There are some things in this world that offend me. Things like the federal funding of baby murder to the tune of over 300,000 dead kids a year. Or a pornography industry that rakes in over a billion dollars annually treating women like worthless objects. Or high schools that force boys and girls to undress in front of each other in the same bathrooms all for the sake of political correctness.
Then are things that just annoy me. Things like a lousy WiFi connection at a coffee shop. Or people who troll me on Twitter (more on that in a minute.) Or motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic just because they can. (Seriously, dude, obey the rules of the road like everyone else.)
It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between being offended by something and being annoyed by something. More importantly, a mature person understands what sort of things in life are worth being offended or annoyed by. Unfortunately, America seems to be a nation of petulant brats who don’t have a clue how to handle this minor distinction.
Somewhere over the course of the last decade or so, we’ve become a country and a culture completely and utterly obsessed with being offended. We absolutely love it. We actively and intentionally seek out opportunities to revel in faux outrage and indignation. We find it exhilarating, intense and invigorating. There’s just something about it that gives us the warm-fuzzies. Sometimes it’s all we can do not to leap out of bed in the morning and start scrolling through social media looking for that first little juicy tidbit of raw outrage meat. And once we find it, we’ll feast on it throughout the day, maybe even during work or school, tweeting, posting and hashtagging the crap out of it, until we’ve moved on to the next thing.
I could provide an endless amount of examples here, but the most recent comes courtesy of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt who, just yesterday, took to Facebook and Instagram to post an official apology video to his millions of fans. Now, one might think he had committed some sort of horrifyingly egregious sin like setting an orphanage on fire or punching a puppy in the face. After all, Pratt is considered to be one of the most respectful, generous, courteous and stand up guys in all of Hollywood (even a professing Christian), so if he’s about to apologize, then he must have done something terrible, right?
Well, that’s what we all thought. As it turns out, though, Pratt’s hideous and disgusting crime was that he posted a comment to Marvel’s Facebook page in which he urged his fans to “turn up the volume” and “listen” rather than read the incomplete subtitles at the bottom of one of his videos. Specifically he said, “Seriously, dude. You’d rather read those [the captions] than hear me?” Naturally, this greatly offended many in the deaf and hearing-impaired community (not to mention the politically correct community), which led to Pratt deleting the original video and also issuing a subsequent apology video, in which he said, in part:
You can read the rest here or watch it on Pratt's official Instagram page.
Anyway, this is apparently what it’s come to. This is where we are now as a society. A guy makes a joke about subtitles while promoting his new superhero comedy movie and within seconds he’s being lambasted across the Internet for something that is, in all actuality, so utterly benign and so completely inoffensive that it shouldn’t even be up for discussion at all. But, of course, it is up for discussion because we’re a society filled with a bunch of whiny babies still sucking on our thumbs and waiting for mommy to come kiss our booboos, powder our asses and make everything all better. Also, we’re bored and apparently have nothing better to do.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. After all, this is the same society that invented “trigger warnings.”
The same society where men are considered sexist pigs if they spread their legs too far on the subway.
The same society where college campuses erect “safe spaces” for students who are too emotionally fragile to handle opinions that differ from their own.
The same society where people demand that screenings of “American Sniper” be canceled because the film might be considered “Islamophobic” or “nationalistic.”
The same society were folks complain that their iPhone emojis aren’t ethnically diverse enough.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It’s all so totally insane and so overwhelming that it’s practically impossible to keep up with. We move from one bit of “offended-ness” to the next within days, sometimes even within hours or minutes. And the truth is, if these people were really, truly, actually offended about all of the things they say they are, they would have keeled over dead by now like livestock fainting from heatstroke. It’s simply not worth expending the emotional, mental and psychological energy necessary to be offended about everything in the world, in every way, all the time. Also, it’s impossible. So at the end of the day, you’re just being fake and dishonest anyway.
See, that’s the thing. Most of the people “offended” by Chris Pratt’s video probably aren’t even members of the “hearing-impaired community” to begin with. In fact, these offended people probably don’t even know anyone who’s hearing-impaired! They’re just members of the leftist PC crowd, which is comprised largely of individuals so ruled by progressive liberalism and boredom that they literally have nothing better to do than latch onto things like this and make it a national news story for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It’s pathetic.
Now, some folks on social media seemed to believe there was a genuine need for Pratt to apologize even though it was obvious there was no ill-intent in his comments. In their minds, it’s just best to clean up the whole thing with an apology and be sincere no matter what. But, even this argument doesn’t really work. Of course, it’s Pratt’s prerogative if he wants to apologize (and since his career operates in and depends heavily on leftist-run Hollywood, he was probably advised to do so.) And, given his genuine persona, honesty, etc., I do believe that he wants to do what’s best. I’m not doubting the dude’s sincerity here. It was a well-written apology.
But for God’s sake, we all have crap happening in our lives that we could sulk into despair and anguish over. Take me for example. I suffer from a neurological condition known as Partial Complex Epileptic Seizures. They typically last anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 minutes and during this time, I’m completely unaware of my surroundings. I usually exhibit one or more “automatisms,” like lip smacking, tongue-biting, unawareness of surroundings, wandering, picking at clothing or other nearby objects, etc. (You can imagine how wonderful this is when it happens in public or at work.) I suffered from these seizures as an infant, they went away for several years, then suddenly returned when I was a 23-year-old junior in college and I’ve been dealing with them ever since. (I’m 31 now.) Once the seizure is over, I have absolutely no memory of it whatsoever. Occasionally, I can recall the aura that preceded the seizure, but not the seizure itself or anything I said or did.
If I woke up tomorrow and discovered that Tom Cruise had been in an interview on his latest movie and said something like, “…yeah, you know, sometimes I really hate working under all these bright lights on set. I feel like I’m about to have a freaking seizure or something...” I wouldn’t be offended or outraged in the least. On the contrary, I would chuckle and probably say something like, “Hah, I know how that feels!” My own family has even kept things humorous and lighthearted when it comes to my condition.
I have a hard time believing that the vast majority of people in the “hearing-impaired community” are as humorless as this whole situation has made them out to be. If there’s anything to be “offended” about here, maybe it’s that the leftists have painted over this group of people with such a broad brush, as if EVERY deaf person in America is pissed off at Chris Pratt (which obviously isn’t true in the least.)
Moreover, you just can’t live your entire life taking offense at every little thing — even if those things are directed at you personally. Take for example this guy who retweeted me yesterday and compared conservatives like myself to “used condoms.”
If I wanted to, I could let something like that ruin my entire day. I could choose to be so completely offended that I embarked on a campaign to have him banished from Twitter forever. But, I didn’t and I won’t because people like this dude come and go every day. (Especially when you’re writing, blogging and posting about controversial issues.)
That’s the good news though. You don’t have to worry about stuff like that because it’ll all be over in about 10 seconds and the “offended individual” will move on to the next thing or person he wants to find offensive. All you have to really do is wait it out and let it go away on its own. And it always will. (That’s what I wish Chris Pratt would have done.)
Sadly though, if these eternally-offended folks go on living their lives this way, they’ll probably be dead much sooner than the rest of us. I hope they'll eventually come to realize this truth, but I'm not holding my breath.