Words Of Advice!

I’m an optimist.  However, I must admit ever since the Millennials began drifting out of the universities and into the general population, I’m losing my girlish laughter.  Seriously! These people are difficult to deal with.  It’s like playing chess with a pigeon — they don’t actually understand the game, but they strut around the board as if they invented it.  Lighten up, folks!  Here’s some advice.  It might not make your lives any better, but it’ll certainly help all the people around you get on with theirs.

1 — Nobody in the real world gives a damn about your feelings.  Being over-sensitive about everything doesn’t mean you’re a unique, complicated or interesting person; it means you’re an emotional train wreck who doesn’t have any coping skills.

2 — I think it’s wonderful that you want a totally cool job that utilizes your intelligence, ability and years of education.  Unfortunately, your diploma in Gender Studies or any of the other 1001 bullshit degrees out there didn’t provide you with any marketable skills.  To get a job (cool or otherwise) you need MARKETABLE SKILLS, so either get some or learn how to make coffee.

3 — If you live in the Western World, you’re already part of the 1%.  Nobody but you — and your Instagram buddies — thinks you’re ill used, abused or downtrodden.  And, like it or not, you’re not oppressed, so give it a rest.  You have the bounty of this very, very wealthy society at your disposal.  Bitching about that is kinda counterproductive.

4 — Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

5 — People who disagree with you are not assholes, morons, idiots, or Satan’s evil twin. They’re ordinary people who are just as smart, aware and informed as you think you are.

6 — The real world does not come with a safe space.  That’s a pretend game the universities made up so your parents wouldn’t sue them.

And finally:

7 — Even though he’s not on Twitter, read Copernicus: he has documented proof you’re not the centre of the universe.

Eagerly Offended: Our Brave New World

offendedI doubt that congratulations are in order, but as of this week, our world finally hit critical mass on the “I am offended” scale.  In less than a day and a half we went from a society that was merely easily offended — by pretty much anything — to one that is now eagerly offended by it.  Therefore, as of close of business, January 30th, 2013, we are currently self sustaining in the injured feelings department and will remain constantly offended by one thing or another for the rest of all time.  My, but we do live in a curious age!

The Malcolm Gladwell Tipping Point, that threw us into this abyss of indignation, came during this week’s hype-up to the Super Bowl.  No, it wasn’t Ray Lewis mouthing off about the devil.  Quite frankly nobody’s on his side (the devil’s that is, not Lewis’.)  Nor was it Taco Bell getting its ass kicked by a bunch of militant vegetarians.  They were the ones who were so offended by Taco Bell’s “attack ad” on healthy eating that they made the faux Mexican fast food chain withdraw its Super Bowl mega-mercial in abject shame.  (Frankly, I never realized vegetarians were an identifiable activist group.  I thought they were just people who didn’t eat meat.)   No, the straw that proverbially pushed us from “easily” to “eagerly” was an innocuous player interview from the three-ring media circus.

The radio interview of Frisco 49er cornerback Chris Culliver (BTW, I’m a Raven’s fan so I have no self interest in defending Mr. Culliver.) was probably cliché-ing along quite nicely when interviewer Artie Lange asked if there were any gay players on the 49ers.  Culliver’s murky, meandering answer amounted to assurances that he was a heterosexual, his team mates were heterosexuals and nobody in the 49ers’ locker room was interested in exploring any alternative sexual orientation for at least a decade.  The loud and proud crowd jumped on the guy faster that you can say leisure-class activist.  They hauled out their own battalion of clichés – homophobia, intolerance, discrimination etc. and made their usual demands – a personal apology, a corporate retraction and some force fed re-education for the offending member.  The 49ers’ organization reacted immediately, tremblingly obeyed, and all was right with the world again.

Unfortunately, as per usual, people were offended by the wrong thing.  It’s offended1beyond my comprehension why nobody was pissed off by the question itself.  Rhetorically speaking, why did Lange even ask it in the first place?  What the hell does homosexuality have to do with football?  I doubt very much if Raven’s Coach Harbaugh (John) called his players together and said, “Listen up!  My brother, over in San Fran, has got himself a couple of homosexuals on defence, so we’re going to overload the strong side on 3rd and long situations.”  Sexual orientation just isn’t part of a winning football strategy.  It would have made just about as much sense for Lange to ask how many Norwegians were on the team; more, actually, since Norway is not what you’d call an American football powerhouse (no offence, Norway.)  Yet, Artie got off scot free (no offence, Scotland, or Dred Scott or whoever — My God, there’s no end to it!)

My point is somebody is always going to be offended by something.  This is as natural as homosexuality itself.  However, bringing up contentious issues at every possible inappropriate opportunity is actively seeking to be offended.  There’s no second choice on this.  Lange didn’t ask the question because he genuinely thought the world needed to know the straight-to-gay ratio on the 49ers.  He askeoffended2d it to see if he would get a stir-the-pot response.  He did.  The usual suspects were shocked and appalled, and our society gasped in some kind of sicko socio-emotional masochistic satisfaction (no offence, masochists.)

It comes down to this: go ahead and be offended if that’s what makes you happy.  However, don’t go striding around as if you’ve just been confronted by the antiChrist.  As of a couple of days ago, it’s pretty obvious that getting offended in our society is something we’re doing on purpose, and it’s now just as institutionalized as the Super Bowl!