Let’s all get offended. After all, it’s all that anyone ever does on the web these days. Social media is just full of people wailing about how something they’ve seen, heard or read has deeply offended them. Twitter is probably the worst for this, chock full of idiots endlessly retweeting somebody else’s anguished tale of how they’ve been offended by something and adding their own experience of likewise having been mortally offended by the same thing. There are times when it seems like there’s a competition going on as to who has been offended the most by something. But having been offended en masse, these characters decide that simply registering their offence isn’t enough. Oh no. They have to do something about it – so they start up hashtags on the subject to try and get the source of their offence trending. And before you know it, some poor, hapless sap who innocently wrote an article containing an opinion the Twitter mob didn’t like, or even worse, something they merely interpreted as offensive, finds themselves being vilified across the web and, if they’re really unlucky, in the mainstream media as well.
But that’s OK – they deserved it. They should have known that it is a capital offence to offend people these days. Everyone, it seems, thinks that they have the right to go through life not being offended. In an age when we, as individuals, are, thanks to an explosion of of new information sources and delivery systems, more exposed to the ideas and opinions of others than at any other time in history, it seems that increasing numbers of people don’t see why they should have their sensibilities upset by such ideas and opinions. What they really mean, of course, is that they don’t want to have their own parochial perspectives and narrow prejudices challenged by alternative views and opinions. What they are offended by is the fact that they’ve suddenly discovered that the web allows people to freely express these challenging ideas. The bastards! How dare they! The end result of this is the stifling of meaningful debate on contentious issues. Just recently, for instance, there was an article in the Guardian which tried to address the issue, with relation to trans gender people, as to what actually makes a woman, well, a woman: is it a matter of genetics, set before birth, or is it to do with the experience of having grown up as a woman, or can it simply be a matter of gender, which can be reassigned. A legitimate question, which the article, as I read it, tried to explore with regard to the abuse experienced by trans gender women from some feminists. But apparently I was wrong, as a huge section of Twitter collectively threw up its hands and declared (well, bellowed really) how offensive to trans gender women the article was. Just by raising this question, the articles author was causing offence. In fact, it was a matter so offensive that we mustn’t discuss it for fear of offending trans gender women, on whose behalf these Twatterati were getting offended.
All of which I find offensive. Fucking middle class twats who don’t face any issues in their own dull lives to get worked up over, instead jumping on other people’s alleged offence in order to try and give their lives some meaning. Even more offensive are the fucking middle class pseudo intellectual twats who jump on some bandwagon, taking the opposite view to the consensus view, on the spurious grounds that they find the consensus ‘offensive’. The most recent example of this was the whole Charlie Hebdo business, where various of the ‘usual suspects’ among the Twatterati pseuds rejected the whole ‘Juis Suis Charlie’ display of support as publicly as they could, declaring that the ‘offensiveness’ of the cultural caricatures in the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were so offensive that showing support for the murdered cartoonists would make them uneasy. Whilst I’m sure their stance made them fell very superior, all it achieved was to display just how much they were missing the point of the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ movement. Yes, some of the cartoons published in the magazine could be construed as offensive by Muslims and I’m sure that many Muslims were offended. However, shooting people isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, an appropriate response to being offended, (any more than the online vilification of those who have ‘offended’ you by saying or writing something you disagree with is an appropriate response). The fact is that we are always going to be offended by something and when it comes to satire, it is the duty of the satirist to offend. Consequently, we have have to offer protection and support to those who exercise their right to offend.
Not that I’m saying that we should all stand up and defend the right of neo-Nazis to go around shouting racially offensive things at racial minorities. But we need to put it in perspective – I’d rather they were just shouting abuse than putting bricks through peoples’ windows, or fire bombing their houses – and not respond by, say, beating them to death with pick axe handles. Sadly, we seem to live in a society where, increasingly, offending people is a criminal offence. We’ve seen people arrested and even jailed for offensive things they’ve posted on social media – a completely disproportionate response. Sure, they are morons, but they aren’t criminals. If we criminalise idiocy then we’re all in trouble. But being offended is fast becoming an industry, with the right-wing media offending itself on a daily basis with its made up stories about drive by bummings committed by illegal immigrant Muslim clerics and the like, in the hope that if they can offend enough of their readers then they can translate the mass offence into a hate campaign. Damn it, there will be an ‘app’ for it next – just highlight the newspaper stories which offend you most when you read them on your phone and the ‘app’ will get offended on your behalf (thereby protecting your blood pressure), glowing red and spouting expletives about ‘bloody foreigners’, ‘bloody single mothers’, ‘bastard benefits claimants’, ‘sodding bum bandits’ and so on. It would also learn what sorts of stories offend you over time and ensure that you always see that type of article (because the modern offended love to be offended).
But, like I said at the beginning – let’s join in and get offended. I’m sure there’s stuff that gets you offended so, between now and the end of this editorial, lets get some of it off of our chests. One thing which offends me are those bloody scousers who live down here in the South, but spend all their time telling me how shit my part of the world is and how fucking brilliant Liverpool is – how they’ve given the world all this wonderful culture and celebrities, not to mention their great football team. Well, if its so great then fuck off back there, to your fucking ferry across your fucking Mersey, and shove Gerry and his Pacemakers up your arse while you are about it, you self aggrandising delusional twats, forever living on past glories and trying to claim that you are the only oppressed working class people in the world. Fuck, fuck, fuck off back there. Oh, and your football team is wildly overrated too. In fact, they are shit. There, that was very therapeutic. Maybe I can see why all those twats on Twitter spend so much time finding stuff to be offended by…