annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself
It used to be that “I’m offended” meant something. Or maybe it never did but we were all just a bit innocent. These days though, it has less value than a grain of sugar in a sugar refinery.
These days, when I hear of someone being offended, my mind goes in two different directions fairly quickly. First, I want to offer someone the butthurt form to fill in; next, I want to ask them if they need me to call the wahmbulance.
Take, for instance, Alissa. She definitely needs a wahmbulance:
So consider that for a moment – she came across someone’s username on Twitter by reading the list of people someone was following, then complained to the person she had no reason to interact with about the name of their twitter account. As you can imagine, the person she complained to had little time for her:
Now, some might say that Alissa had the right to feel offended. But her response indicated what’s wrong with offence. She felt no need to explain herself, she felt no need to listen to alternate opinions. By expressing offence she felt that should have been the end of the matter, as if she were popping a particularly pestilent pustule. In her mind, “I’m offended” meant “shut it down, the end”.
Personally, it looks like butthurt with extreme prejudice to me. However, let’s suppose, just for a moment, that she was rightly offended. That means we have to imagine that the person she complained to was rightly offended about her expressing her offence. And she had the right to be offended by their reply, and they had the right to be offended by her reply.
Offence has become so overused that it’s pointless. Indeed, logically considered, it’s MAD – Mutually Assured Discontent. You don’t like what I’m saying? Shut me down because you’re offended. I don’t like what you just did, so I shut you down because I’m offended you were offended. Back to square one, with both parties seemingly egregiously aggrieved.
Or are they?
More importantly, does it matter? Talking about religious beliefs, Stephen Fry perhaps summed it up best when he said:
It’s now very common to hear people say “I’m rather offended by that”, as if it gives them certain rights. It’s actually no more than a whine. “I find that offensive.” It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m rather offended by that” … well so fucking what.
You’re offended by something? Good. Now, start to think.