This article will offend, offends me. But then who am I to say what should or shouldn’t be offensive? What offends one may not offend another. But let there be no mistake about it. In today’s society, getting offended can be as simple as turning on the television.
What is it about society in general that people become so offended? And it’s not just the fact that they become offended, but with the speed that it happens. Almost as if there is never any thought put to it, just a simple, quick reaction of being offended. I would venture to use the word “triggers” or some variations of it, but apparently “triggered” is offensive. So…
That Time Britney Spears Claimed To Be Faster Than Usain Bolt – March 26, 2020
I’m not sure if people are offended by Britney Spears feeling she could lie to them about her athletic prowess to score brownie points, or amused that anyone would make up a lie so dumb. Whichever it is, the internet is simultaneously doing both as Britney Spears took to Instagram to claim she’s faster than the fastest runner in the world, Usain Bolt.
It started when she made this post on Instagram…
She soon deleted the post but the Twitter user above captured it before she did. In the post she claimed to run the 100 meter dash in just 5.97 seconds. Had she actually run that time, she would currently be the world record holder. The actual world record holder for the 100 meter dash is Usain Bolt with a record of 9.58 seconds.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I believe it. Britney Spears is secretly Sonic the Hedgehog. At last we know the truth.
Outraged By Jeremy Renner Blaming Coronavirus For Reducing Child Support – March 25, 2020
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, millionaire actor Jeremy Renner went to court and filed documents asking a Judge to reduce the amount he has to pay in child support to his ex, Sonny Pacheco. As a reason, he cites the Coronavirus pandemic and says it has left him short on funds just like it has for millions of Americans.
According to TMZ the documents filed say he knew he would be short on funds since he isn’t working on the Avengers anymore, but he did have work lined up. Unfortunately, “it is likely that most productions will not resume again prior to the end of the year. As such, the projects that I had previously lined up to film this year are likely cancelled or postponed.”
Among the projects Renner had lined up is a Hawkeye series he was working on for Disney Plus.
It’s worth noting that Renner is paying $30,000 a month in child support currently. So it’s not like it could be reduced $10k or so and still provide his child with a pretty lavish lifestyle, especially in a time when most Americans literally don’t have jobs at all. Renner is asking the judge to let him pay $11,000.
Now the outrage machine is against Renner for using the Coronavirus as an excuse to give his kid’s mom less money.
People stuck at home with no way to pay their bills and with quarantine rules preventing them from doing anything about it aren’t feeling sympathetic to millionaires squabbling over the leftovers of Avengers paychecks past.
Offended By Kirstie Alley Thanking President Trump – March 24, 2020
Actress Kirstie Alley is probably best known for playing Savvik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or for being on Cheers. But she’s also a well known scientologist and apparently, a strident conservative.
The thirty or forty percent of America that hates Donald Trump went crazy with hate this morning when Kirstie Alley posted a tweet thanking the President. Here’s the tweet…
She soon began trending on Twitter as people attacked her with a rabid ferocity for daring to say nice things about a leader during a crisis. Here’s just some of the offended anger being sent her way…
Offended By Gal Gadot Singing Imagine – March 19, 2020
Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and most other celebrities are holed up in their mansions under self-quarantine. And because they’re celebrities and they are rich, they don’t have to try to find a way to work by telecommuting from home while their kids (who are no longer in school) run around flinging cheerios at them. They also don’t have to worry about how they’ll pay their rent when they’ve lost their job because the government has closed down all restaurants.
So they’re bored and they have all the free time in the world sit around and do things like this…
The internet, which is largely comprised of people who don’t have time to be bored in quarantine because they’re too busy trying to figure out a way to homeschool their kids because they are never going to be allowed to go to school ever again, was instantly #offended.
Soon it went beyond just people on Twitter to Joe Rogan, who hosts not only the biggest talkshow in the world but by most estimates is watched and listened to by more people than just about any other show in the world period. And Joe ripped her a new one. Here’s Joe Rogan and comedian Tom Segura…
Rogan hilariously points out, “This is not the time when everyone’s grammy’s dying you f**king idiot, to sing imagine there’s no heaven.”
Here’s a sampling of just some of the #Offended Twitter reactions…
Offended Over Vanessa Hudgens’ Coronavirus Thoughts – March 17, 2020
The internet went wild with anger and outrage when actress and sometimes singer Vanessa Hudgens made some fairly obvious, though emotionally tone-deaf, comments on Instagram. She was doing what everyone in the world is doing: talking about the Coronavirus. But she’s a celebrity.
So when Hudgens thought out loud and said of the Coronavirus lockdowns: “Until July sounds like a bunch of (expletive), I’m sorry, but like it’s a virus, I get it, I respect it… Even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die which is terrible, but inevitable? I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.” …the world tilted on its axis and everyone laid and egg over this, rather than worrying about the actual Coronavirus. I guess we all needed a break.”
Here are some of the most ridiculous and outraged responses that resulted…
As you can see, most of the responses ranged from barely incoherent, to even more offensive than what Vanessa said, to I’m going to co-opt this whole thing to push my own agenda about how rich people are evil. So Vanessa walked her comments back and performed the societally mandated apology…
Absolutely no one seemed to accept her apology and six hours later she was still trending on Twitter to classy comments like this one…
Offended Over Wolverine Being Gay – March 12, 2020
In X-Men #7, released in February of 2020, there’s a panel which has made some comic book fans suspect that Marvel is trying to make Wolverine gay.
Here’s the panel in question…
Whether that indicates that Marvel is trying to make Wolverine gay or not (and it seems a pretty thin indicator), people on all sides are freaking out and getting #offended. Here’s some of the reaction…
TRIGGERED… BUT WHY?
So, what is it that “stimulates” the offensive gene in people so quickly? How are they so easily “provoked” and “initiated”? Members of the “get off my lawn” (GOML) generation struggle to find an answer when it seems obvious to Millenials. It’s a moving target that seems to be gaining momentum.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE OFFENDED
Offense, as defined by researchers, is a feeling that is “triggered by a blow to a person’s honor”. There’s that word again. A person can make a comment about your haircut. Offense taken. Perhaps an in-law makes a “suggestion” about your parenting style. Offense taken. The leader of the Free World makes an off-color comment. Offense taken. Characters on a TV show are portrayed as caricatures. Offense taken.
Psychologists define three phases you go through when feeling offended:
- The offended person will identify the cause of said offense and work to develop some type of interpretation.
- The offended person, based on oneself, will attempt to determine the intensity of the offensive feeling that is based on their belief of self and whether the offending person has the same beliefs.
- The offended person has some type of reaction based on a number of factors. The person has chosen to be offended as soon as they begin to go through these phases.
Let’s go back to the second one, since the first is easily explained and gets you started down that road. Insecurity is a common reason for the intensity of feeling offended. This is based on ideas and feelings about self, or self-concept. If a person is not strong in the self-concept arena, then getting offended is more likely to happen.
The “who” (as in who says what) is another strong reason to allow oneself to be offended. You may find yourself more highly offended if a boss were to make the same comment someone you hardly know would make. Some people carry more weight than others, “triggering” your offense.
The experiences we have in our lives shape our psychosocial development. Basically, this is where an individual will learn from not only their own experiences but also from watching the experiences of others. Our own personal experiences will condition us to think and respond in ways we may never realize.
For instance, a negative experience with a person may always lead us to believe that every experience with that person will be negative. And because of this, these feelings may transfer themselves to others who act, look and behave in the same way.
Society and culture both have their pressures. Both have expectations. There are ways of behaving and responding that society expects, people are judged and evaluated.
Social media and media, in general, have a way of shaping these expectations. They tell you both appropriate and inappropriate ways to respond to events, cultural, religious, and political.
A HISTORY OF GETTING OFFENDED
So, is it generational? Not so fast. Perhaps being offended is something that we were all along but are just recently finding our voice to make it known. Back in the GOML generation, they didn’t have the “luxury” of social media. They had the occasional piece of offensive material on TV or at the local movie theater but that was by choice.
The television show Soap premiered in 1977 on ABC and was immediately considered controversial and offensive for its portrayal of a gay character (Billy Crystal as Jodie). Look how far we’ve come. We had that occasional offensive guy at school or at work, but they were accepted and a known quantity.
HOW GETTING OFFENDED RUINS LIVES
Today, everyone has a soapbox they can stand on. We know that soapbox to be social media. Anyone with a cell phone or internet access can drop their “words of wisdom” as to how they find certain things offensive. And it’s not just the GOML guy either. Take, for instance, the story of Justine Sacco. It’s a cruel lesson where the author of a tweet finds themselves funny, when many, many more see her words as immediately offensive.
Sacco was a 30-year old senior director of corporate communications at a company called IAC. It was 2013 and she was on her way to visit family in South Africa from New York. She started off by tweeting “jokes” about travel and those around her.
“‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’ — Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals,” was one.
When she made it to London Heathrow, she popped off another. “Chilly — cucumber sandwiches — bad teeth. Back in London!”
And then came the coup de grâce on her final leg into Cape Town, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
I’m sure you can see where we are going with this. By the time her 11-hour flight landed, her phone was blowing up. Her Twitter feed was in overdrive. She received a message from her best friend to call her immediately.
The outrage by her “offensive” tweet was huge. Her employer, IAC even joined in, “This is an outrageous, offensive comment. Employee in question currently unreachable on an intl flight.”
Then it got worse as social media is known to do. “Oh man, @JustineSacco is going to have the most painful phone-turning-on moment ever when her plane lands” and “We are about to watch this @JustineSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.”
In fact, one Twitter user actually went to the airport in Cape Town to take pictures of her as she got off the plane. That person did. This one Tweet by a person who thought she was making a joke cost her dearly. She lost her job, she lost her identity, she lost herself. She is not the only victim (if victim is the correct word for it), there have been plenty more in this age of social media. Justine Sacco is a cautionary tale.
THE RIGHT TO BE OFFENDED
To have your own opinion is definitely within your rights as defined by the United States constitution. To react to that opinion is also within the right of a person but it’s the nature of your reaction that holds the key.
Modern psychology suggests that if a person does not have good self-esteem, they could easily be offended by everything. That feeling of inferiority makes it seem as though everyone is pointing out how inferior you are. Whether or not you’re offended by something, in large part, depends on how you feel about yourself.
How rigid are you in your thoughts? Can you be swayed to see the other side? If not, your chances of being offended by someone who doesn’t see things the way you do are high. Criticism of your beliefs just adds fuel to your fire.
Ego can make a person paranoid, thinking everyone is pointing fingers or talking about you. It tends to set people back on their heels and find offense in everything.
HOW NOT TO BE OFFENDED
What happens if you find yourself always on the side of being offended? You turn on the TV and you can’t watch, it offends. You are talking with a co-worker and just the sight of them offends. You turn on the radio and now it’s THAT song, how offensive!
Modern psychology suggest the best course it to simply take a step back. Try to look deeper. Is it truly offensive or are you just annoyed by something you don’t care for? Being annoyed and being offended are certainly two different feelings. So, try to figure that out. Don’t be so quick to judge. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, we don’t have to give in to our base instinct.
Hypersensitivity could occur because you can’t emotionally separate your thoughts and your sense of self-worth. Once you learn that skill, being offended may come to you less and less.
I OFFENDED YOU. NOW WHAT?
Now you are on the wrong (or right?) side of offending. You are the giver instead of the taker. You just dropped a big O-bomb on someone and are either in their crosshairs or you’ve been put in the cone of silence. Your response to their being offended will say a lot.
There are a few options you can take if you find yourself on that side of things. You can go all-in with your comment, telling the person they CAN’T be offended by what you just said. You can rebut the statement letting the person know others don’t find the comment offensive. You can simply walk away from the person and let them stew in their offended nature. You can also choose to give in and feel like crap about what you just said, feeding into the offended person. OR…
Much like those being offended, you can take a step back and truly think about the words that came out of your mouth. How and why was it offensive? Was there a misunderstanding or did you truly speak it the way it was intended? If the person says they are offended, explain why you said what you said. Maybe you need to put it in the context they will better understand.
LIVING IN A TRIGGERED WORLD
Today’s society is on edge. Social media plays well into it. Race, religion, entertainment, it’s all part of what makes us tick. More compassion and empathy could be the answer but who is willing to go down that road? The Get Off My Lawn generation doesn’t understand the offensiveness of life as we see it today. Today’s generation can’t fathom how things don’t offend GOML’ers. It’s a conundrum not easily solved.