Stop being offended

2010-05-31 08:01

You can't open a newspaper today or listen to the radio without hearing people moaning about being offended. It’s like a new craze. Having to find as many things as possible that they can find offensive.

It’s stupid, it’s tearing society apart and I'm sick of it.

Black people get offended by just about anything white people say and white people get offended by anything black people say.

Religions get offended by other religions; nations get offended by other nations, sporting teams get offended by other sporting teams. The list goes on and on and on.

And every day that goes by more and more people get offended by increasingly trivial things.

Why, for heaven's sake?

After all, being offended never killed anyone. You can't catch any disease from being offended. It’s ridiculous.

I think that instead of making it easier for people to get offended, governments should scrap all laws involving slander, hate speech and so forth.

Just think about it. With anyone and everyone allowed to say what they like, at first things will get more and more outrageous and there will come a point very quickly when no-one takes any notice whatsoever of foul-mouthed, hate filled invective. It will become totally boring.

And when something is boring no-one listens anymore. And when no-one is listening it’s pointless saying anything.

Just in case you think that I am exaggerating about how incredibly petty the world has become, look at these examples of things that have caused offence recently.

In the USA a lobby group wanted the word "brainstorming" replaced with "thought shower" so as not to offend people with brain disorders. They also wanted "deferred success" to replace "failure" so as not to offended  those who don't succeed.

"Deferred success", by the way, is also what Britain’s Professional Association of Teachers considered using to bolster failed students' "self-esteem".

It doesn't get more petty than that.

Actually it does.

Just look at what South Africans find offensive in our advertising and you will be witness to quite remarkable pettiness.

So, to all those who get their jollies off being offended right left and centre, knock it off and get a life.

Send your comments to Chris

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

  • Pensioner - 2010-05-31 08:25

    Hey Chris...

    I am offended that you said nothing for me to be offended about!

    Great article but I am sure someone will be offended by it.

  • JJ - 2010-05-31 08:30

    LOL! I like the failure one. FAIL!!!!

  • Nostradammit - 2010-05-31 08:32

    @ Chris Moerdyk. I find your opinion offensive; so there!

  • Sefrican - 2010-05-31 08:35

    i'm offended by this article...I thought it would be interesting....but realized you just bandwaggoning....those american/british examples are old... its old news. Is there nothing else for you to talk about? Tell us about your weekend rather....

  • Gorilla - 2010-05-31 08:39

    Nice article. Agree with you 100%. Political correctness is killing the world.

  • Smith - 2010-05-31 08:46

    I find this article rather offensive.

  • Noah J - 2010-05-31 08:46

    This is a very interesting observation. I am convinced that the root of this issue is found in what people use to define themselves. People find their identity in skin colour, cars they drive, their professions, rugby teams they support or sexual preferances. And as soon as someone has anything negative to say about any of these 'defining' things, people tend to take it personal and become offended. The moment that a person can stand unoffended in the face of criticism of anything that touches his life, that person shows security in his identity. Becoming offended shows insecurity in my opinion.

  • veebot - 2010-05-31 08:48

    chris i'm so offended at you insinuating that i cannot take offense at things. lol. point taken mr moerdyk. people have really got ridiculously offending at offense taking! nxh. i'm so offended already!

  • Ockert - 2010-05-31 08:56

    The moderators of News 24 seem to be the most offened as lots of valid points in response to articles (no offensive language) do not get posted -

  • niels - 2010-05-31 09:02

    Chris, the Romans' advert was offensive... but for reasons other than the ones that caused it to be pulled.
    The acting was awful, it was badly directed, the sound and the continuity was jumpy and the in innuendo... well, about as subtle as being hit on the head by a flying piano.

  • genghis khan - 2010-05-31 09:08

    so u also offended by people being offended. go and get a proper job and dont be sponsored by the boere bond media.

  • AQUARIUS - 2010-05-31 09:10

    People are sensitive - the world is a mess Chris, and South Africa even in a bigger mess.Uncertainty about the future makes people jittery.And Ockert,you are right-News24 appear to be offended at sensible debate.They seem to want to "stir", rather than allow readers to "think".

  • Frankc - 2010-05-31 09:15

    "It’s stupid, it’s tearing society apart and I'm sick of it." So basically you are offended because people are too easily offended??? haha. Just like Momentum Life that actually SUE me for R1 mil because I dare suggested that their staff lies. (And it's really true Chris)

  • Benzo - 2010-05-31 09:16

    I am Dutch. The Dutch cannot be offended any more. They have been accused of "klomp feeted" at the bottom to "cheese heads" at the top. What is left is not worth mentioning. Whatever you say, you will not ever be the first...and we are still there. So....who cares what you call us? Call it "thick skinned" :-))

  • Leroux - 2010-05-31 09:26

    I think Noah J just explained why I'm so easy going and not offended easy.
    It's also stupid when someone calls a "problem" a "challenge", or "when" my boss calls a job or project an "exercise". Don't worry boss, I'm still aware that I am at work, regardless of your euphemism. But I digress.
    I do miss the days where we could all just engage in fisticuffs and it's all sorted out. Offence gone!

  • on da udder hand - 2010-05-31 09:41

    In some sittuations this argument holds water. For example when muslims choose to take offense at an image of the prophet Mohammed and not at an image of Jesus (which should be equally offensive to them). In other sittuations it might not. For example a statement like "Chris Moerdyk regularly attends white supremicist meetings and owns a slave called Raphael who writes all his collumns for him" could seriously damage your reputation - which is legally protected for a very good reason by slander laws. A slightly infantile example it may be, but it illustrates the point that it is possible to cause real harm to an individual by saying things sometimes. I believe there is a distinction to be made between humour (even misguided humour) and statements or publications of any kind made with the intention or cause harm to an individual or group and/or to incite violence - which incidentally is pretty much the content of our current laws. I don't think Raphael put much thought into this one, Chris...

  • Hey Chris - 2010-05-31 09:45

    At the end of the day, it is all about respect. Why must people belittle other people or races to achieve something? In general people with weak self esteem use this tactics to make themselves feel/look good. Surely the advertising companies in SA can come up with something more creative than this tactics. Look at the best designs companies in the world (Germany, USA and Japan). Their ads are creative and do not use below the belt and petty tactics.

  • John the Saint - 2010-05-31 09:49

    The fact that news24 place this drivel I find offended.

  • Lorenzo @ LOSERS - 2010-05-31 09:54

    You'll find people that get offended by silly things are insecure and have all round boring lives. They are the same people that don't let their kids play in the garden because there are all sorts of diseases they could catch and are most probably vegetarians too.

    It's these people that will not survive as humans being . . . if you consider the theory of Natural Selection (Evolution) then you will realise that the weak minded (easily offended) people will die off eventually. Humans became the earth’s principal species because we weren’t scared off facing difficult situations. These easily offended people have lives that are clearly un-challenging and in actual fact have nothing else to worry about so they look for anything mildly unpleasant.

    Take far example Midgets. We have to call them little people. Now I’m sorry but if someone called me a little person I would be more offended. It’s the same as “African Americas”. Do me a favour. You are black. I don’t go around calling myself a European African. Garage Collectors are Garbage Collectors. Maids are Maids. Managing Directors are Managing Directors. And Garage Attendants are Garage Attendants, not Petroleum Specialist Technicians.

    If someone can't laugh at themselves then I don't bother socialising with them. They are just losers who have nothing interesting going on and don't enjoy seeing, hearing or being out of their little comfort zones.
    Many human beings have lost a very crucial part of their anatomy which almost defines us as Humans. It’s called a Back-Bone.

  • Vicky - 2010-05-31 10:02

    Nit so much offended as offensive

  • skywalker - 2010-05-31 10:23

    Offence = attack,literally.I'm sure there are parts of the world where the peoples have evolved to the extent not to take literal offence,but in our part of the world where the survival instinct is so strong to attack means to attack right back at you.

  • Raymond Hocknell - 2010-05-31 10:25

    Yes Chris, I agree. @Lorenzo - LOL dude, very LOL ...

  • Ben - 2010-05-31 10:26

    We alone are to blame. We're getting weaker an weaker by the day. Everything needs to be politically correct. Nobody know how to handle being offended anymore. It's with it and move on. Done.

    But these day more and more people believe they have the right to not be offended. And now it's just gone that extra step where people use the "offended card" to make you bend and live according to their believes or way of life.

    But in the end nobody but ourselves is to blame for becoming this weak.

  • Guy - 2010-05-31 10:57

    In a country with a Constitution reading like a George Orwell novel, what can you expect? Until unfair racial discrimination like so-called transformation, BEE, etc., isn't removed from legislature, this will never cease! To stop people shouting across the colour line, you have to erase it. White youngsters born post 1990 shouldn't even know about Apartheid, but are constantly being forced to accept the punishment of their fathers to the n-th generation. If all races are as equal as claimed by the liberals, the racial divide will disappear within two generations. We'll ignore each other at home (culture) and respect each other at work (ethic). People tend to look at performance, not skin tone!

  • Open Minded - 2010-05-31 11:16

    Hey Chris, I am not being offended by anything that was not offending in this article. It is true that people are getting more offended by trivial things. People should be open minded in order to be "non-offended"
    Good article.

  • Mike - 2010-05-31 11:19

    You can't replace "brainstorm" with "thought shower"! That would be offensive to Jacob Zuma....

  • GT - 2010-05-31 11:32

    WELL SAID. Nothing happens when you are offended, it usually is just a case of taking your head out of your ass and looking at life from a different perspective

  • aadila - 2010-05-31 11:32

    I am offended at this article as you are just trying to cover up for all the wrong that is happening in the world I beleive that we should be able to and be allowed to voice our opinions be it offensive or not !!!why is no comment box been opened for what Israel has now done to the Aid ships trying to aid GAZA **offended offended offended**

  • @Niels - 2010-05-31 11:37

    You forget one thing about your comments on the Romans Ad - their product is crap. Hey Romans get offended!!

  • Lorenzo @ @Niels - 2010-05-31 12:41

    Yes i agree with you there! I am offended that Romans are still in business because their pizza's are disgusting! I am offended because i am from Rome (my grand parents) lol.

  • Anon1 - 2010-05-31 12:42

    Fact is people will always have different opinions, it would be a boring world if they didn't. So people will differ from each other and be offended. I also thinks that most people have a low self esteeem or do not have the capability to muster up a good counter argument and therefore be offended. No person ever died becaused they were offended, there are a lot worse things going on in the world to worry about than speaking the truth and offending people.

  • own emotions - 2010-05-31 12:56

    People need to own their emotions. If you react badly to someone/thing, own it don't cry "oh boo hoo you made me feel bad", no you feel bad because of something that is yours. own it.

  • Janine - 2010-05-31 13:03

    Good article. People these days seem to go out of their way to find something to be offended by. I was taught the old adage "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me".

  • Nombuso @ author - 2010-05-31 13:03

    You such a "Deferred success", I'm am so offended that you are so bored, don't you have anything better to write about? pls man get your "thought shower" right before you write.

  • Not a sissie - 2010-05-31 13:07

    In the words of Chopper Reid - Harden the F*%&K up!

  • Not offended - 2010-05-31 14:50

    I've been called a rock spider and hairy back and backvelder. I don't care, I refuse to be offended. In fact, I'm quite proud of who I am. I hope those who call afrikaners by these names are not offended by my response...:-)

  • darkwing - 2010-05-31 15:21

    Offend me, offend me! I'm a very kinky masochist. I prefer being offended to whips.

  • Ben10 - 2010-05-31 15:41

    People get offended only if they believe there is an element of truth in the accusation. I for one have never been offended by poeple attacking my race or religion cause i'm confident in what I believe. I agree with your article though. it's truely pathetic.

  • @all - 2010-05-31 15:50

    yes but you were all probably the bullies that the likes of me had to hide from throughout my tortures school years. The point being that there are always boundries and rightfully so, so often does offense cross a line to something more harsh. Take a very popular prankster (who i detest), he and his colleagues go out to make fun at people that they consider to be vulnerable, it gets great ratings and attracts many listeners, so therefore is good for business, pushing up bottom lines etc etc, but then there are some people like me who suffer from self esteem and depression issues, who are more than often the targets of such inuendo's and derogatory remarks, the world will see us profess that its nothing major, but inside it eats us up like maggots.
    What happens down the line when a person like me snaps and retaliates and (like the school kids in the states) blows several people away, then all of a sudden the world wants to know why?, what pushed him/her over the edge? what possible monster was this person to have thought of doing something like that?
    Maybe just maybe something you said or did triggered them off?, none of what i say justifies the action but it sure as hell gives food for thought, so Chris, there is a line in everything in life, and your article has convinced some or other reader out there that they are justified to do or say things without recourse.

  • Jonathan - 2010-05-31 15:52

    Ok dorks . . . you can drop the "this article offended me" comment now. It was old before it started. And on the topic, I think the world is full of greedy babies who just want everything and who cry when they do not get there way (I see this mostly in South Africa). Yes, I border on misanthropy and for good reason!

  • BLACKsoWHAT! - 2010-05-31 15:59

    I'll always be offended by "Baas Mentalists".

  • @Mike - 2010-05-31 16:00

    HAHAHAHA yea right on mate!

  • Anthrax - 2010-05-31 16:45

    Sticks and stones may break my bones...but whips and chains excite me!

  • Karen @Ben - 2010-05-31 17:08

    Agreed, all this rubbish is a sign of the weakness of our own characters. The human race has become so pathetic, it is making us sick. I don't guive a damn who is offended, there is alot I find offensive, but I just deal it, and so can everybody else. Grow a spine for goodness sake. People can call be whatever they like, it does not change who I am or what I stand for in anyway. That old rhyme we used to say as kids..."stick and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me", seems like they are no longer true because we all so pathetic. The psychiatrist told us that words can hurt as much as stick and stones, so we believed it and allowed them hurt. If people stop being so soft and get offended left and right they will have toughen up or die. It won't happen though, we have become so obsessed with how things make us feel that we don't really care about how abybody else feels. In the good old days, we considered others before ourselves, the reverse seem to be true these days.

  • Etremely offended - 2010-05-31 19:13

    I am offended by people who get offended by offensive things :-)

  • Connie - 2010-05-31 21:01

    South Africans generally like to complain about everything.

  • rEALIST - 2010-05-31 21:45

    The "masses", being the "people in the street" and not the fat cat politicians will always grab the opportunities that arise to make their grievances known. Can we blame them if they see what the politicians earn, how they live, where they live and don't care about the "people"? I don't think so! Nothing comes of the promises of politicians which they make before elections, and the masses fall for it! They will continue to vote for them, despite the fact that the politicians don't give a damn about their wages or circumstances. Look at Julius Malema, if ever there was a " fact cat", he is the perfect example. Look at "Before" and "After" photographs of him! No, don't blame the masses. They are being just as opportunistic as the politicians! On another note: Please ban the vuvuzelas during the World Cup. Having been to the rugby in Soweto this weekend, it is an absolute nightmare having to listen to that noise. Please consider people with ailments like epilepsy, who just cannot handle that noise! Let them continue with their noise after the World Cup, if they wish to continue with the African culture, but please take into consideration our guests!

  • James Peterson @ @all - 2010-06-01 06:11

    Thank goodness for natural selection. I certainly hope that nature finds a way to eliminate people like you quicker, before you hurt normal healthy people. Stop blaming the world for your problems, they are your own, and it's how you deal with them that makes you the person you are. In other words - Get A Life - everyone else has.

  • To @ All - 2010-06-01 06:22

    "It's nothing against you to fall down flat, but to lie there--that's disgrace" - Edmund Vance Cooke. Personally I am a caring, loving and disabled person that is definitively NOT the bullying type and in fact understand too well what you are saying, BUT YOU are actually the master DIRECTOR of your OWN life so you can only blame YOURSELF for being what you are. You in fact don't even differ much from such bullies because deep inside you are both insecure and the only difference is that one choose to "hide" it by bullying other people and the one choose to play the martyr.

  • Michael - 2010-06-01 07:48

    I was taught honesty is the best policy. I'm not naive, I realise that most people can't actually handle the truth, but I still hold that ideal. I would rather be blunt and honest, than sugarcoat the truth until it isn't the truth any more. And the number of people who ask your opinion, and then get huffy when they don't like what you have to say still boggles the mind. If you aren't going to like the answer, don't ask the question.