As you know, America is a nation obsessed with being offended. We really enjoy it. We just love the feeling. We relish any opportunity to take umbrage at something. We revel in the insult. The outrage. The indignation.
It’s invigorating. It’s stimulating.
And when you mix our enthusiasm for outrage with the constant saturation of news and information, it creates an environment where offense grows like mold in a dark basement. Factor in our boredom, our warped sense of perspective, and our perverted moral compass, and suddenly you find offendedness thriving to a degree never before witnessed by man….
Truly, our society’s bellyaching sissies are in an elite category. They are like the Navy SEALS of offendedness. They demonstrate unmatched skill, dedication, and dexterity in imagining new and exciting ways to be insulted.
But why? Why are we in this permanent state of outrage? Why are we constantly dismayed and disgruntled and disturbed by every little thing?
… We begin by assuming the outrage is genuine, and proceed to investigate how these people could be so consistently and sincerely outraged by so many ridiculous things.
I’ve come to understand the issue differently, however.
… It’s all a show. Nobody cares. That’s why there’s never really any reason for the the Villain of the Moment to issue his formal apology and beg for forgiveness from people who don’t actually give a crap. Wait it out for a day or two and everyone will forget. They always do.
Meanwhile, there are real outrages happening on the planet. There are actual travesties and atrocities occurring, ones in which anger would be an appropriate response. One example is the ongoing genocide of religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. There’s something to be profoundly offended by, if you’re looking for a new target….
“I have hated the words and I have loved them….”
But the words were made right.
I just finished reading The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. When you read it — and perhaps you already have — you’ll probably understand what my introductory words mean, and perhaps you’ll even feel the way I do, a mixture of anger and joy, sadness and hope.
Books like this are why for me reading is a cherished pastime, a form of enlightenment and entertainment that far excels the feeble, shallow attempts of most modern media.
Set in a small town in World War II Nazi Germany, The Book Thief is possibly the most unique book I have ever read. The story’s narrator is, to say the least, highly unusual — yet absolutely appropriate, and the narrator’s manner of speech is extraordinary.
“… like a slice of cold cement.”
“… the falling chunks of rain….”
“… the young man’s voice was scraped out and handed across the dark like it was all that remained of him.”
“Her words were quiet, close to motionless.”
“The rubble just climbed higher. Concrete hills with caps of red.”
But more moving than how the story was told, is the story that was told.
Continue reading “The Book Thief”
That does not make me racist, contrary to the ridiculous accusation that is frequently and unjustly applied to people like me who are ardently anti-Obama.
Frankly, I don’t care one iota what race someone is. I care about what the person believes in and stands for — the content of their character, not the color of their skin, as Martin Luther King preached [ref].