Wednesday, 21 October 2009

An easily offended nation

Hardly a week goes by without a story emerging from the media about someone who has been offended in some way. People seem to be getting offended in increasing numbers, and are getting offended by an ever increasing list of issues and subjects.

While I am most certainly not advocating deliberately offending someone, I do think that as a nation of self proclaimed tolerants, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate why we get so offended, and so easily.

With compensation culture now being a steadfast part of Britain, and a raising awareness of human rights issues , we seem to have also seen a rise in people taking offence. In my opinion, these are related. People are aware that they can seek compensation if they feel aggrieved. They can demand that they feel their human rights have been violated.

However, the biggest factor in the rise of offence being taken, is political correctness. It is now practically impossible to mention subjects relating to race, religion and so on, without falling foul of political correctness. This is one of the greatest causes of polarity within this country. It does little to create unity, but does everything to cause division. Again, I am not advocating deliberately offending someone.

Comedians are treading on ever increasingly thinning ice. The list of topics they can poke fun at is getting smaller by the day. Instead of laughing at ourselves, we take offence and file a complaint, or even a lawsuit.

Unless you stay inside your house permanently, do not read a single newspaper or magazine and do not watch television, then you are going to be offended. The only way an enlightened society can progress is to accept that other people have differing beliefs and opinions, and that yours are no more valid than theirs.

I once heard someone say the phrase "No one has the right NOT to be offended". I couldn't agree with this sentiment more.


  1. I found this interesting...

    Tate pulls nude child star image

    A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was working with gallery staff to ensure they did not "break the law or cause any offence to their visitors".

    Blimey! Not sure I'd want to go to an art gallery that is afraid of offending their visitors. Art should be provocative and thought provoking, how can it hope to be either if you worry about causing offense.

    Being frightened of causing offense means that it becomes increasingly hard to engage with important issues.

  2. I read about this story too, and was rather perplexed. Art,like music, should be allowed to be provocative. It seems that it is more important to be inoffensive, than to try be imaginative and push the boundaries of art.