My wife and I were going food shopping the other day. As we were pulling into the parking lot at the SuperDuper Food Emporium I spotted a nice parking space close to the entrance. I was almost there when someone scooted in ahead of me. I was offended. Well, we finally got into the store. I went to the meat counter, one of my favorite places to hang out, and spotted a really beautiful piece of steak. I reached for it but a younger person with quicker hands had also seen it. Bye bye steak. Again, I was sorely offended. Then I overheard a conversation where a man was talking about a neighbor who owed him some money. He referred to his neighbor as a welsher. As I am of Welsh descent, I was extremely offended.
As you can tell, I am a very sensitive man. I am very easily offended. Apparently that puts me right smack in the middle of mainstream thinking in today's America. Everybody gets offended about something. When did Americans become such sensitive little flowers that our egos are so easily bruised.
Many get offended for political advantage. Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy was highly offended by a film scheduled to be shown at the 9/11 Memorial. The Sheikh is the Imam of a mosque in Manhattan. His cause for offence, he claims, is that he fears people will blame all Muslims for the attack and he dislikes using the term "islamist" as people may blame Islam. Imam, the attack was thirteen years ago. The blame has been handed out. And as the attack was by Muslims using the Koran as a justification to attack infidels (anyone not Muslim) I would say that Americans have been more than tolerant. Tell me, Imam, if it had been "infidels" attacking any Muslim country in the same manner, how much tolerance would they be shown?
Some of those so easily offended are just silly. A Dartmouth College fraternity and a sorority had organized a fund raiser for cardiac care. They had labeled this fund raiser a Phiesta, cleverly using the Greek Phi that appers in the name of both organizations instead of an f. A young woman, American by birth, but of Hispanic heritage took immediate offence that those white gringos from New Hampshire were using her word. She made her deeply hurt feelings known. The fund raiser was immediately cancelled, the charity gets nothing, and those dastardly gringos at Dartmouth are forever banned the use of the word fiesta. They may not even think about a fiesta. Will that be a problem on Cinco de Mayo?
How some are offended is just confusing. Back a few years ago, I was watching a TV political panel show. Talking heads doing what talking heads do. The ethnicities involved went across the board. One of the speakers, not wanting to use the word cheap to describe a public policy that cut back spending, used a synonym. He used the word niggardly. This is a perfectly good word that has been in the dictionary forever. No hidden meaning, just cheap. The silence was deafening. The shocked and stunned looks on every face except the speaker let you know immediately that big trouble was brewing. The speaker was accused of racism and for the next week it was news in all the media. I don't think the poor schmuck that just wanted to exhibit his command of the language has ever been seen again.
So, I suggest we all man up. Yes, you ladies too. Let's not be so quick and easy to be offended. It hampers communication and makes the complainant look like a frumpy little old lady. OK, so now I'll get nasty letters from any little old ladies I've offended. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.