For over twenty years a group of people have ruled our lives. These people have told us how to act, what to say, and even what to think. They are a group of people known as “The Professionally Offended”. The Professionally Offended have had so much power over all of us, all they had to do was to fold their faces into a scowl, wrinkle there nose like they smelled broccoli-fueled flatulence and look at you accusingly and say, “I find that offensive,” and you would whither in shame. Judging from the reaction to the accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain, it’s becoming clear that the rule of the class of The Professionally Offended is over. We, the quiet majority of the non-offended have taken back power.
On Wednesday night at the GOP debate the audience booed the CNBC panel for asking the question, “Mr. Cain, do you think your integrity is now in question?” The majority of people don’t seem to be jumping on the press’s bandwagon to define Herman Cain as a dangerous sex offender. To them, like to me, the jury is still out. The general public is being rational, not offended.
You see signs of the weakening of the stronghold of The Professionally Offended have had over our thoughts and lives. Chaz Bono said the week he was voted off of Dancing with the Stars that he was offended by how he was treated: that Kirstie Alley never had to endure the fat jokes like he did, being called Ewok and Penguin. A few years ago, this story would have made big news. Bruno Tongioli, one of the Dancing with the Stars Judges would have been known as a transgender-phobe or whatever phrase The Professionally Offended would make up to attack him, and then The Professionally Offended would go on a rampage finding other examples of transgender-phobes in Red State America. The very reporting of Bono’s statements means that the press tried to carry on the rally cry of The Professionally Offended, but a deafening silence to The Professionally Offended’s call to arms followed Chaz’s whining.
The press continually makes charges of racism against those who would dare to think differently than Barack Obama and Democrats nationwide: these charges work with a small amount of people. These charges always will, because there will be a small amount of people who will not want to let go of the pious superiority that being offended gives to them. For the most part, it’s clear that we,the non-offended, are dominating this argument: the non-offended say that they don’t care about the color of Obama’s skin, they just don’t like his policies. It seems that the general public agrees with the non-offended not The Professionally Offended.
These Herman Cain charges are the same thing: the press is trying to get us offended. Boy, are they trying! Gloria Allred is trying. But the non-offended are standing strong. If it ends up that all of the charges against Caine are true, then the non-offended won’t be offended: we’ll want justice because Cain will have been proven to be a liar and a man who committed a violent criminal act while on a date with a woman. That is a different thing entirely, although even the worst of the charges just sounds like a bad date to me: half the guys I’ve gone out with in LA are criminals if what Cain did is considered criminal.
I am optimistic for the future: I foresee a time when someone will say, “that offends me” and I can say, “oh yeah? well, too bad.” The non-offended now rule once more. We will say what we want and not become withered by charges of racism or sexism or homophobia. I’m not saying we should hurt each other’s feelings or that rudeness should be acceptable: I believe in polite discourse. However, if I’m right and this tiptoeing around every single word we say, this fruitless game of adhering to the rules of the continually changing semantics of The Professionally Offended what freedom I would feel. Imagine if I could say to my husband, “your song is really lame” and not be told that I’m a lame-a-phobe. Or tell my brother that his shirt looks gay without being told I’m a homophobe.
I’ve been around people who were so beaten down by The Professionally Offended that they would say, “do you know Sandy?” and I would say, “she sounds familiar: could you describe her?” and they would say, “voluptuous, dark hair, brown eyes….” “no”, “she was Dorothy for Halloween” “no” “wait—is she the black girl?” And, they shut down and get really embarrassed and say, “yeah: but you shouldn’t say that” only the racist Professionally Offended would think that calling someone black is an insult: being inoffensive can be so inoffensive that it circles around to become offensive like some quantum physics problem. Maybe there will even be a time when a man and a woman can have a conversation without the man feeling anxiety of the consequence over every single word, or a time when we can joke around or compliment each other in the workplace again without the fear of being fired: call me a dreamer, but I think it’s possible.
“Imagine there’s no more Professionally Offendeds: it’s easy if you try, no PC hell below us, above us only sky……”