Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I'm Offended By That

I like Stephen Fry. I like the things that he says

I like what he thinks of the word "offended".

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?
If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.
The most offensive use of the word offended is when it is used as a conversation halter. I think this is where Stephen Fry is going with the first quote. "I'm offended by that" is a very aggressive statement. I translate it as meaning "shut up you insensitive clod!" It is meant to get you to say "sorry, I didn't mean anything by that". Yet of course you meant exactly what you said. Unless you persevere, the conversation has ended.

Problems need solutions. Some of our most severe problems seem to be the most offensive to some people. We need to listen to one another. Racial problems, religious problems and political problems will never be solved by the words "I'm offended by that".

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