Monday, April 16, 2012

Why is everyone so offended?

There is a trend going on that is confusing to me. It is something that seems to have been building over the last 10 years or so, and in my opinion, is just out of control.

Everyone takes offense to anything anyone says anymore.

Got that? It's a bit of a mouthful, but let me give an example about what I am talking about, why I think it is happening and what can be done about this problem.

First, Person A gets asked a question about something, or is talking about something that either directly or indirectly attacks person/group/organization B.

Second, Person/group/organization B, or people who are affiliated with or identify with B get all up in arms about what person A said, claiming it to be amongst the worst thing they have ever heard and want boycotts or that person to resign/be fired from their position.

Third, Person A backtracks by giving a half-hearted apology (or if it was 'agregious' enough, they do resign) and then Person/group/organization B is largely over it.

But finally going forward, you usually hear Person/group/organization B taking shots at Person A whenever they get mentioned.

Why is this happening? It is largely a culture of the 24-hour per day news cycle and the explosion of social media. News organizations need material to fill their shows (and to justify their existence). Everyone has smart phones, so anything that used to be said in private or in confidence, ends up on the Internet almost immediately, which then gets picked up by the major news organizations.

In addition, with major cuts being done in the media, plus the rush to 'be first,' many in journalism just go for the lowest hanging fruit. Making scandals seem much more of an issue than what they really are is something that helps keep people going.

The most frequent thing I see, is in politics, whenever a politician or someone in the political arena says something and it manages to 'offend' someone else. The Hilary Rosen 'controversy' from last week is just the latest. I'm sure there will be two or three new things to come along this week, and what Rosen said last week will be forgotten before too long. Sports and other newsmakers are also areas that attract a lot of this type of attention.

So what can be done? First, grow a backbone! If you are in the public eye, you better have some thick skin. If you don't you are in the wrong place. I know people say stuff about me behind my back (even sometimes in front of me) and I just don't care.If it's a difference of opinion, I respect that. If people try to offend me it won't work, because I don't get offended easily. I like to think I have a thick skin and other people need to develop one.

In addition, as I said earlier, a lot of what people say now gets made public. People have been saying these things since the dawn of time, but with technology, people now know about it. It won't change going forward, so just get used to it.

Finally, don't worry about the latest controversy! If you have nothing better to do than just worry about what someone in the public eye said that might be interpreted differently, then maybe you need to find something else to do with your time. Perhaps even work to expand your horizons and views! Don't worry. At the end of the day, everything will be okay!

No comments:

Post a Comment