Lighten Up!

Since when did the humor impaired take over?  Talk about the constitution all ya want but there’s nothing in it that guarantees an unoffended life.  I’ve read it.  There’s not a word in it about offensiveness, either pro or con.  But nowadays, when people happen to disagree with someone, instead of logical refutation or debate, the catch-all show-stopper phrase is “that’s offensive”.  To which I generally reply, “So what?” or possibly, “Zip it!” or, in the words of one of the adorable “South Park” tykes “Don’t care”.  Or, if I’m offended by them being offended, perhaps just, “Idiot!”.  While that’s decidedly uncivil, and, far worse, lacking in creativity, if someone’s going to be offended anyway–by relatively innocuous comments–why not give them something to be offended about?  (That’s a variant of my Dad’s typical observation, when, rarely, one of his kids cried, to “cut it out or I could give you something to cry about”.  Dad didn’t care for whiners.)

Now I’m not talking about truly offensive and hurtful comments such as racial epithets, vicious misogynistic remarks, homophobic rants, or anything such as that.  Clearly decent folk should try to refrain from really hurting others.  Gratuitous cruelty isn’t funny, or acceptable or ever appropriate.  But when people get too prissy and all on their high horse about harmless humor or obtuse, clueless observations, then it’s time to bring the hammer–or the bon mots–down.  Then let the sarcasm fly and mock the puffery to a fare-thee-well.  Pretentious sanctimony should always be met, in my opinion, with barbed wit, stinging humor and/or insensitive remarks that let some air out of the overly inflated egos which demand that everyone tiptoe around on eggshells rather than have them possibly suffer a single moment of  discomfiture.

How come everybody’s so touchy these days anyway?  God forbid that someone makes a sarcastic remark or says something politically incorrect.  Oh, the horror.  The horror.  And the more everyone tries to cater to these suddenly delicate sensibilities, the less willing to roll with the verbal punches everyone becomes.  It’s almost as if there are a lot of people out there who are determined to be offended no matter what.  So, since there’s no pleasing them, please yourselves and let fly with speech which is bound to to grate on those overly raw nerve endings.  It can be amusing to watch the huffing and puffing when someone who’s clearly a humorless prig gets a small dose of reality.   Suck it up weenies, el mundo es duro.

(Note:  Atheists, skip the next two paragraphs.  They’re offensive and insensitive to your non-beliefs.)  Clearly we have become far too demanding in our expectations of what’s acceptable.  This isn’t just anecdotal evidence.  Nope, we are just too critical.  There’s empirical evidence supporting this claim.  Like most people, I get my news from “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”.  Fabled journalist and fact checker extraordinaire, Stephen Colbert, reported on his show that a recent poll showed God’s approval rate at a dismal 52%.  God, for heaven’s sake!  God gets an “F”?  Yikes.  If God can’t cut the mustard then what’s the chance that far less perfect humans can?

And what, exactly, is the basis for God’s low poll numbers?  Pestilence?  Famine?  Floods?  Hurricanes?  Earthquakes?  My guess would be poor PR.  Yes, God needs to re-brand.  Get a marketing guru on his case, to cast those unfortunate design flaws in a more favorable light.  Maybe He should re-think all that “vengeance shall be mine” talk too.  Way too harsh–might hurt someone’s feelings.  And those ten commandments!  Gee, they seem so, well, intolerant, of our poor, poor, pitiful frailties.  So rigorous.  So unequivocal.  Couldn’t we be graded on a curve or something?

What’s the solution to this tedious desire to sanitize all human interaction?  Other than not communicating at all–and there are some pluses to that notion–we are just going to have to suck it up and sulk in solitude when we’re insulted at the drop of a hat.  The next time someone says “that’s offensive” if you can’t bring yourself to make a snappy comeback, just snort in disgust and stalk off.  Stop reinforcing the manipulative ploy that is “that’s offensive”.  Give it a rest, willya?  Forget the notion that the world is supposed to succumb to ever more stringent demands for bland inoffensiveness.

And double down on that when it comes to the governing of ourselves.  Do we really want to continue the trend of intense peer pressure demanding that the U.S. become a government of the inoffensive by the inoffensive, for the inoffensive?   Because that will surely be followed, and probably in fairly short order, by a government of the most aggressive, by the most aggressive and for the most aggressive.  That’s something weenie peer pressure isn’t going to be able to change easily.  And that’s offensive.


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