I’m back in Alaska, at long last.
And little has changed. I’m still bitter. I’m still in a “one step from a violent rage” funk. So much as changed, but you can dress up a lump of excrement however you want, but at the end of the day it’s still shit.
So at the Job Corps mass meeting, I decided to pop in my headphones and read a book. I have heard these announcements gods only know how many times. Wear your ice cleats: it’s required (I still don’t because I have a thing called balance). Don’t litter (I don’t because the Earth is my Mother and I treat her with respect). Clean the bathrooms and guys for the love of all that’s good an hygienic, AIM! Okay, I agree with that one. A lot, really. Sometimes I wonder if they even bother to sit down when taking a shit. I’ve not seen much evidence to support the claim that they DO sit down.
But eventually, the clockwork warning came out. “Don’t use the so-called N-word”. Why? Well, let’s be frank: It offends people, apparently, as if offending someone was the WORST. POSSIBLE. CRIME. Well, rap offends me. We should ban that then. You know what else offends me? Teddy Bears, Smiles, and Women. So we should ban those too. OH WHEREFORE ART MY LAWYER FOR MINE DELICATE MODERN SENSIBILITIES HATH BEEN EGREGIOUSLY WOUNDED! I SUMMARILY DEMAND $20,000 IN EMOTIONAL REPARATIONS FROM THINE WALLET AND/OR ESTABLISHMENT!
I’m being entirely facetious here, of course. Nothing in that list but rap actually offends me. But you know what?
And I could not give any fewer fucks than I’m giving right now. Shut up and grow some balls you stupid boy. Put your big girl panties on and deal with it, ladies. To anybody I haven’t already offended, I apologize. I’ll get to you shortly.
I will not change who I am to serve a stranger’s delicate sensibilities. I didn’t ask you into my life or my conversation, so know that you barge in at your own risk. In a hundred years, no one will care about your self-righteous tears. The universe doesn’t care about your imagined slights, and neither do I. I’m sure it’s a wonderfully tearful tale about how someone mentioned a penis and a vagina and that thing they do to make babies whilst you were within earshot, but that’s all it is. A tale. One that has no more intrinsic value than the life story of a goddamn termite at that. In fact, the termite’s life is probably a little more interesting than the story of how offended you are.
I’m not in favor of the alleged N-word. Brace yourselves! I’M GETTING OFFENSIVE! That word by the way, is “nigger”. /offensiveness
That word in particular has a well earned history of being derogatory, emasculating, and was used for a long, long time and eventually came to represent a long history of despotic and oppressive abuses to a whole people which constitutes a large part of my own national kin. I hate that word. Not just because it’s a hateful history behind it, but because the word itself is ugly. I’m a poet by nature, and the word is UGLY. It doesn’t flow, it smacks of an uneducated mind behind it, and it’s not pretty to spell. It’s hateful on every level a word can be. You can’t make anything beautiful with a word like that.
But the way people treat being offended is something I hate even more. For all the “Voldemort” non-utterance associations of the word “nigger” in our speech today (a word ironically embraced with no issue by many of the people it was once used to oppress– I can’t decide whether that’s funny or sad), offensiveness as a general concept has been raised to a mighty high that stifles free speech and inhibits our actions and impairs our thoughts.
So I made a pledge to not care one way or the other about offending people. This is distinct from seeking opportunities to offend people. That’s just being an asshole, and I have no room in my life for such people. What I mean is that I don’t feel a need to police myself over every little thing, and I do my best to leave things that offend me be. I don’t raise a ruckus. I don’t scream bloody murder. I don’t demand reparations. Sometimes when walking through the brambles, we get pricked. It’s just the way things are, and being paranoid about it only hurts us.
It’s “one life, one meeting”, and maybe things will change upon the second meeting. Maybe. Context helps. I still police myself depending on a situation, and when an intelligent and professional demeanor is called for, you can be sure as rain falls that I will meet those expectations.
I will apologize for offending close and cherished or vital company, or those I invited into a situation. If I slip up and offend them, then I am honor bound to apologize and make some amends. But if you intruded into MY conversation without asking to blab about how I offended you with something I said, well… fuck you.
It’s not your conversation, I don’t know you, don’t want to know you, so keep walking and buy a cheeseburger or something while you cry over words that were not meant for or aimed at you. This is the world’s tiniest violin playing just. For. You.
Won’t you take the pledge of not-caring with me? I guarantee you’ll be more honest with yourself and others, or your money (that you did not spend on this) back!
And if I’ve offended you with this post and you can’t move past it like a reasonable human being? The door is that way.
Go cry me a river and piss off.
And then do real adults everywhere a favor and grow up.