Why are we always so quick to take offense? Why must so much be viewed through a hyperpartisan lens?
I have the distinct impression, based on some of the responses to last week’s column, that if I said the sky was blue I’d be accused of liberal bias (’cause blue is a danged librul color … I suppose I shouldn’t mention that two of my favorite old songs are “Blue Skies” and “Blue Moon”). Writing about the specific myth of Donald Trump (not both candidates) having won the majority of votes is not an attempt to diminish his presidency. It seems the events just in the past couple of weeks show that he’s doing just fine at that by himself.
Oops, I’m guessing those news events are biased as well. And he’s definitely not digging a bigger hole on Twitter or in interviews.
Sorry … my nose just smacked the cat. Is this what Pinocchio went through every day?
Sometimes most of us can agree that something is offensive. The hard part, especially for writers, is that we never know what’s going to offend someone, and the most innocuous things will make someone somewhere turn red with the rage of righteous (they believe) indignation.
Dog lovers, prepare to be offended: I prefer cats. I like dogs, but given a choice, I’ll pick cats every time. It’s the paw curl. Gets me every time. Ooh, and the floofy belly …
Pastor Shayne Looper of Coldwater, Mich. (no relation that I know of) wrote on the Huffington Post blog last year of two men who’d walked out on one of his sermons. He talked to the two a week or so later and asked them why they’d left.
“They explained that they took exception to something I said and were compelled by their beliefs to make public their sense of indignation. It’s funny: In private, they did not seem the least indignant but in public they felt it was necessary to register their offense for all to see. Taking offense was for them a tool they used to make a point and manipulate public opinion. …
“This mindset of offense seems to serve a purpose. It is forward-looking. It gives the offended a platform from which to demand that other people (parties, races, organizations) change their behavior. One could be excused for thinking that some people can’t wait for the chance to be offended.”
That’s just what so much of what we see now seems to be: Any difference in opinion is reason to be wildly and publicly offended. Sometimes it’s perfectly understandable, such as scientists marching to defend against what is seen as a full frontal assault on science and logic. Being offended by the idea that one is easily offended, on the other hand … and no, I’m not kidding, though I wish I were.
The recent town-hall meetings across the country have demonstrated what can happen when groups of irritable, easily offended people are put in the same enclosed space: A lot of yelling and not much listening, along with some who feel anyone who doesn’t agree with their view has no right to be there.
It was one of those meetings in Iowa that inspired Barbara Rank of Dubuque to write a letter to the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald:
“Congressman Rod Blum in a Dubuque town hall … asked, ‘Why should a 62-year-old man have to pay for maternity care?’
“I ask, why should I pay for a bridge I don’t cross, a sidewalk I don’t walk on, a library book I don’t read? Why should I pay for a flower I won’t smell, a park I don’t visit, or art I can’t appreciate? Why should I pay the salaries of politicians I didn’t vote for, a tax cut that doesn’t affect me, or a loophole I can’t take advantage of?
“It’s called democracy, a civil society, the greater good. That’s what we pay for.”
Predictably, some were offended by her letter (how dare she bring up what we should have learned at least by ninth-grade civics!), but many more were impressed and it spread quickly on Facebook, Reddit and Twitter.
Rank told Avi Selk of the Washington Post: “The conclusion is something I always end up saying. Every argument I’ve ever had with somebody, friends or relative: Don’t you want to live in a civil society? Government is the structure of the country we live in. It’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”
To that, some right now are saying, “Nuh-uh! Wrong.”
It’s just so much easier to stay offended and uncivil. Sigh.
Consider this a public service announcement for lovers of animals, especially those of the feline variety.
My furry one is 14, and I know he won’t be with me forever. His teeth, though, might outlast him. Today I finish up a round of antibiotics thanks to a bite from him. Even though I love him dearly, this is the third pasteurella infection I’ve had in the space of about five years because the boy is so offended by my right hand (it’s evil … evil, I tells ya!).
The hyperpartisan may read whatever they want into the fact that all three infections came from a bite to my right hand, but it’s simply because that’s the closest hand to his mouth when he’s sitting in my lap (and I’m right-handed, so why not). And when your cat is old and cranky, moving your hand ever so slightly may be enough to make him decide that it must DIE!
Any time you’re bitten by an animal (dogs and other animals can transmit pasteurella and other zoonotic diseases too) and it breaks the skin, clean it immediately, apply antibiotic ointment, and watch it closely for the next 24 hours. Pasteurella usually presents within that time period with swelling, redness, warmth and tenderness; if that happens, call your doctor as soon as possible because simple Neosporin won’t cut it, and you really don’t want to deal with complications like sepsis. Not exactly a laugh riot.
Lucky me to have an old cat with extremely strong teeth, unlike many other cats his age. But hey, with my new scar, maybe I can convince people I was bitten by a vampire. I have to get my entertainment somewhere.
This past week (heck, the past couple of days) has been one thing after another. As if we weren’t still reeling from the Comey firing and the shifting narrative on that, then came the news of the president having shared code-word level intelligence with his Russian visitors last week in a meeting that was closed to U.S. press (but, gee, one of the men’s “personal photographer” who just happens to work for Tass was allowed in). And the latest report (as of Tuesday afternoon, anyway) was that the intelligence shared had been provided by Israel. To officials from a country with close ties to Syria and Iran, both enemies of Israel.
Uhhhh … yeah.
Gives this sly photo (apparently taken for an ad campaign for the newspaper) a whole new layer of meaning.
And without further ado, let’s get on with our Twitter burns for the week (and it was a busy one). We need something to remind us to laugh.