On a recent trip I traveled to a place where there are a lot of smart people. Smart people look alert and always seem to be taking things in – much like meth addicts. They usually don’t talk as much as dumb people, either. Dumb people look like they are thinking about something dumb all the time, or maybe all of their bandwidth is being absorbed by remembering to breathe and thinking about gluten. I was staying at a hotel near Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. I do not know much about the college, but it is my new alma mater – nothing wrong with my own college (Auburn University – GO WAR EAGLE TIGER WHATEVER), but it is known largely for a football program I don’t care about. I walked all over the Lehigh campus. It was effing beautiful, if a bit heavy on the stairs. It looked like something a bunch of CGI nerds would create for a movie about a magical boy who went to a mystical school of wizardry (if such a story or series of stories were to exist).

Go Birds

So I bought a Lehigh University shirt, and any time someone asks me if I went to school there, I say, “No, but I would if I could do it over again…and I was rich…and smart…and Asian..or Jewish…any of the smart races. No, I couldn’t go to school there.” A school that nobody talks about that has no football team (maybe they do. I don’t know). Whatever will the SEC fantards say to attempt to insult me? “HAY! Yer Mascot is a dang ol’…BIRD…er sumthin. Yew ain’t even got a football team, homo. Y’all a buncha’ dang homos…n’ injuns…but the kind whut live in gas stations, not teepees.”

That is what every southern college football fan sounds like. Period. I’m kidding, jacksplatter. Put away your deer rifle and click this link –

ROLL TARD!

I talked to a few students since I was the creepy old guy walking around campus in this particular situation (and I like talking to strangers just as much as my wife hates that I like talking to strangers). They were different than the students I have met in other places. They had causes and projects and it was multicultural celebration day and so on, but they also had no problem laughing at themselves or others, and even had a lighthearted way of almost mocking whatever they were in to. The Philippino kid said he was in finance, and the gay chick said ‘he means nursing finance – the nursing part is understood’, and he shot back something about softball and camouflage shorts, and everybody laughed. At the festival some of the groups had food, and the Jewish guy said “Ours is the only one that isn’t free.” And then in a hushed tone “Those guys are saying we don’t even have a right to this table.” Pointing to another table of a swarthy nationality I had never heard of. Nobody considered the remarks “hate”, but rather just kind of a realistic look at stereotypes that happen to exist because they are mostly true. I thought “These folks are certainly much smarter than I was 20 years ago or am now. Must be nice to be that bright.” And that got me thinking about things that offend people and why.

What is being offended (other than a way for stupid people to feel important)?
It’s basically an emotional reaction to something you didn’t want to hear, read, or see.
The inability to have any response to a situation other than your own emotional reaction seems like a personality disorder, especially since it requires the offendee to believe that their feelings matter to anyone other than themselves. I may be wrong about this, since I know nothing about the definition of disorder and am probably a pile of them myself, but it is definitely not healthy or productive. Being offended, except in very specific circumstances, is a waste of time. Yet for millions of people it is their default state.

People constantly remember events incorrectly because of how something made them feel. The key is that your feelings are something you created. It’s dishonest to say “I asked him where the coat closet was and he screamed at me”, because you’re slathering your dumb emotions all over the actual events. Whenever you are faced with an interaction, conflict, compromise, whatever, the first thing to do is remove yourself from the equation.

Did I offend you?
I get lots of great and thoughtful emails from great and thoughtful people. I also get emails from pitiful people who take the time to sit down and compose a series of words intended to make me (angry? Sad? Not sure) by saying they think I’m ugly, dumb, not funny, whatever. The idea that someone would take time out of their life to attempt nothing more than make another person feel bad is one of the saddest notions I have pondered, and I want to help these people by encouraging them to kill themselves. Occasionally someone will say something negative about fly fishermen or woodworkers or 41 year old white guys and then say “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.” I promise you did not. In order to offend me, first I have to know who you are. Second, I have to respect you and your opinions. Third, the offensive statement must be directed at me personally, not just a group with whom I may be affiliated. If any of those three criteria are not met, I have nary a shit to give.

New rule – you can only be offended by things that are directed at you by someone you respect. “Hey, you look fat in that headband” can be offensive if said by someone looking directly at you and pointing. The statement made on television that headbands make people look fat is in no way directed at you or your fat head. The person in your television is not really in your television. Quit assuming you are so important.

Being offended by someone else’s mistake –
I used to live in a condo and I was on the homeowners board. One afternoon Heather came pounding on my door because someone parked in her spot. She was all pissed and wanted them towed and burned at the stake. She had written a shitty note with “MOVE THIS CAR ASAP OR YOU WILL BE TOWED!” in girl cursive with a purple ball point pen. I wish I still had it, because it was adorable. I told her we can’t tow cars because a tow truck can’t get into the lot. I also asked her how long they had been there. She said “I just drove up a second ago. People are so RUDE.” Yes, she made a billion assumptions based on nothing. I knew whose car it was, and explained to Heather that the car belonged to a woman (this will sound like bullshit, but it is not) who has a retarded brother who lives upstairs. She brings his groceries once a week and parked in that spot because it is closer. When the woman came out, I told her that she should use the visitor spot if she can, and also told Heather that if someone is parked in her spot, she could use one of the visitor spots next to hers for a few minutes in case it is something like this.

This story was later relayed to me by someone else as: “Heather said she asked you to help her get a car out of her spot and you were a prick about it.” I replied “Heather was a little emotional and may have remembered things differently than they really happened.” Her friend said “She does that a lot.”

Heather sucks and moved away a few months later. Hopefully to hell.

Any time you get mad at someone for some stupid mistake, ask yourself what the likelihood is that that person set out to piss you off in particular. The answer will almost always be no. You just aren’t that significant. This concept should be taught in marriage counseling and anger management classes if it isn’t already. Really it should be taught to children at an early age by their parents. That would solve a lot of problems.

Being offended on someone else’s behalf –
This applies very heavily to our national pastime – accusing everyone of being racist.

“That word/action/phrase/birthday cake is offensive to (insert race) people” is most frequently stated by white morons who, in an ironically racist way, seem to think that (insert race) people are not capable of speaking for themselves. You might be surprised at how alone you are in your stance if you ever asked a group of Native Americans of they are offended that there is a football team called the Chiefs. Most of them are busy working, raising kids, paying taxes, and doing other stuff that actually matters.

And don’t give me any crap about the poor manatees that can’t speak for themselves. I know that is different. Stupid fat manatees.

Let’s say someone makes a joke about something on stage or TV – dyslexia, for example (since I don’t have to worry about getting a bunch of hate mail from that lot) – and someone says “My nephew is dyslexic and it’s not funny.” Does your nephew think it’s funny? Wait. Before you answer, shut up. It seems the height of narcissism to be offended by something like this because you are assuming that the complete stranger who wrote that joke somewhere in another part of the country for consumption by the entire population somehow not only knew who you are, but gave a shit about you. Stop pretending that you matter so damn much and start working on being better at something useful.

Being offended by words –
I understand why some words are thought of as being offensive, but I refuse to let a group of letters have any kind of power over me. It is especially self-involved to pick a word that doesn’t really offend anyone and decide to be offended by it. I actually work with someone who thinks the word “gal” is offensive because it is sexist. That word isn’t really in my vocabulary, but someone else said it while paying her a COMPLIMENT and she got all twisted up about it. “GAL?!” she said to me, “What am I, a hooker? I’m going to write him up.” I told her that she was being stupid (at the risk of being written up myself), and for the next few days proclaimed that I was offended by the word “gluten” since that’s all she wanted to talk about. I’m really putting a fine point on it, but I think the reason I’m so tired of people being offended about things is that it is so damn self-important. “That word makes ME feel a certain way, so EVERYBODY has to cater to MY idiot ways and respect ME and MY feelings.” Fuck you.

People sometimes ask, “Why do you use the word ‘Retard’?” “Because I like the way it looks in type, the connotation it has, and I can use whatever fucking word I want, retard.” Is the short answer. “My cousin in law has a quasidifferent specrtrorelatable alterorder, so that offends me.” I made a pie chart to illustrate exactly where you fit in.

Print

“But I’m not the only one with this opinion”, they sob between fistfuls of crushed strawberry pop-tart. Another pie chart for your ilk.

Print

The loudest group gets heard –
It’s sort of like the phenomenon that happens on Marta – Atlanta’s version of public transport that has become a massive taxpayer expense and serves as a rolling prison for the criminally insane. Six assholes can sound like twenty by just being more obnoxious than everyone around them. The cacophony can’t be ignored on a train car, but society needs to start calling idiots idiots. Why do we all feel obliged to cater to the most whiney among us, even when they cry on behalf of a group of which they aren’t even a part?

I was once (actually dozens of versions of the same story) told by creative directors that “We can’t use that copy for the so and so ad because Geoff doesn’t think it’s funny. He has a pet armadillo that he rescued, so…” First of all, is Geoff being paid to be funny, or is he in accounts receivable? Second of all *whipping out a pie chart showing the ratio of people who do not have pet armadillos to Geoff*, and third, if Geoff is offended by armadillo jokes, how much does he really bring to the party? He can’t even spell his name right.

And everybody agrees those are valid points…but we’re going to play it stupid and go with the less funny copy anyway. Mission accomplished. One whiner with no basis in anything gets to outvote an entire group by the merest queefy whimper that he may be offended.

The good news is that it is starting to change. I am far from the only one complaining about what a bunch of pantywaists (thanks person who corrected me from my previous spelling of “pantywaste”, which I still like better, but admit is incorrect) we have become, and I’m seeing more stuff around that makes me think “how did they get away with that?” which is refreshing. It means that people are starting to come to terms with reality and understand that a joke at someone’s expense or a stereotype is not synonymous with hate. Maybe someday we can take all of the offended people and move them into their own neighborhood somewhere in Iowa. Asshole Acres. They can prance around in their skinny jeans, argue about parking spots, measure the height of each other’s grass, call city code enforcement if Christmas lights are left up one day past Christmas, argue about calling them Christmas lights, and have cage-free organic dinners with world music played on recycled instruments.

The rest of us can focus on being awesome.

33 Responses to “Being offended – a personality disorder”

  1. on 29 May 2014 at 1:32 pm Andy

    As usual, you hit the nail right on the head. I am so tired of being PC… Fuck em’ if they can’t take a joke!

  2. on 29 May 2014 at 2:19 pm somecanadianguy

    Another gem of reading….I especially liked the phrase “world music played on recycled instruments.”. Can you print T-shirt’s with those pie charts, that would be awesome.

  3. on 29 May 2014 at 2:19 pm Rob

    Hey Dusty (my 1st dog’s name was “Rusty”,does that bring anything to the party?)
    I showed this to a “girl” I work with.
    She hates being called a “girl” and much of this subjectmatter, applies to her.
    I’m waiting to receive the proverbial “stink-eye” then the traditional actual “dick-tap”, from her.
    Such is my life.
    I enjoy your work.

  4. on 29 May 2014 at 2:42 pm davejase

    You asshole. My neighbor’s best friend’s uncle LOVED that headband.

  5. on 29 May 2014 at 2:45 pm Ross

    It’s been more than half of a decade, and I still can’t stop wanting to have your manbabies.

    You should run for government office at some point. The media fallout would be FANTASTIC.

  6. on 29 May 2014 at 3:31 pm Brian

    This post should be required reading for anyone who owns a lung.

  7. on 29 May 2014 at 4:07 pm Dean

    I love you more than any straight man should ever love another man. By straight I mean not gay and not the unfunny part of a comedy duo.

  8. on 29 May 2014 at 4:23 pm Ken JP Stuczynski

    I’m sharing this on considerReconsider’s FB page … which I think has an article on this topic you will appreciate. I think it even mentions gluten, LOL.

    http://considerreconsider.com/2010/americas-self-imposed-famine/

  9. on 29 May 2014 at 4:33 pm Fart-Old

    I’m offended all to hell….It is “Les-dysxic” not the way you spelled it. Turn on your checkspell.

  10. on 29 May 2014 at 4:58 pm HRT

    Ah this takes me back to a simpler time when cable modems were awesome and not S.O.P. When men were men, women were women and sheep wore cashmere without being terrorized by animal rights advocates. When knowing three HTML codes got you a six figure salary and Facecrack was still for college pukes. Who BTW were only college pukes because those of us in our thirties were unrepentantly jealous.

    Anyway you suck you racist prick and I loved every line of your article/rant, thanks bro.

  11. on 29 May 2014 at 4:58 pm Cecilia

    Dusty, I would forward this to my teenage daughter (who thinks she invented feminism and on behalf of every woman in the world is OUTRAGED) but she might get offended.

    Seriously though, on behalf of everyone who grew up in a time when we were taught that it was okay, maybe even healthy (gasp!) to be able to laugh at yourself, Thank You. Keep up the good work.

  12. on 29 May 2014 at 9:01 pm Jeanie

    WOO HOO! I feel like a semi-quasi-celebrity, thanks to you, Dusty (yes, I’m the “pantywaist” person, and I mainly pointed it out because I love the way my brother tosses the word around, and thought you might be missing the spirit…). And, and, AND, I do most enthusiastically share your sentiments regarding the easily offended.

  13. on 29 May 2014 at 10:35 pm Judd

    Living in ‘Merca, I don’t know that I would’ve known how differently a culture could treat “being offended” until I lived in ‘Straya.

    In fact, the two biggest incidents I can remember of anybody being notable for being offended were both brought about by… yep, Americans. Mostly it’s…

    “So I says to the [insert racist word here] that he better move his fkn car…”

    “Mate, you can’t say [racist word] that’s racist, ya dumb cunt.”

    “Right. Sorry. Anyway, I says to this dumb cunt that he better move his car…”

    Easy as.

  14. on 29 May 2014 at 11:12 pm Janet

    Love it!! You always put into words exactly how I feel about certain topics. I especially liked the way you put this; “Any time you get mad at someone for some stupid mistake, ask yourself what the likelihood is that that person set out to piss you off in particular. The answer will almost always be no. You just aren’t that significant.” Wish I knew that in my early 20’s, would have saved me a lot of stress and drama! I truly enjoy your posts, and always LOL. And those ‘worst album covers’…..I cried laughing. Thank you!!!

  15. on 29 May 2014 at 11:44 pm Ralph Wiggum

    Why do people get offended by dyslexic jokes? I have never met a dyslexic who didn’t crack a bunch of jokes about their condition. I found the only way to offend a dyslexic is to tell them a bad dyslexic joke. And they only get pissed off because you just wasted their time.

  16. on 30 May 2014 at 9:19 am BG

    Dusty–Good stuff. While I’m on here, do you still have the website you had a few years ago? Scotty would send one of your gems sometimes and I really enjoyed them. Thanks–BG

  17. on 30 May 2014 at 9:49 am Dusty

    As far as i know, this is the same site.

  18. on 30 May 2014 at 10:27 am CG

    A woman in Plano, TX was offended by a joke written on a chalk board in a bar. The joke was tasteless, and mildly amusing, but she ramped it up to nuclear level by putting it on line. The owner then fired the manager and issued an apology in an effort to avoid a law suit. Thanks to this woman, we now have another person on the welfare roles.

    http://popcultureblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/scruffy-duffies-domestic-violence-joke.html/

    I remember writing on the chalkboard over a urinal in a bar; “I peed on the chalk”, in a one man effort to cleans the boards of the piss poor jokes and bogus phone numbers. I wonder when the department of health will descend on my head.

  19. on 30 May 2014 at 11:12 pm Disgruntledcitydweller

    For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I feel offended. Keep up the good work.

  20. on 31 May 2014 at 4:18 pm John

    Terrific. Like you, I laugh at everything (and ruin movies for everyone around me). So nice to read a blog by someone as damaged as me. I rate my week by how many people unfriend me on Facebook. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  21. on 02 Jun 2014 at 6:07 pm dusty

    I don’t think that makes you damaged, John. Probably just logical.

  22. on 03 Jun 2014 at 12:26 am Elice

    Hey dusty I just wanted to let you know that Ron Carter was killed in a paraglidong accident 3 months ago. We’re still coming across names of people that we think would like to know.

  23. on 04 Jun 2014 at 9:04 pm John

    Man. It’s great to see a post from you after a long hiatus. And a winner at that. I’m not sure what took you so long, Pantywaist.

  24. on 06 Jun 2014 at 2:07 pm GGG

    Entertaining and thought-provoking as always.

    Sadly, as long as there is money in being offended, there will be someone who takes offense.
    Bring on the tort reform, I say!
    It may well be the only way to reverse this train wreck.

  25. on 06 Jun 2014 at 2:10 pm GGG

    It’s also good to see that The Hole is still alive and kicking Down Under.

  26. on 07 Jun 2014 at 7:58 am One Woman Wise

    Husband just told me he NEEDS those pie chart T shirts stat. Even just to frame them and hang in his office. When waste of oxygens come a calling, all it will take is a simple “tap tap” on the wall art and and remind them they are not the centre of the universe and no one gives a rats arse!

  27. on 08 Jun 2014 at 12:42 pm weezel310

    I have a severe limp due to a medical condition. Many other people have been offended overhearing my children calling me a “gimp” or “gimpy”. As in “C’mon, gimpy, catch up! We don’t have all day!” I have had people tell them, in FRONT OF ME, that they are being rude/mean/inappropriate. Um, wow. Guess what they were told? It is rude and inappropriate to correct my nearly adult children.I usually then tell some weird story about why i’m limping, involving a tragic shaving accident or being bitten by one of those sharks you flush down the toilet when you get tired of your fish tank.

  28. on 11 Jun 2014 at 11:06 pm Alan S

    Nice one. I personally detest the folks you mention who presume to take offense on behalf on someone else.

    I live in New Mexico, a state with a fairly large Indian population. (Digression: my in-laws back East lectured me to call them “Native Americans.” Um, no. Other than a tiny subset of the perpetually aggrieved, they call themselves Indians and always have.) I will make a standing wager with anyone: If a given Indian is an NFL fan, sight unseen I will bet that he’s a Redskins fan. I base this on personal observation that at least 50% of the NFL gear I see on Indians is Redskins gear. (Of the rest, probably at least half are Cowboys fans, ironically enough.) Conversely, any Redskins gear I happen to encounter will almost certainly be sported by an Indian. There isn’t much else of a DC fan base out here.

    My point is, according to the very vocal offended minority, these folks are walking around offending themselves, a concept too stupid to waste time on. If anything, they’re claiming a rather silly obsolete term for their own and thereby draining it of any residual offense. And good on ’em for doing it.

    I’m tired of being told “retarded” is offensive, too. It’s a perfectly neutral descriptive term, the antonym of “advanced,” as anyone old enough to have timed an engine can tell you. And I absolutely guarantee that whatever term is deemed acceptable today will be considered offensive in just a few years, and the euphemism escalator will continue cranking out more and more twisted circumlocutions until nobody can understand each other any more, and we can pretend that everybody is exactly the same, with no distinctions or differences.

    Okay, end of rant. You’re better at this anyway. I do know one good dyslexic joke.

    So, this dyslexic walks into a bra…

  29. on 13 Jun 2014 at 1:34 am Matt

    T-Shirts. Definitely. And more pie charts, maybe produced from previous entries. Agree with everything you’ve said as always. If I were a woman I’d birth your unborn. Might just do it anyway just to offend someone. The number of women (it’s mostly women, in my experience) who get offended by someone’s act to themselves (like breast surgery) is inordinate.

  30. on 20 Jun 2014 at 11:33 am Julie

    I love you. Thank you for being the most awesome person in the city of Atlanta (you dethroned me by a moderate margin, and I am ok with that). That is all

  31. on 27 Oct 2014 at 12:10 am Nick

    Great blog. Moderate the language a little please.

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