedes. I know they can’t hurt me, are not interested in me, more than likely do not perceive my existence. Still, if given the opportunity, I will squish, squish, squish, or run. This is an illogical reaction- this creature cannot harm me or the world I live in. On the other hand there are vile people like racists who by their words and and goal, want harm to come to me,my own, my lifestyle, etc. I hate them and wish them ill because they are anathema to balance. Now, ACTING upon that hate is wrong. Murder is illegal in most cases, so is torture and property damage. On top of it those things aren’t worth the trouble. This doesn’t mean its bad to hope that harm comes to them- they are anathema. They disturb harmony and balance. To wish them out of the equation is logical and natural as that they are a force who desire negative affect on groups that have nothing to do with them. It is logical to want to defend that which is dear to you.

    They too have every right to think they way they do, speak the way they do- it doesn’t make it correct or logical. Preaching is just as damaging as doing.

    Barger,

    You enjoy putting emotions and words, and feelings into my mouth… I think I am animated enough without your help, thank you very much. But in order to clarify I will tell you exactly what I think and feel in plain English-

    I am not proud of hate or ill will. I do not care. I am proud of my actions and my deeds such as fixing things or helping people out. How one feels and what one thinks is no cause for celebration or even concern actually. It is the ACTION that speaks.

    As far as blind- I think not. Seems to be I have sorted what quite a few people are about very quickly. I have gift of character judgment. It doesn’t take me long to figure what people are about and what they want and what motivates them. Thinks I don’t know, I take the time to read up on and study both sides. I don’t make a call until I feel I have observed enough and read enough- from both sides. It’s called “being fair”.

    Indiscriminating hatred – I’ll remind you of this post. You might want to go over the comments again because I directly challenged you about Palestinian children and you were pretty clear that you thought they deserved suffering.

    You want to play the moral high ground because I hate a racist and wish him ill will. Kind of funny coming from a guy who thinks the innocent children of a race of people deserve pain and suffering because of what some militants do. Talk about indiscriminating hatred. At least I have the since not to hate a race of people or a religion and give individuals a chance. I don’t make mass judgments based on ones color/nationality/ or religion.

    Pot. Kettle. Black… and all that jazz (actually not really… because one again, I’m not wishing bad things on children or innocents)

    So spare the the song and dance.

    Finally, the Nazis were racists. They didn’t like Jews and thought that they “DESERVE their oppression and misery.” because a few of them pissed off some Germans. The Nazis also were mass murderers and did not care that the Jews were suffering and dying in their ghettos. They were Jewish. They brought it on themselves.

    Sound familiar?

    Yeah, racists belong in the same category as murders and rapists. No question about that.

  • Roger

    The term “homophob” sholud never have even become a ligitimate term. Obviously phobia is fear of something. If I don’t beleive in the practice of homosexuality am I afraid of a gay? Hell no.

    Don’t forget that even though Bill Clinton’s “don’t as don’t tell” policy has allowed more homo’s to join the military, if it was up to the US military then the old policy would still stand strong. Are they homophob? No, maybe they no something a lot of us don’t.

  • boomcrashbaby

    if it was up to the US military then the old policy would still stand strong. Are they homophobic? No, maybe they know something a lot of us don’t.

    Their reasoning is that it would harm unit cohesion, because they acknowledge that a lot of soldiers are afraid of being cruised on the battlefield or in the barracks. It has to do with allowing ignorance and fear to continue because it’s easier than attempting to eradicate it.

  • Roger

    Fear? I’ve been in the Military have you? In the past when entering in to basic training you got a better understanding of the policy. Now I suppose it’s a little different. Ignorant? I think not…

    The past being 1988.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Fear? I’ve been in the Military have you?

    No, Roger, you forget. I am not allowed to be in the military, unless I use deception and pretend to be something I’m not.

    Ignorant? I think not…

    I think so. Imagine that you and a gay soldier are in a fox hole with missiles and gunfire whizzing about overhead. Thinking that the gay soldier is drooling over your body rather than being concerned with his current situation is pretty ignorant if you ask me.

  • Roger

    You’re plain stupid. You are really shallow if you think I’m going to be worried about a gay dude drooling over me with missles and gun-fire whizzing by. If that is your perception then say no more. Damn I’ve heard it all, lol!

    Further I don’t personally have anything against gays or anything against having them in the military. I’m just pointing out obvious issues that exist.

    That was really funny. (“Man I’m getting away from you and going into gunfire”. “You’re checking out my ass”).

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Ms Tek, you keep saying again and again that I have wished suffering on children claiming that they deserve it. The fact that you repeat that lie again and again does not make it true.

    Here is the direct relevant quote from the post you invoked in your last comment to justify this lie: “It’s unfortunate that the children suffer, but it is their own people who are bringing that on them, not the Israelis.” That’s totally and obviously different than what you’re claiming.

    Certainly the majority of adult Palestinians are complicit in their own bad plight. THEY bring this on their own children. The Israelis try to avoid hurting innocents, but they have to deal with people who are coming to murder THEIR children.

    The responsibility for the suffering of Palestinian children, then, rests directly with their own parents and community, not the Israelis. That is based on the actions of the ADULTS not the children.

    Unfortunately, being raised up in the swirling wickedness of modern Palestinian culture, the children get ruined pretty quickly. Some of them are not even teenagers yet before they’re getting drawn into the intifada nonsense.

    By the time they’re throwing rocks at Israelis and learning to chant ‘Death to Jews’ or such, they’re beginning to assume the moral liability themselves.

    Beyond the willful untruth that you insist on repeating about me, there is what I’m calling “blind, indiscriminating hatred” from you. You are equating Yeagley, who has never done violence to anyone as best I know, nor advocated such, to Nazis gassing Jews. Classifying Yeagley in with genocidal Germans shows a willful moral blindness, and lack of any proper discrimination.

    You display again the willful lack of discrimination by comparing the Israelis’ position to the Nazis, because they both said the other guy deserved it. That involves what I can only see as willful and wicked dishonesty for someone to claim not to see the glaringly obvious difference.

    See, the Jews in Germany were peaceable citizens going about their business, running shops, going to jobs, raising children. They were not in fact waging war against other Germans.

    Palestinians, on the other hand, are murdering Israelis every chance they get. They do this with, by all indications, wide majority support amongst the whole Palestinian population. When the Israelis DO respond, it is to specific acts of provocation, ie MASS MURDER, by the Palestinians.

    That’s just a LITTLE BIT different than the Nazis and German Jews, isn’t it?

    I would gently suggest that someone who can’t make the obvious moral distinction between Nazis and Israelis shouldn’t be putting too much stock in their self-proclaimed skills at character judging.

  • boomcrashbaby

    You are really shallow if you think I’m going to be worried about a gay dude drooling over me with missles and gun-fire whizzing by. If that is your perception then say no more. Damn I’ve heard it all, lol!

    That’s not what I think, that’s what the Pentagon thinks. source 1

    source 2

    source 3

    Apparently, soldiers like you are proving the military wrong though, (see source 3) so you should write your former commanders a letter and tell them how shallow and stupid they are.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    Actually Barger, there is no difference. The Palestinians which you dislike so much didn’t just suddenly decide to get nasty. They have a reason. I may not agree with their methods but they ARE fighting back. There is a reason.

    And the Nazis and some of the things that the State Of Isreal have done are too similar for comfort.

    But this is one dance I will not entertain with you. If you feel you must call me “blinded”, so be it, I consider the source. Then you and I are both “blinded” and attempting to tango. I know what I see. You see what you see. Only when the endtimes come will we know who was right and who was wrong.

    I’m not worried. I’ve all the patience in the world.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Tekky said:

    “My father is white. My mother is black.

    Of all the “mulatto/mixed” chicks who I went to grade school and high school with, only Three have I known to be vice versa. (And I went to school with quite a few)

    Of the “mulatto/mixed” people I know on the net, seems to be an even mixture.

    RJ, I have no idea what you have “observed”, and I have no idea where you live, but I would suggest getting out into the big city, stop watching MTV, and STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.”

    The hard data back up my statement. It is quite more likely for black men to marry (or have children with) white women than white men and black women to “couple.” I could look up the cite, though I make no guarantees as to finding it again.

    But I promise, this was no mere assumption I garnered from watching MTV. I never watch MTV. ;-]

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “the Nazis and some of the things that the State Of Isreal have done are too similar for comfort.”

    First off, common mistake, it’s “Israel,” not “Isreal.”

    Secondly, comparing a nation of holocaust survivors and their decendents to the Nazis is both ill-informed and disgusting.

    BTW, it’s the Arabs who are the ones eating up the Nazi propaganda. Mein Kampf sells quite well in the Middle East…