I never aim to offend but sometimes I do anyway. If someone is personally affronted by my telling of my own truth, well, it’s not really my business,is it? And that philosophy works in both directions.
I can recall an incident where I was once truly offended by something. In his book, The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, film critic Richard Crouse, who is an acquaintance, recommended several films that I indeed had overlooked. Over time I rented several of them and they were delightful. But one was awful. Ginger Snaps began with the torture of a dog and I found it so stomach churning that I immediately popped it out of the player and took it back. You could certainly say I was offended but who was to blame? Nobody, that’s who. The next time I ran into Richard I told him how much I had loved his book but loathed that particular movie. “Different tastes, eh?” he said. Yup, I agreed. That flick had been well reviewed elsewhere too and apparantly appealed to a segment of the film-going public. If I was offended, it was my business. It’s not up to everyone else to make the world a negative-emotion-free ride for me. There is no rating system for what I find offensive like there is for swearing or nudity. You rent a flick and you take your chances. That’s just how it works, especially with art.
The whole “being offended” phenomenon has never been explained as well as in the following column by San Franscisco Chronicle writer Mark Morford. He nails it at every level. Click the link and see what you think!