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I tried to get some input on this in the New Comic thread for today, but it didn't get any traction. Probably the wrong forum, I decided. I'm seriously trying to make sure I'm not being a total jerk about this and missing some massive logical fallacy. So, copy/pasted:
Could I have someone tell me why I'm wrong to think that being offended is a choice that we make?
It seems to me like there's a lot of political/social commentary that, thanks to the internet, now has a lot more traction than it used to. Someone called them the "Offenderati"--and Liberal or Conservative, they always seem to be placing the blame on people not taking responsibility for their words/actions. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes, because to me, they're placing the responsibility for their REactions to these actions on the 'offending' party. I understand; there are crimes, and those who commit them ought to be punished. But it seems to me like getting (emotionally) offended is at least as much the responsibility of the offended party as the offend-er (hyphen to distinguish from actual criminal offenders).
I live in what is probably one of the most conservative cultures in America--Provo, Utah. We Mormons love us some rules and guidelines. I see people here who get offended at the drop of a hat (literally), or a joke spoken at the 'wrong' time, and it just seems silly to waste so much emotional energy telling other people that they have offended you. It's one thing to intentionally piss someone off, but getting mad and angry at someone who unintentionally offended you, or who said something that you and your particular circle of friends feel is "offensive" but is entirely unoffensive to him...
So, when I see feminists mad at the world, or entire countries threatening death because their particular spiritual value was not shared by another (remember the whole "Muhammad in cartoon" issue a few years back?), it just feels like such a waste of time and energy.
And I know that there's gotta be some logical and rational reason for me to be wrong about this. So, please, in all seriousness, help me see what I'm blind to with this idea of "being offended is a choice you make."