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I don’t mean to offend people, but I do anyway. This is possibly the best-suited article for myself to write at the moment as I have recently found myself in a fury of uproar, concerning a lewd email that was posted whilst under the influence. What appeared to be a harmless joke was seen as a harsh criticism from a girl with narcissistic inclinations. This character analysis is not far from the point. In fact, does our personality somewhat define our lenient tendencies to rub others off in the wrong way and, more importantly, where do we cross the pretence of frivolity and general banter into outright offensive remarks?
Offending people is a sensitive issue as someone is bound to be insulted, even under a jovial atmosphere. No matter how much people hide their guises with a smile, the noticeably awkward expression leaves the offender pondering what they’ve said to be upsetting. Everyone has been in the position where their reasoning dictates that if people understand your humour, no real offense would be taken.
This can’t be said for Ricky Gervais, whose tactless insult comedy continually divides the critics and public opinion. His opening monologue at the 68th Golden Globes Ceremony drew more gasps than laughs as he poked fun at the Hollywood elite, but his blunt one-liners were predictable as he regularly engages in shocking utterances, to take the piss out of people for comedic purposes.
Offending people in the manner aforementioned is acceptable as it is in some ways light-hearted, in an observationally deprecating sort of way. The same can’t be said for David Cameron’s jibe directed towards a female Labour MP during Prime Minister’s Questions (27/04/2011) which sparked media controversy, deeming him and the traditionally male institute of politics as sexist. The uproarious laughter by fellow MP’s egged on Cameron as he repeatedly jeered “Calm down, dear. Calm Down!” was a crowd pleaser as they recognized the quote from an Esure advertisement, which Michael Winner inaptly says, “Calm down, dear” to a well- mannered woman.
Funny, in context. Cameron’s continued annoyance with the MP in question and his ever-smug demeanour (as expected), appeared to be forcefully aggressive and seriously out of touch with modern day attitudes towards women. The heat of the moment clearly got Cameron hot and bothered but no real complaint was made by the MP; her “plight” was brought into the media attention by the ever-liberal media, who’ll find a…sore spot.
If grating people for the hell of it is one of your pasttimes, you’ll always find yourself somewhat isolated from social events, especially if used in generating cheap laughs and tricking people into thinking that you’re witty and outrageously vocal. It’s not so much of a friend-magnet if it repels people away from you. Even if your friends know that you have the tendency to rub people off the wrong way, not all of them would tell you to tone it down, possibly because they find being offensive as a form of wittiness (at least that’s what my friends told me).