I've written about the value of debating or arguing because, as discussed above, confronting differing opinions usually solidifies your thinking or shows you why you're wrong. Many people avoid that conflict because they're too arrogant to believe someone else could be right. Others avoid it knowing deep down that they don't have the ability to defend their beliefs and don't care to understand them. The thing is, both times I've written about this, I've explained that, of course, arguing with some people isn't worth it. There are loud-mouthed imbeciles who only cast insults and don't debate ideas. But countless people took offense anyway and explained why they don't want confrontations with people who are just loud-mouthed insulting blowhards.
"Well, I'm sure I could interpret that as not applying to me, but then how could I be offended?"
Another time, I wrote a column about terrible college experiences that prepare you for life, like seeing people do bad things without consequences. At one point, I talked about all the women I'd met who'd been date raped. Here's a portion of what I wrote:
"I wish it were only one or two girls at school who had stories about getting date raped, but it seemed like it was at least 25 percent of all women I knew. And in almost none of those cases was there a criminal investigation. That's a lot of rapists walking around in the world, remembering that time they crawled inside that nearly comatose girl with a fond smile."
Yep, that pissed off some dudes. Dudes who wanted to defend the date rapists they knew nothing about. They said the chicks wanted it or the dudes were drunk, too. All I did was describe a date rapist, but they saw someone else, invented other factors, until they had enough information to be offended.
Of course, I've offended some women, too. One of my favorite columns talked about how Sex and the City feminism had led some women to confuse being slutty with being empowered. My point was simply that when it comes to sex, feminism means that women should have the same right as men to be whores. Nevertheless, whores (whether they are male or female) are not particularly admired. Many seemed to understand that there was nothing even vaguely inflammatory about that logic, but several people accused me of "mansplaining" and "slut-shaming." Those people read my words and heard something else: their preacher, father, abusive boyfriend, I don't know. But it wasn't me. My words were merely triggers to memories that shouted, "If you have lots of sex, you're a bad, whorish woman," but those words weren't there.
Pictured above: Not me.