Offended by the Offense of Offensiveness…
You all read the recent story about the lesbian couple who went to Dollywood, right? (I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Get your mind out of the gutter.) One of them was asked to turn her tee shirt inside out. Why? Because it bore the words “marriage is so gay”.
OK, there’s a few things that the article couldn’t say, one of which was: this is DOLLYWOOD. The South. Good-ol-boys out with their kids for a little hoe-down-friendly fun. I don’t have a problem with the South (anymore, I should hastily add, than I have a problem with lesbians) but the undeniable fact is that if you put a bunch of necks that are red in the same place as an argumentative homosexual, there is bound to be serious trouble. I am thinking that the good folks at Dollywood were not saying to the lesbian tee-shirt-wearer “please hide your offensive message” as much as they were saying “please do not get beaten up by a pile of knuckle-dragging hicks in our park”. But perhaps I am just a cynic.
But the thing that really strikes me about this is that the news story presented the tee-shirt-wearer as offended, essentially, because she was denied the freedom to be deliberately offensive. Am I wrong? Does this not seem like a somewhat ridiculous proposition?
As is often the case in politically/socially charged situations like this, perhaps it would be helpful to reverse the polarities of the story. Imagine that a tea party member decides to wear a humorous (to him, at least) anti-union tee shirt to a Service Employees International Union rally. It’s just a tee-shirt, and it’s just a matter of free speech, right? But I would tend to think that the owner of the venue, upon seeing the tee shirt, would be perfectly justified in making the guy turn his shirt inside out, or even booting him from the premises. Why? Because said venue owner doesn’t want to have to clean up a whole lot of blood and broken glass at the end of the night.
So basically this: when did being offended become such a capital crime that it trumps common sense? Is it not somewhat ludicrous to feel sorry for someone who is offended because they were stripped of their freedom to be offensive? Has society really become this much of a mockery of itself?
I sorta hope so. It’s pretty amusing to watch, if, like me, you have a somewhat dark, violent sense of humor.