All through the 1980s, feminists called men pigs, leftists called conservatives racists, and columnists openly compared right-wing politicians to Hitler. Then Rush Limbaugh came along and started fighting back, and all of a sudden we started to hear about the lack of civility in public discourse! Civility only became an issue when the left started taking it on the chin.
Likewise, getting offended and demanding apologies has for a long time been the default mode of the left. If you said “Obama’s policies hang over America like a black cloud,” there was a collective gasp. You used the words “black” and “Obama” in the same sentence! You must be racist. Talking while conservative was like being locked in a room with one of those Woody Allen characters who hear the word “Jew!” embedded in the most innocent remarks. The idea was to silence and hobble right wingers by making them worry about everything they said.
Well, sorry, now we have the internet, where we conservatives can point out that the hatefulness and violent anger spewed by the left against anyone who disagrees with them, especially women and blacks, are megatons worse than anything coming from the right. And what do you know? Suddenly, being offended is out of style!
Here’s Bill Maher, writing not long ago in the New York Times: “Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.”
And here’s Chris Rock, complaining that criticism could have a chilling effect on comedy after he took some Twitter heat for a joke about July 4th: “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.”
Now here’s the thing. In principle, sure, I agree with these leftist whines. I like civility, and I’m bored and annoyed with people who pretend to be offended over the littlest thing. Chris Rock’s joke, for instance, was legitimate and funny. I love this country but no country is without sin and I don’t think we need to become humorless and pious to celebrate our independence.
But if you dish it out, guys, you better be ready to take it — and the left has dished this I-am-offended garbage out for years. And is still dishing it out! Observe the reaction to comedian Jon Lovitz going off on Obama recently: accusations of racism and even a death threat! Well, sure. An American comedian making jokes about the president? Whoever heard of such a thing?
So okay, lefties, let’s all stop being offended. You first.