We’ve become a culture that’s perpetually offended at something and, what’s worse, we’re proud of this trait. Being offended has become the modern ideal of sensibility, perhaps, or a heightened sentimental morality. In tandem with this is the new pursuit of en masse public shaming on the internet. Public shaming is nothing new; however, the illogical mental rioting on a world-wide platform is.
To be honest, I’m tired of it all. In fact, I’m ready to be done with the game. And, yes, it was a game to me at one time, one that allowed me to slake off annoyance. Take homeschooling, for example. I’ve been doing it for years. I used to endure the shaming–what else was I going to do?–until one fine day a teacher asked me why I chose to homeschool and I, without hesitation, told her I was primarily motivated by my intense hatred for school teachers. Yes, that was the reason I gave, which was in complete opposition to the usual response of studies show that homeschooled children excel academically…. I had allowed myself to become offended over the years, which, in turn, came out as a shame response directed at her, the evil teacher. This offense-shaming response pattern doesn’t often rear its head in my soul, as I’m not the most excitable person. I have my trigger points, though, just as everybody does. Go ahead: tell a blonde joke and see what happens.
It’s obvious that there is a defensive reactionary mode mixed in with this offense-shaming cause and effect. For years, I defended my reasons for homeschooling, as if my carefully worded responses could change a naysayer’s mind. In the Christian circles, I’ve banged my head against the wall in my attempts to defend womanhood against black and white conceits, which often come in these kinds of capitalized slogans of foregone conclusions: All Women Are Like That. That was useless. More recently, owing to the unfortunate Zimmerman case, I’ve found myself in defense mode against accusations of whiteness, against people who claim that white people should feel guilty simply for being white, for harboring unconscious or conscious privilege and racism, and for being born into a country that at one time was involved in the slave trade. Even though I’m a Yank, far away from southern politics, who was born in 1973 (thereby missing out on the peak of the Civil Rights Movement), I’m expected to join in the collective guilt. Or I will be shamed.
And don’t get me started on politics. I’m a white, female, Christian libertarian, which means I’m not allowed to have a defensive. I’m screwed from the get-go and will be shamed into silence because libertarians are mean corporate fascists who want all the money for themselves while everybody else goes hungry and doesn’t have health care.
Ah, fuck it. Yeah, that’s right. Fuck it. Go ahead and be offended by my language. You’re allowed. This is, after all, the Culture of Perpetual Offense. But I’ve made a very important decision. I will no longer allow myself to wallow in the guilt and shame, having realized how unproductive it is. Likewise, I will no longer allow myself to be offended, and not because I’ve turned cynical and lost all my Holy Idealism. I was never idealistic about being a libertarian, anyway; it simply seemed logical to my weak feminine mind (Remember? AWALT). Logic and politics don’t really go hand in hand, though, unless one considers a small minority that masks its crimes by using the ideology of the existing political system to be logical…hmm…wait a second. I have to go think that one through. All right, I’m done thinking. It’s not that I’m cynical. I’m just done with being offended.