This post is sort of a rant, but I guess it’s more of a commentary on the sad state of our hypersensitivity.
I received an email today from someone who read one of my older articles. This person apparently took exception to the fact that I used the words “darn it.” The article is located under the “My 2 Cents” portion of my Tidbits and Stuff site (here’s a hint: My 2 Cents means it’s my two cents).
The person took offense because he is a public school teacher and discourages his students from using “substitute words for known vulgar words.”
Tea Bag and Fire
Situations only bring out the inner thoughts of a person (as a man thinketh in his heart so is he). In other words, if you place a tea bag in boiling water, the heat draws out the flavors previously locked inside the tea bag. The tea bag didn’t change; with the addition of hot water, the tea bag could no longer hide its flavor.
In my response to the teacher, I explained that his email told me more about his way of thinking than anything else. The use of “darn it” in my life is an expression that I use in addition to dagnabbit, aw man, c’mon and probably the most offensive of them all, holy smokes! Yes, the exclamation point is always at the end of smokes. These are words that I use when I’m expressing displeasure. They are not substitutes for known vulgar words; they are terms of displeasure (sort of the opposite of terms of endearment).
Point of View
In our hypersensitive society, I’ve found that people seem to enjoy dissecting articles, speeches, video clips and blog posts to isolate a word or phrase, deem it offensive and then proceed to vilify the writer, speaker or performer. This saddens me.
No longer do people view the whole body of work and take the “offensive” word or phrase in context. The contents of their teabag (which views the words as offensive) takes over and they focus on the perceived negative and forego the overall positive message.
The My 2 Cents article that offended the school teacher discussed my real life “practice what you preach” situation involving the Bible verse Matthew 5:37. Do you really think I would use vulgarity when sharing a Bible lesson?
The saddest part of this situation is that instead of benefiting from the Bible lesson, this person’s tea bag caused him to focus on the word “darn” and thus made it his mission to admonish me for using a word that he considers a substitute for vulgarity. Unfortunately, I think he missed the entire purpose of the piece.
Cannot Change the World
My goal is to write informative, inspirational, sometimes thought-provoking pieces and sprinkle them around in cyberspace. It is never my intention to offend anyone. However, it is also not my intention to allow everyone to chip away at my authenticity by taking small pieces of what I say out of context and admonishing me to change. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome notifications of typos, poor grammar, misspelling and factually incorrect or outdated information. Requests asking me to change who I am based on a hypersensitive misinterpretation; no, those I won’t accept.
Whew, glad I got that one off my chest. Thanks for listening to my rant. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing real stuff.