Has Being Offended Become Cool?

by Renee Miller

 

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First, let’s talk about words. All the words. Swear words, slang, regular words that the masses have decided we’re not allowed to use anymore, and their replacements. All the fucking words, man. I love them. Even the tricky ones like cunt, whore, and yes, even retard. While some of these words bother me for personal reasons, I can’t hate any of them, because each one is full of history, emotion and POWER. I’m a writer. I will use whatever word gives what I’m writing the proper emotion, and this means using the words I might choose not to use in real life.

Why shouldn’t this offend you? You have the right to feel how you want to feel, but think twice before publicly shaming someone simply because their choice of words bothers you. When I use a word you find offensive, and you scold me or worse for using it, you are giving ME your power. You’re giving the word you hate power. The only person not getting any power is you.

I like profanity, as you all know, and I use it frequently. People are offended by this sometimes. I don’t really give a fuck, but sometimes their offense at my language offends me. I want to tell them to fuck off. Get off their stupid pedestal, and join the real world. Sometimes I do tell them that. Usually I don’t, because fuck them. Why can’t I love all the words, including the nasty, dirty, messy ones? It’s not just words, though. In the book world, even ideas, thoughts, themes, etc. offend people. One of my besties, Katrina Monroe, experienced a bit of backlash for her book, Sacrificial Lamb Cake, which is a brilliant, witty, fun read that I will always love. Yes, it’s blasphemous, but that much is clear if you read the damn cover blurb. Yet, she’s received negative reviews (alas, I can’t find any of them now, so maybe the Goodreads cleaning crew has passed through?) because someone either didn’t read the blurb, or did and decided to read the book anyway, and their wittle feelings were hurt.

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Why would someone who is uncomfortable with subjects such as lesbians and/or heavenly bodies who are anything but what the Bible describes, read a book that STATES the messiah is a lesbian RIGHT ON THE COVER? Is it not pretty likely you’re going to hate this book? It’s not just her either. Another author friend, who writes deliciously disgusting horror , has received a slew of negative reviews because of the nasty shit her characters think and do. It’s horror! What do you expect? Another author, whom you all know well, C.M. Saunders, received backlash because in his book, Sker House, a male character used the term “friend zone.” And I’ve had folks refuse to rate books, or knock stars from their ratings, because they don’t like the “rough language.” It’s offensive. Oh, muffin.

I’m not whining about it. If you feel like you can’t review my books or can’t say anything positive because you were so upset by content and/or language, then that’s how you feel. I’m just saying I think it’s ridiculous, because that’s how I feel.

By the way, this post is intentionally offensive to anyone who is easily offended, so if you’re one of those people, stop reading. Or keep reading if you need your “I’m a self-righteous douchebag” fix.

Personally, I find it astonishing that we are all still offended by what is essentially a bunch of letters. I am always shocked when someone gets bent out of shape over holiday greetings, celebrations, phrases, etc. Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! Now I’ve pissed off anyone who hasn’t had a child, can’t have a child, has lost a child, or doesn’t want a child at all, as well as the ones who hate their mothers, or were abandoned by their moms, or lost their moms. Shit, it’s all so exhausting.

Merry Christmas pisses off people who don’t celebrate Christmas, but Happy Holidays pisses off the Christians. And for the love of God, don’t you ever use “Xmas”, you lazy, insensitive motherfucker. Happy Chocolate Bunny Day pisses off the folks who know Easter isn’t about candy and bunnies. Well, it is in my house, because I’m not a Christian. So, um, yeah. You can wish me a happy Easter or a Merry Christmas. I’ll say thanks, even if I’m not religious, because I appreciate that the greeting came from a good place. You’re not trying to oppress me or convert me, or whatever… are you? Oh, you crafty little bitch.

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I did start a list of everything that offends people these days, but it was way too long to put in a single post, because you jerks keep adding shit every damn day. I can’t keep up. I should add that some of the things I read/hear online bother me too, but I don’t call the moral police to have the guilty parties arrested and flogged, because who the fuck cares? They have the right to say what they want to say, and I have the right to not like it. I don’t have to be a drama queen about it, and I don’t think I’m helping anyone by telling them their words hurt me. In most cases, that was their goal all along, so why give them exactly what they want?

I’m not entirely sure why being offended is a fad, but I’m thinking part of it is that we have become addicted to that wonderful self-righteous glow that being offended leaves behind. I mean, how awesome does it feel to knock some cocky prick down a peg or three, because he uses a word or phrase that causes us discomfort or pain? I don’t care the context he used it in, or even if it was meant to be offensive or not, I am going to rip that fucker a new one. Yeah, that shit feels good.

But let’s think about this: When you CHOOSE to be offended by what someone writes online or in a book, or even by something they’ve said in real life, (and make no mistake, it’s a choice) you also CHOOSE to be a victim.

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Hmm. Not so cool now, eh?

Yes, yes, I know that some words are emotional triggers for people. But if we have to stop using words because it brings back an emotional trauma for this person or that, then I quit humaning. It’s over. Might as well quit writing too, because the whole point of it is to use words to affect people on an emotional level. If that’s no longer okay, then what’s the point?

I am sorry if you have shit in your past that hurts. I’m sorry if it more than hurts. It’s awful that you’ve had to endure any heartache or trauma at all. I wish this world was fair or at least kind to good people, but it’s not. It sucks, but when you try to make other people change to alleviate your pain, instead of finding a way to prevent that pain from consuming you, you’re choosing to stay in the role of victim and you’re giving power to the words you’re trying to make everyone else stop using. The more power a word has, the less likely it’ll go away.

Before anyone asks who the fuck am I to tell someone how to deal with trauma, let me add that I’ve been victimized too. I’ve wallowed in a pit of misery, fear and self-doubt, and I let the trauma rule my life for too long. When I stopped giving certain words and actions power, I was free of all that shit. The rest of the world didn’t hurt me, so why should they pay for something someone else did?

And I know that some people online use certain words in an intentionally negative manner. They try to hurt you on purpose but hey, you don’t have to be their victim. Don’t give power to their words by being offended. People are going to say what they want. They’re going to like what they like. How do their preferences, be it words or actions, affect you personally in your day-to-day life? In most situations, it doesn’t affect you at all, unless you want it to.

If you don’t like violence, don’t read horror, crime, suspense, or any genre that generally includes violence.

Don’t like swear words? Don’t use them. If you can’t handle other people using them, you should probably leave the Internet. Bye.

If you don’t like the idea of Satan being a good guy, or Mary being a crack whore, or the savior of mankind being gay, then don’t read books that explore those themes. Read the cover before you buy. Easy.

I know some of you are having trouble getting behind what I’m saying here. It’s okay, I know I’m rambly. I’ll just make it real simple by sharing what occurred to me as I thought about all of this:

Finding reasons to be offended is actually kind of offensive. So, in doing the thing you think is cool, you’ve become not cool.

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Five Thoughts with Katrina Monroe

by Katrina

  1. I have no thoughts. All thoughts are darkness. Except for doughnuts. Those are perfect, circular happiness. I probably shouldn’t have eaten it though. My dentist is going to give me the look when I come in with the cavity she knew was going to happen if I kept up with the whole eating sweets thing. Screw her. Dentists are the devil, anyway.

Thought 1

  1. Legitimacy is bullshit but we all need it. Crave it. It’s a confidence booster. You know why people who succeed seem to keep succeeding? Someone told them they could, and they believed. Clap your hands if you believe in fairies and all that. Same principle. Mostly. We could get into whether legitimacy is legitimate (HA), or whether a person can ever reach a plane of legitimacy nirvana where they never stop craving more, but my children need dinner. More soon.

Thought 2

  1. Who was the first person to decide seaweed was something they ought to put in their mouths? What was that story? Probably had something to do with dicks. A lot of weird innovations tend to begin that way. I bet that first seaweed eater was related to the guy who first applied for funding to research what would later become Viagra. Picture it: a family reunion that’s all little blue pills and crunchy seaweed snacks (olive oil and salt, because they’re watching their cholesterol).

Thought 3

  1. I’m probably hungry. Definitely hungry. What’s for dinner tonight? The whitest white-girl quesadillas ever to grace the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota: rotisserie chicken (work smart, not hard), cheese (not sure what kind it is, but it’s yellow, whatever), half-stale tortillas (they’re going to be toasted for fucksakes, no one will notice), avocado (look at me being all HEALTHY), salsa (Mmmm), more cheese (because duh), and probably some other vegetable (whatever is the least wilty in the crisper drawer). You know you want some of this.

Thought 4

    1. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackey are an incredible Doctor/companion duo. Pearl isn’t immediately taken in with the doctor (and for FUCKSAKES people it took making her a lesbian to dispel the whole doe-eyed lover thing every other companion except Donna had), and wants from the beginning to keep living her own life outside the TARDIS. She’s fun and funny with sarcastic chops to match Capaldi’s bitter, mid-life Doctor. It’s a fucking tragedy they won’t get more than this season. Thought 5

 

    Fight me.

Manly Musings…

by Liam McNalley

 

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

I heard that old saying almost constantly when I was growing up. Television shows, commercials, magazine ads, you name it. I have but two words for that saying: horse, and shit. Seriously, the way to a man’s heart is slightly lower than his stomach. Let’s face it men are very easy to please. Women, on the other hand, not so much. I truly believe that one of the primary reasons I have been able to stay married to the same woman for thirty five years is because I like to cook for her.

There is something sensual about cooking for a woman… almost like making love to her with food. In my experience, a really good meal often leads to, uh, other things too.

Now, I don’t cook every meal. Most of what I prepare takes way too long for week nights, so my wife, who is an excellent cook, takes care of most meals during the week. Weekends are my time. I can take two to six hours, or even longer, to create something that will make her close her eyes, and produce sounds that could easily be used for the soundtrack of a porn flick. There is such a feeling of power in being able to illicit such a response, and I glory in it.

Holidays we split; she always does Thanksgiving, but Christmas dinner is all mine. I think there would be torches and pitchforks involved if I didn’t cook a standing rib roast, and Yorkshire pudding for that meal.

There are a few things that are quick enough for week nights, however, and I sneak in at least one every week. Just last night I stopped by the store on the way home and grabbed a pound of scallops. It took very little time to season them with black pepper, some blackening powder, and a touch of cayenne. I melted some butter in a skillet, and the rest was history. I received a huge hug, and a big wet, sloppy kiss for that meal. Steamed shrimp is another “quickie” that is perfect for week nights. The secret is to use one of those two-part steamer pots, so the shrimp is only kissed by steam, not drowning in liquid. Also, I never use water, only beer. My “patented” spice mixture; a blend of Old Bay, blackening powder, and Hungarian paprika puts it over the top.

Sure, maybe one of the reasons why our relationship has lasted so long is my lack of the “Hey bitch, go make me a sammich” attitude, but I firmly believe that she has kept me around just to see what culinary delight I will come up with next. I encourage every guy out there to learn some basic cooking skills, and surprise your gal with a meal sometime.  I actually feel kind of sorry for men that don’t cook, they, and the women in their life, have no idea  what they are missing.