You Have Every Right To Be Offended

by Noise Pollution

but fuck off, anyway.

Okay, so that’s maybe not the best way to start this post off, but I’m kind of frustrated right now. There’s a lot of context-free self-indulgent self-importance being plastered all over social media right now. I generally try to stay away from social media because of shit like this, but every now and then, something bubbles up and I have to hear about it anyway.

Everyone was so pissed off about Louis CK’s SNL monologue. What a bunch of crap. You have every right to feel the way you feel about something, but to proclaim that that feeling is “right” or to use that feeling as a pedestal to preach off of is infuriating.

There are so many goddamn things wrong with the tenor of discourse surrounding this circumstance.

First off, there’s the assumption that everyone involved in the discussion was innocently watching their television and was suddenly surprised by the things he said. You know, as if Louis CK wasn’t a known name or something. These comments people are making about his monologue seem to be coming from a place that lacks any context about who he is as a comedian, when in reality, fucking nobody lacks that context. The idea that someone could be surprised by the the idea that Louis CK is explicit is laughable. If you’re going to complain, preface it by saying “I knew he was going to say some horrible shit, but chose not to turn off my television.” Because that’s what you did.

But wait, there’s more! On that same point, I would argue that most of the people who are upset about this monologue did not sit and watch SNL when it aired. Most of them saw a news story pointing to a possible controversy, went to Youtube and watched the bit (or worse, watched nothing at all), and then posted their disgusted feelings about it. When you do that, you are actively exposing yourself to content that you apparently don’t want to see specifically so that you can bitch about it on Facebook and Twitter. It’s fucking nonsense. If you saw a controversy brewing and then went out of your way to watch the skit, that’s your fucking fault, dumbass. That’s like if I were to attend a fucking Republican party speech, except that if I were to do that, I’d at least be exposing myself to something that is potentially relevant to the way the country is run. You actively searched out something that would offend you, proceeded to get offended by it, and then stood on a soapbox about it because you felt like having an opinion was more important than not being a dick.

And lastly, if you were somehow in the ridiculously small fraction of people who didn’t know anything about Louis CK and happened to tune into SNL all nonchalantly and stuff, you still had the option to turn off the fucking TV when he started saying stuff you didn’t like. Why do people feel such a desperate need to expose themselves to things that make them angry? You can always walk away from it when it’s behind a screen. It’s not like this was some guy on the street who cornered you in an alleyway, threatening to kill you if you didn’t listen to his standup routine all the way through. It was on a screen in front of you that only requires the slight movement of a single finger to shut off.

What’s your solution, anyway? Do you think Louis CK shouldn’t be allowed to say what he said?

I shouldn’t even have to present an argument for why that’s insane.

The routine was harmless. There wasn’t one tiny bit of hateful speech in there. He said some things, and touched on some topics that were taboo. He wasn’t out trying to rally people to violence, he wasn’t trying to convert anyone to his way of thinking, he was just fucking talking. That’s far better behavior than those of you who felt the need to preach about this subject showed. I don’t think it’s okay that you have to be right, and you have to spread anger and hatred in response to something that didn’t have any of that in it at all. It was just not clean. Why is the lack of political correctness somehow an excuse to actively be mean?

This is kind of a sidetrack, but there’s honestly a deeper level of his comedy that I could address here too, and point out that he wasn’t even really lacking in political correctness, and that the bit was actually a valuable commentary on our society. He used the discomfort to make you think about things you don’t like to think about. The “going-over-the-line” that he did was actually a tool to punch you right in the emotional gut, and he did so expertly. By reacting with anger and screaming about how he shouldn’t have said what he said, you’re basically admitting that instead of thinking and feeling, you threw up a wall and refused to allow something uncomfortable to enter your mind. It’s an extremely immature and childish reaction to have. At the very least, use the things he said as a jumping-off point for a larger discussion. The knee-jerk shut-down and dismissal of everything that came out of his mouth is far, far more ignorant than the failure to account for every single person’s personal history with childhood trauma. And again, I don’t think he failed to think about those things. He knew what he was going into, and decided it was worth it, and in my personal opinion, it was. If you don’t think it was, then have that discussion, rather than this foaming-at-the-mouth mob-mentality bullshit that has been plaguing the internet since… well, since its inception.

Look, I actually come at this angle from someone who does generally strive to be politically correct. I want to be nice to people. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I want to see the best in people, and I want to talk in such a way that its obvious that that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m a burn victim. There are jokes that I don’t think are funny, there are words people can say that I find offensive. When people use “burn victim” as a form of hyperbole to describe someone’s unappealing physical appearance, it sucks. I have some serious issues concerning my body image because of my scars, and hearing that phrase thrown around (which doesn’t happen often, I’m not trying to say it does) hurts. But you know what? I could either be offended and angry and destructive, or I can be thoughtful and mindful and constructive in the way that I address comments like that. I can use that kind of shitty statement as a means to start a worthwhile conversation about body image.

I can be offended. I can be uncomfortable. I don’t have to be mean, and I can always be thoughtful. The same applies to everyone else. Be constructive, not destructive. And no matter what, don’t forget that you want to live in a world where people can say horrible, shitty things, because a world where they can’t is so much worse.