Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I take offense!

I take offense at everyone taking offense at everything.  Let's not look the other way, 'offense' is put on a pedestal in society.  A pedestal which it does not deserve.  This phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed either.  There are a few groups who use the word 'offense' to get the societal knee-jerk reaction of prohibition.

Of particular note in this practice is the feminist movement, which at this point has the grand role of being whiny. A lot of people have heard of Rebecca Watson and her elevator encounter, fondly termed 'elevatorgate'.  In elevatorgate, Watson had been having drinks with some people at a hotel bar.  As she was leaving for the night, one of the men she had been drinking with stepped into the elevator with her and told her that he found her interesting and would like to talk more over coffee in his hotel room.  As those of you who are familiar with the incident know, Watson proceeded to berate the man on her YouTube channel, SkepChick.  That case became more famous than it had any reason to.  Why all the fuss?  Watson felt like the man was making a move on her and was offended by it.  Anita Sarkeesian, another YouTuber who operates under the moniker FeministFrequency, has taken offense to the role of women in some video games.  Again, the offense gets a lot more recognition than it deserves.

Also of note in the practice of manipulating the way in which offense is perceived is the religious community.  The religious are offended by homosexual marriage, so instead of not marrying the same gender, they attempt to both lobby and legislate against it.  This serves no functional purpose but to interfere in other people's individual lives with no benefit to society.  The religious are opposed to stem cell research, clinging to the notion that the evil scientists farm babies to harvest stem cells from.  That actual argument is better saved for another post.  Most stem cells are found in discarded umbilical cords and more recently, urine.  Stem cell research has the potential to increase cancer survival rates by increasing the amount of treatment that can be administered.  Stem cell research has been banned essentially since it's advent due mostly to the pressure of influential religious groups.  In this instance, offense impedes a benefit to society.

Only recently, this incident occurred.  Adria Richards effectively destroyed a man's reputation and career on the basis of what may or may not be at least in part a misunderstanding.  In the least generous light to the men making these jokes, the jokes were between two people, not meant to be heard by anyone else.  Unnecessary offense has serious repercussions.

In short, offense should not be such a feared thing.  Sure, it's also in poor taste to go out and be unnecessarily offensive.  I know that if this post is read by the wrong people, it will offend them.  I'm perfectly fine with offending people who don't agree as long as I'm offending their opinions, not their persons.  As long as I'm offending their ideas.  I'll never back down from being honest about a civil opinion just out of fear that someone who disagrees might get their panties in a knot about people disagreeing with them.  It offends me how people are so easily offended and more yet, how everyone else tries to skirt around offense in general.