Every now and then, George Will comes up with a notion that is true and only true on a one way street:
In one way, Mr. Will is VERY correct on the Duck Dynasty flap in that the free speech issue is really a matter between Phil Robertson and his employer (who has been less than honest about it all according to reports). In another – not being offended is a new entitlement…well, for who? And about what?
I’ve got news for Mr.Will, a lot of Americans are offended by a whole lot of stuff out there – and we are labelled for expressing such opinions.
Try being a classical music lover – and I mean lover – sometime in the United States. I’ve heard both progressives and conservatives call Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, one of the most gorgeous sincere sacred pieces ever written, crap, a dirge, boring, awful, etc. The same with other pieces that stir souls – and are part of the standard repertoire because they do so and have for centuries. Does this offend those of us who perform and love this music? Yes. Are we allowed culturally to express that to the hating party? No. Same with opera, chant and various traditional church songs. (Although, there is a growing consensus among musicians that John Adams is not worth our time. Plus, the theology is bad.)
The reciprocal of that is true as well. Many of us are offended by music genres ranging from rap to country to heavy metal. What we are labelled is “intolerant” for having a problem with calling semi-organized noise music and choosing to spend our entertainment dollars elsewhere.
A good number of us out here, granted mostly women, are offended that NFL cheerleaders, and the crews that keep the ice surfaces maintained during NHL games have bare midriffs and wear skimpy outfits. The guys tell us to grow up and we don’t have to look. Doesn’t change that it contributes to the objectification of women. (So do skinny jeans and leggings without a long enough tunic over them, but we aren’t supposed to notice that, either.)
Christians are not permitted to be offended by “art” that defiles treasured symbolism, beginning with “The Last Supper” scene in Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H, and climaxing in some dingbat dipping a Crucifix in urine. (Won’t get into what Catholics aren’t allowed to be offended by. A lot of it is reflected in the paragraphs above, but the inside battles are even more stark.)
We’re told that if something on television offends us, we are free to turn it off. Many of us have done just that. (And just what ARE the ratings for programming that celebrates homosexuality, progressive themes and other material that reflects the opinions of the networks and not the audiences? On cable NOTHING beat the show that prompted this discussion.)
And that doesn’t even touch what a number of my fellow Americans consider appropriate holiday decorations to be. (Hint, if it can be seen from space, it’s WAY over the top.)
So, Mr. Will might want to rethink his statement that not being offended is the new entitlement. Certain factions in the progressive wing of the culture may piss and moan when coming up against someone who sticks to tradition and makes no apologies for it, but those of us who are offended by insults to that which we enjoy and love which just happens to be something other than “modern,” yeah, we’re just labelled intolerant.
Doesn’t make the insult any less painful.