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!
1 thought on “Going on the Offensive”
Your column today and those written by Mark Morford, including the Tiger Woods article reminded me of a statement a college professor made: “words don’t have meaning, people do” and never has that statement ever been so true than with electronic media. The written word can easily convey insights, knowledge and the opinion of its author, but unlike the spoken word the interpretation as to the delivery, inflection and tone is solely subject to the mind set of the reader at a moment in time. How often have you quickly read an E-mail or article as your rushing off to do something else only to be left with a poor impression of what was written, only to discover that when you sit down to re read the article in detail that your first impression was way off base. All to often we have a knee jerk reaction to something we’ve read/heard only to realize after the fact that we misunderstood the message being conveyed.
food for thought, when you live in a society who likes to believe in the “right of freedom of speech”, you also open the door to the “right to offend” whether intentional or not, and that’s called life!
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