Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Use Your Words.........Adjectives Specifically

Everyone is offended today by something or someone.  Some folks are easily offended.  Some folks seem to live for the moment when they can say, ‘I’m offended’.  Offend is a verb.  We use it as an adjective to describe our state being.  It’s gotten a bit out of control, in my opinion.   Things can be offensive, of course.  One can be offended by offensive things, true.  As a society we use this word ad nauseam.  Someone is offended by something every moment of the day, or so it seems.  The internet makes child’s play out of offending or being offended.  It’s so easy to offend someone a monkey in a derby hat can do it.

I have recently witnessed or read a few items that really seemed to bring this point home for me.  First, there was a post from an anti-gun person toward a pro-gun person that said the pro-gun person was an idiot to be in support of gun ownership and should go kill himself.  Oddly enough, it wasn’t the pro-gun person who was offended.  The anti-gun person was offended by the pro-gun person’s views and that was his final response.  Am I alone in thinking that that is taking ‘being offended’ a bit too far?  Next, there was a bit of commentary on my Inappropriate Homeschoolers facebook page telling me that my language was offensive, that I was ‘too’ inappropriate.  Third, I read an article posted by a friend, concerning a waiter who refused to serve a group of people who had made a request to be seated elsewhere and remarking to him, about another family in the restaurant, how special needs kids should be put in a special place rather than out in the crowds.  Don’t get me wrong, I applaud that waiter.  But what was said in the article?  “The waiter promptly told them he was offended by their comment and refused to serve them.”

Everything is topsy-turvy, to me.  People are offended, to the degree of violence at times, by other people’s opinions and words.  The spectrum of ‘offense’ is so large now.  People are offended by something that is said or posted that is meant to be humorous and, in and of itself, causes no REAL harm.  People are offended by the insensitive, ignorant, reprehensible words and actions of others.  The word has been used to the point that it has lost real meaning, if you ask me. 

Shouldn’t we should reserve our offense for the real crimes and evils of this world.  Child molestation, child pornography, abuse and neglect, those are examples of things we as a society should find offensive.  But, what does it do to be offended?  What resolution ever really comes out of being offended?  And furthermore, by saying, “I’m offended,” “You offended me”, “That is offensive,” it makes “YOU” the center of the issue and WE shouldn’t be.  We should be making the PROBLEM, if there is one, the center of the issue.

People need to get over themselves, myself included.  Too much offends, too easily, the masses these days - cursing offends, twisted humor offends, and differing viewpoints offend.  To those that are offended by things that fall into these categories I say, get over yourself and stop running around shouting ‘I’m offended’.  If cursing offends you, DO something about it – turn off the radio, TV, internet, etc and walk away from it.  Participating in anything where you know they’ll be humor, ‘bad’ language, differing viewpoints, or sarcasm and being ‘offended’ is asinine.  People are too quick to label.  Let’s say you refer to yourself as a conservative and someone, who doesn’t share your conservative view on an issue, says something that ‘offends your conservative heart’ – automatically the come back is an insult against ‘freakin’ liberals’.  I’m so sick of seeing that!  BOTH sides do it.  And by ‘sides’ I mean whatever the topic is where two people disagree – homeschooling, parenting, politics, religion – it matters not.  And the fact is, it is true on both sides because PEOPLE are on both sides.  People can be assholes, regardless of the concepts they embrace!

So what’s the solution?  We need to learn to let a lot more ‘junk’ roll off our backs.  Someone on the internet telling you they think that guns should be banned when you are a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights does not affect your position on the issue, right?  Right.  So why would firing back all sorts of outraged drivel at what they said change their position?  It wouldn’t.  It doesn’t.  It is a waste of time and energy.  If you are a staunch supporter of this or that – take whatever appropriate actions you can to support the cause – vote, sign petitions, demonstrate even – but let the words of others that don’t actually affect you go.  Now, what if someone says something, in person – as in the case of the waiter and the family?  I propose we direct our ‘offendedness’ at the issue, not the person and instead of making it about how *I* am offend we use our words, our adjectives specifically, to describe the problem.  For example, someone makes a remark that special needs children should be ‘put in a special place’.  Look that person in the eye and say, “I want to understand you.  Are you saying that special needs children shouldn’t be allowed to dine with the general public in a restaurant?”  Wait for a response.  If the response is, “Yes, that’s what I’m saying” then one could say, “Your remarks are rude, insensitive, and very inappropriate.  I will not serve you as a result of your crass bigotry.”

There are wrongs in the world.  Bigotry, abuse, injustices exist and for those individuals that perpetuate those wrongs, we as a society, need to take a stand.  Saying, “I’m offended” doesn’t take a stand.  It doesn’t address the real problem.  There are a  plethora of adjectives we can use to describe an action, thought, idea, or attitude that do not include the word ‘offended’.  Words like rude, insensitive, inappropriate are adjectives we can use to describe someone’s actions or words.

There’s a lot more too…

abhorrent, abusive, annoying, awful, biting, closed-minded, crass, cutting, detestable, disagreeable, discourteous, distasteful, disturbing, dreadful, embarrassing, evil, foul, ghastly, grisly, gross, hideous, horrible, horrid, ignorant, impertinent, insolent, invidious, irritating, nauseating, objectionable, obnoxious, odious, off-color,  opprobrious, outrageous, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, rotten, rude, shocking, stinking, terrible, uncivil, unmannerly

…to name but a few!

So, for the times we can’t ‘let it go’, or shouldn’t let it go, let us use our words and take ourselves out of the equation by pointing out the real problem rather than focusing on how we are offended.  

~Mari B.


  1. To me, this huge issue of being "offended" comes down to choice. We, as individuals, have the ability to choose our responses to what is presented...this is called self-control. Just as a toddler is taught to use the toilet, a child is taught to share toys, etc, to be a member of polite society, there are standards that must be taught. It is a reflection on society as a whole, that there is this abundance of people being "offended" all of the time, just as it is that other standards of behavior have been allowed to slide downward.

  2. Excellent points!

    I'm pretty easy going for the most part. I have family and friends who worry I'm a doormat because of it. But I don't let everything offend me. If someone doesn't like my religion? Not my problem. They don't like I have long hair or my kid does? Again, that's not a reflection on me but on them.

    I DO get rather riled up when their offense becomes a personal attack on me, my family, or my child. I have had people who are offended that my child has long hair get right in my face. THEN I get pissed off.

    But post something I don't like on Facebook? Scroll by or hide it. Don't like a page? Just unlike it if it's the whole page. Not everything needs to be drama but a lot seem to just love the drama.


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