I just started screaming at the guy. Screaming. I don’t even know what I was screaming, although the gist was, “How dare you compare Hitler to this president or any president? How dare you equate what he did with Obama is doing? Do you have any idea how insulting that is? Do you know anything about history? Do you have any idea what Hitler did? He killed six million of my people, which is six million more than Obama has killed. You’re a fucking idiot. You’re a fucking moron. You’re the fucking problem with this country. You and your reflexive retardation. You’re a fucking this-and-that…” and then I just basically started yelling “fuck” a lot at the guy. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
His rethinking on the exchange (from "it felt great" to "it was a mistake") is interesting to read.
Btw, he also answered some followup questions about the incident and said this about being offended:
Before this happened, I was thinking about developing a long piece about the nature of being offended. What does it mean to say "I'm offended?" Why are people so offended all the time? This incident made me think I should try to figure that piece out because I think there's something worth talking about there.
Interesting to me since I too like to discuss people who get offended. See, I don't understand being offended. At least not by words. If someone says something that rubs you the wrong way, there are two possibilities:
1) That person is wrong. If so, they are stupid. You should pity that person, not be offended.
2) That person is telling the truth. Even if it is unpleasant or not something you like hearing, it's still the truth. Deal with it. If you find the truth offensive, you're destined to lead a miserable existence.
I'm not saying you should sit back and take it when someone says something you find obnoxious. By all means, respond. But the idea that you'd get OFFENDED seems very childish. (Then again, I lack the capacity for many of the emotions normal human beings feel so that could also be part of the problem here.)
Related: Dr. Wayne Dyer, the bald new agey guru dude who gives lectures on PBS, has a great piece on how being offended is a waste of time.
When you feel offended, you're practicing judgment. You judge someone else to be stupid, insensitive, rude, arrogant, inconsiderate, or foolish, and then you find yourself upset and offended by their conduct. What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.
My prescription for people who like to get offended: Try apathy! It's a real miracle cure for so much in life.
Permalink | 8/24/2010