Can We Please Launch These People Into The Sun?
HELL YEAH, Meme Yoda! Way to sum up what we're all thinking: All those whiny snowflakes on the internet and in REAL LIFE (which is HARD) need to stop getting offended about EVERY LITTLE THING and be more like me, the guy who constantly goes around proudly declaring that he's not offended by stuff.
You'll encounter these people all the time: The brave, Impact-font-crested warriors who are proudly, unapologetically, "NOT OFFENDED" by anything. I was going to put a bunch of screenshots and links here for examples, but what's the fucking point? We've all seen them. You can't type "not offended" into Twitter's search function without powerbombing your phone into dust.
It's the single most annoying mindset in existence.
It's annoying because it's completely backwards. Raising one's voice, or protesting, or making noise in some coordinated, intentional way requires infinitely more effort than "not being offended." That act literally requires nothing, other than the optional effort to slap the word "butthurt" onto some low-res google image of a Minion with Elvis sideburns, and cram it in the Facebook comments of the peripherally related news story you've half-read.
This isn't to say everyone who's offended by everything is automatically 100 percent right, and we should never press ourselves into difficult conversations. But the way we talk about these controversies -- where speaking out or protesting is treated as though it reveals some weak, whiny inability to just DEAL WITH SHIT, whereas being uniformly unfazed by everything represents some transcendent strength (or transcendent laid-backness) worth bragging about -- is completely backwards.
Let's take a well-known example: when Notre Dame students walked out of Mike Pence's commencement address last May. Walking out on Mike Pence (or whatever more recent daily/hourly/millisecond-ly example you want to use) takes coordinated effort, and comes with the knowledge that you're gonna get dragged online by every furious 50-something who manages to stumble across your snowflake-tale on some all-caps Facebook page that somehow fucks up the apostrophe-S's in its group name like 11 times. NOT walking out, and just sitting there listening to some guy say inspirational words for a half hour, is a billion times easier. Whether or not you agree with the cause of the people walking out, they were choosing the more difficult option. That's not really disputable. But it's always going to get framed in some circles as, "These poor widduw students got trig-trigged! Why couldn't they be strong and brave like the people who boredly sat there and now aren't getting death threats on their LinkedIn accounts?"
If you couldn't tell by my little circle avatar thingie, I'm a straight white male who's lived a ridiculously easy life. Nothing automatically "offends" me. I don't possess some evolutionary impulse that causes me to collapse toward a fainting couch whenever I hear a combination of words I don't like. Being "offended" -- or more precisely, thinking about an issue, listening to other perspectives on that issue, and attempting to empathize with other people who ARE articulating some degree of dismay that may not be immediately apparent to me -- is not an innate process. It requires thought, effort, and empathy. Not being offended requires one second of deciding that's your personality, and you're off the hook from nuanced thought forever.
Just because "everyone's offended by everything nowadays!" doesn't mean that the correct response is "therefore it's all bullshit and I don't have to expend effort to learn things." The fact that we're so constantly inundated with outrage stories and type-shouted headlines in the hopes of getting us to stop scrolling for one billionth of a second is ALL THE MORE REASON why we need to resist that impulse to tune it all out.
I know it's fucking hard! There's a trillion of these stories every day, and of course there's times when I roll my eyes too, then make a jerk-off motion until I remember I'm in a doctor's waiting room, and play it off like I was cracking my wrists after those grueling SATs I took 16 years ago. Empathy, understanding, and the dreaded "being offended" take effort -- they're not innate impulses, and they're not signs of weakness. And pre-emptively declaring that anyone who's offended by anything needs to just "relax" isn't HARSH, HONEST #REALTALK, it's intellectual laziness masquerading as a NO-NONSENSE worldview.
And if you disagree with any of this, remember, you cannot voice a rational concern; it just means you've been "triggered," and anything you type after that is literally "whining." Don't MAKE me ask Yoda what HE thinks.
Dan Hopper is an editor for Cracked, previously for CollegeHumor and BestWeekEver.tv. He fires off consistent A-minus tweets at @DanHopp.
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