Saturday, September 08, 2007

Let Me Offend You

It occasionally happens in the comments section but usually in the form of an email. A few times I had a gift wrapped box delivered to me full of horse excrement. They all amount to the same thing. I’ve gone and offended somebody again.

I swear: if I wrote a post about knowing a man who likes to sniff toenail clippings collected from the footwear department of M&S I would get an indignant email from somebody who likes to sniff toenail clippings collected from the footwear department of M&S. They’d defend their right to sniff toenails and insist that in this plural society of ours there’s nothing wrong with toenail sniffage. They would say that an appreciation of toenail aromas should be taught in school alongside every other alternative lifestyle. Why should toenail sniffers be treated any different than your average man or woman? Actually, scrub that thought. There is no such thing as the average man or woman. We’re all individuals and our likes and dislikes shouldn’t be brought into question.

My reaction is usually the same.

I begin by reflecting on how you can’t underestimate the stupidity of people. Not all people, you understand, but a sizable minority who have made stupidity their chosen fetish. Say 45% of the world’s population.

Then I wonder what percentage of people were born with a sense of humour. I fear it’s a terribly small fraction. Probably too small to form an action group. Let’s say 5%. If I assume a small overlap between the two groups, then I calculate that I write this blog for around 3-4% of the people who find it. That’s people intelligent enough to understand what I’m doing and with a sense of humour to appreciate it.

One problem is, of course, the web. It’s just too easy to use. It’s too easy to set up a webpage for toenail sniffers, to brings them together and unite them in their fungal delights. The web makes it too easy for these poor delusional bastards to form action groups to promote their fetish and to castigate anybody who doesn’t treat it with respect. They probably use Facebook.

Respect is a word that’s big on the web. I’m often accused of lacking respect. Paris Hilton fans have written hateful emails accusing me of insulting their hero. I’m ‘too stupid’ to understand why she’s famous and why people love her. I’ve had Harry Potter acolytes tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I should ‘get a life’. I could go on. The list of people I’ve offended runs to many pages.

I personally blame John Major’s ‘care in the community’ initiative. At one time we’d medicate these poor fools. Now we help them print up t-shirts. I sometimes also wonder if I should change my ways. Then I realise that it’s impossible to avoid offending somebody these days. Many Americans are so thin skinned they don’t actually have skin. Everything you say to them cuts straight to the bone. All those ads for accident liability have made us all super-sensitive to hurt. And if you’ve not been hurt by others, then you probably have a claim right there for neglect.

The rest of us, the 3-4% of people who understand what I’m taking about, have to console ourselves by going to our windows and shouting the immortal words of Peter Finch in Network:



rilly super said...

crikey, sounds like a jolly good thing you didn't run that toe nail clipping item chip. Could have made satanic verses seems like a picnic in comparison. I'm off to worry about which of your blog reading demographics I belong to now; being away so long I just don't know anymore, sigh

Shades said...

I went to see Network when it was released at the Coventry Odeon. About two thirds of the way through, the film snapped, the projector shut down and it all went quiet for a few seconds.

Then, with impeccable comic timing, a voice right from the back of the balcony shouted:

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Ms Baroque said...

Honestly - I should think it's more like about 1%. As against my 0.5%, which is still a meaningful amount in, say, epidemiology, as it happens.

Mopsa said...

What exactly was the gripe? Don't they love the pony-tailed thonglateer?

Big Chip Dale said...

Rilly, I don't know where you've been but I'm considering joining you at your retreat.

Shades, I wish I wish I wish I'd been that person.

Ms. Baroque, you know I was only being kind. It's probably a fraction of a percent.

Mopsa, no they clearly don't love me. Very few people do. You wouldn't believe some of the emails I get from anonymous people who have taken offense at things I've said. If it's not things about Romanians or Hungarians, it's about countryside matters or strippers, or about pornography, about people who like to wear leather, or about things I've said about Harry Potter, or Jordan, or Britney... You name it, I've had complaints. It's why I've gone a bit quiet. After a while, it gets you down.

Shades said...

Shades- don't let the Fuckwits grind you down. (Unless they happen to have a point, of course... ;-) )

Shades said...

Oops - last post was meant to start with Chip!

(Perhaps I've had one too many whacky emails myself)

tyger said...

Ah, abusive readers.

Of course I always show them the door, even if, quietly, I love them secretly.

tyger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elberry said...

man, you're lucky to get properly abusive comments - i just get a few patronising 'friends' who insist on telling me how dumb i am all the time, that's hardly abuse.

i did get one strange chap who was somehow motivated to read my entire blog and left about a dozen comments accusing me of being anti-Semitic. There didn't seem any correlation between the comments and my original posts, though.