Rodney M Bliss

Best of 2020 #2: I Hope You Find This Post Offensive

There were a lot of offensive things said in 2020. But, not everything that was found offensive was actually offensive. Some people viewed lack of offensiveness the same as politeness. It wasn’t the case.


I Hope You Find This Post Offensive

March 11, 2020

Seriously, if I don’t say something in this post that offends you, I have failed.

Now, let’s be fair, as someone who writes on social media daily, I understand that nothing will make a post go viral quicker than a little bit of controversy.

But, that’s not my intent. It’s not about offending for offense sake. I think we as a society have forgotten how to be offended.

15: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Revelation Chapter 3 (KJV)

We find ourselves, as we do every four years, in the middle of a presidential campaign. There are three main people left in the race, President Trump, a polarizing Republican, Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden, considered by most people to be a moderate.

Four years ago, Donald Trump was the most polarizing candidate in the Republican field. His critics (including this writer) were sure that he would not last a month. . and then that he would not make it to the convention. . .and then he could not possibly win the presidency. After all, Senator Hillary Clinton, his opponent was much more moderate.

Why did Donald Trump win? This post is not nearly long enough to delve into that topic. Besides, I was consistently wrong all through the campaign last time. But, one thing that can be said with certainty is that Trump was much more objectionable than Senator Clinton. And yet he won.

I got put in Facebook jail today. Apparently one of my comments failed to meet the community standards for Facebook of bullying and harressment. I was naturally surprised since, as a writer, I pride myself on keeping my comments polite and well within the bounds of polite conversation.

It was a thread on a news site. The discussion was about guns. Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced they are going to stop selling guns in more of their stores. In the discussion the assertion was made that guns are only designed to kill people. After a few exchanges a woman named Christine Hall said,

We’ll agree to disagree

I responded,

Christine Hall, you can opt for that, but honestly since you have zero experience, your opinion really doesn’t carry much weight. Your ignorance is not equal to Al’s experience. When you “agree to disagree” with someone who has experience, you are really saying, “I don’t want to become educated on this issue.”

That was it. I asked Facebook to review it again. Two minutes later they sent me an email saying they did. And it was still in violation of the harressment and bullying policy.

I’ve seen much harsher comments on Facebook. So have you. I can only assume that Ms Hall reported my comment. I cannot imagine a scanning robot flagged it.

When facts conflict with someone’s world view it is easier for them to reject the facts than to change their world view.

And if you continue to argue facts, people often become offended. (And on Facebook that can get you thrown in Facebook jail.)

The legendary comedian John Cleese talked about the idea offense is necessary to comedy. And since comedy is often a slightly absurd look at society, society itself needs the ability to offend and be offended.

But, modern society has done everything possible to remove offense. We have trigger warnings to warn use that we might find something offensive. We have safe spaces were presumably we are “protected” from being offended at all. However, rather than improving society, these trigger warnings, and safe spaces, and facebook jail sentences, have turned us into a nation of wimps.

My son is an athlete. He will be a on the varsity football team at his high school this year. He noted that the best athletes get special treatment. “They don’t want to risk you getting hurt.”

He will quickly learn that special treatment doesn’t mean getting excused from exercise. In fact, the better the athlete, the more the coach will want them to hit the weight room, and the track.

Good athletes become great athletes when they are tested. When they subject themselves to hard workouts, grueling two or three-a-day practices. The best athletes understand that it’s the hard that makes them better.

It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.

– Manager Jimmy Dugan “A League Of Their Own”

If it’s true for athletes, it’s also true for our social lives. Being offended and learning to deal with that makes you a better person. Not just better, but stronger. Constantly being protected from being offended is not empowering. It’s debilitating.

Now, I may be a mean cuss. But, I’m the same mean cuss with everybody out there on that football field. The world don’t give a damn about how sensitive these kids are, especially the young black kids. You ain’t doing these kids a favor by patronizing them. You’re crippling them. You’re crippling them for life.

– Coach Herman Boone, “Remember The Titans”

The great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said,

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

So, don’t be afraid to offend. Be hot or cold, radical or progressive, but not lukewarm. And realize that being willing to stand for something is what will make you strong.

I will post this to Facebook. . .tomorrow after I get out of facebook jail.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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