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Thread: I'm Offended.

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    Utisz's Avatar
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    I'm Offended.

    The notion of "offence" or "finding something offensive" is something I haven't managed to wrap my head around one way or another.

    Though I can (sometimes) empathise with folks who express "offence" at something, I find it hard to grok what "offence" really means.

    Is it an emotion? Is it an expression of values? How should it be interpreted? What does it say?

    (Likewise, the consistency police in my head make me ask myself: Have I said it in the past? What did I mean when I said it?)



    One of the more famous quotes on "offence" is by Stephen Fry:



    It's sort of catchy ... part of me disagrees and part of me agrees.

    Disagree: I think he is being too harsh and that people have the right to be what they would call "offended" and to express that in some way.

    Agree: My primary school teacher used to tell us that the word "nice" should be avoided since it is lazy and there are much more descriptive adjectives available that help communicate an idea or thought. I see offensive/offended et al. in a similar light. Like Stephen says, simply stating that "I am offended" is almost like a demand for an apology or corrective action to be taken without giving any real reason. Likewise the premise "I'm offended" could be applied to almost anything. If followed up with some justification, then the statement "I am offended" or "that is offensive" just becomes unnecessary in some sense.


    The sort-of-conclusion I have drawn is that while I'm okay with people being "offended" and expressing that, if they want action to be taken or an apology to be made, then they should provide justification and arguments based on the specific instance in question rather than a general appeal to "offensiveness", which at least then allows for some sort of debate or treatment of the issue. Simply saying that something is "offensive" shouldn't serve as a premise for anything.


    Spoiler: Other quotes that I may not subscribe to personally but that might fuel discussion












    Thoughts?


    (P.S. sorry for the click-baity title but I thought it might provoke a useful reaction in the context of the thread ...)

  2. #2
    Utisz's Avatar
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    I guess on the other hand, I do believe that assholes exist and that they can deliberately post stuff with the sole intent of it being "offensive" ... maybe intent is important or something, idk.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    If you want to be offended then act offended. Don't gimme a ridiculous memo in the form of "I'm offended by that" because I can't respect that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    People should be free to express their being offended by whatever, for they should be free to express whatever they want to express. That applies to everyone, hence no person has the right to limit what another says just because they dislike it. That's how I see it.

    To be offended and state such with the intent to quash or otherwise inhibit another's free speech is like a child stamping their foot and shouting/pouting in order to get or avoid something they want or don't. As in: it is childish, nevermind (insofar as you wish to limit another's freedom) wrong.

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    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    If you're not offending or making people generally uncomfortable, then you're probably not very interesting. I would also wager that you're dishonest.

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    Ⓐ ☭ Animals's Avatar
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    the inception of western civilization is through a hero being offended


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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    The best time I ever offended someone was my 10th grade french teacher. I played her the Frank Zappa song "Catholic Girls" and she turned beet red and said "Une 'Catholic Girl' je suis le mÍme!".

    Characteristically, I wasn't trying to offend her, I just wanted her to marvel at the odd time signatures in the bridge.

  8. #8
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by notdavidlynch View Post
    If you're not offending or making people generally uncomfortable, then you're probably not very interesting. I would also wager that you're dishonest.
    As a boring person, this is offensive to me.

    You should find boring people interesting.

    ...................

    I'd go further and wager that social progress cannot occur without at least someone getting offended. Ultimately, debates about offensiveness are really about who should be offended. People are being disingenuous when they call for an offense-free zone because that's not really what they want most of the time. They want to still be able to offend people, they just don't want others to offend them .

    Like Utisz, I can see the other side of it. I'm not totally opposed to the concept of sensitivity. I don't support it when it means giving someone a blank check for morality. "You should never criticize or disagree with individuals who are X because you are not X." People of all stripes can be assholes. What could be less racist than that?
    Last edited by msg_v2; 02-16-2015 at 07:04 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tetris Champion notdavidlynch's Avatar
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    It's also basically impossible to not offend someone, even if you're dead. Basically the only way to not offend someone seems to be to never have been born.

    Even that's probably not true. There's probably quite a few whacko philosophers who are offended by all the possible humans who haven't been and/or never will be born, and yet others who are offended by the notion of these unborn, postulating that if it were possible for them to be born then they would be born in some parallel universe. And, of course, someone almost has to be offended by the notion of parallel universes.

  10. #10
    Amen P-O's Avatar
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    Well, it does have power in the public sphere. That's why people say it. If you offend too many people, your profit margins go down or whatever. If you're dubbed an offensive or undesirable person, people won't take you seriously. Social exile etc.

    "I'm offended" is a threat to your validity as a person. That's why the words carry power. These kinds of threats have meaning in a small community where a few people's opinions might mean the difference between living normally and living miserably... but in a global community context, it's basically meaningless.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

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