Let’s say you live in a land where the Rule is: You can’t offend anyone.
Okay, fair enough. Let’s take a look at what follows (implicit in this rule).
If you are speaking to 10 people, is it okay to offend 1 in 10? 1 in a 100?
1 in a 1000?
If you say anything Important about something vital you’re guaranteed to offend at least 1 person. It is a given.
What would this mean?
You’re not going to be able to say anything important ever because the rule will stop you.
Which--if you’re honest--is the same as saying 1 offended person’s feelings are way more important than the other 999 people who want to hear vital things spoken (and written) about important topics.
Yes--this HAS HAPPENED before and it will happen again!
If you scoff--why not take a look at the surprising books BANNED by offended authorities in schools and libraries.
1. TARZAN of the APES (Edgar Rice Burroughs)
Why? Obviously, Tarzan and Jane were living in sin! Duh.
2. Where the Wild Things Are ( Maurice Sendak)
Why? Because the character, Max, was punished by being sent to bed without dinner.
3. The Diary of a Young Girl, ( Anne Frank )
Why? “It’s a real downer,” said Alabama State Textbook Committee
4. American Heritage Dictionary
In 1987, for example, the Anchorage Alaska School Board banned this dictionary for its "objectionable" entries — particularly slang words, including "bed," "knocker," and "balls."
5. The Lorax, ( Dr. Seuss )
Why? The logging industry was offended by the anti-deforesting plot line.
6. Little Red Riding Hood, ( Trina Schart Hyman )
Why? Culver City, California school board objected to the cover illustration "Showing the grandmother who has consumed half a bottle of wine with a red nose is not a lesson we want to teach,"
7. Hansel and Gretel, ( The Brothers Grimm )
Why? In 1992, two self-proclaimed witches claimed: “It gives witches a bad name.”
8. Where's Waldo?, ( Martin Hanford )
Why? The book was banned in Michigan and New York because of a sunbathing woman suffering a wardrobe malfunction the size of a pinhead in a corner of one of Martin Hanford's drawings.
9. Twelfth Night, ( William Shakespeare )
Why? School authorities in Merrimack, New Hampshire objected: jolly cross-dressing and fake-same-sex romance were deemed in violation of the district's "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction," and copies of the play were pulled from schools.
10. James and the Giant Peach, ( Roald Dahl )
Why? In Wisconsin in 1999, the book was banned because of concerns the spider licking its lips could be interpreted as sexual.
11. Charlotte's Web, ( E.B. White )
Why? A parents group in Kansas decided that any book featuring two talking animals must be the work of the devil, and so had E.B. White's 1952 work barred from classrooms. “ Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God." (What about the talking serpent in Eden? Hmm.)
12. Harry Potter series, ( J.K. Rowling )
Why? The pastor of St. Joseph School in Wakefield, Massachusetts, deemed their sorcery-heavy storylines inappropriate for a Catholic school.
13. The Grapes of Wrath, ( John Steinbeck )
Why? “Communist values.”
14. Animal Farm, (George Orwell)
Why? Anti-Stalin themes. *(Yes, the murderer of 100 million people was once an ally during WWII).
15. Catcher in the Rye, (J. D. Salinger)
Why? “Sexual references.”
I could go on and on--but the point is made, I think.
If our rule becomes: You Can’t Offend Anyone, you’re not going to be able to say anything important, create something novel and surprising ever because THE RULE will stop you.
Just 1 overly sensitive soul who objects will prevent the 999 others from reading Charlotte's Web or looking for Waldo.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS means well--but the unintended consequences are TOO DIRE.