There seems to be a new career or maybe hobby proliferating these days - that of becoming 'offended' at something, and making a huge fuss about it. The mistake comes when people pander to the 'offended,' even when some of the 'offences' are not offences to any reasonable person.
Here are some of the most ludicrous examples I've come across recently:
This is a direct copy from News Limited Network, April 02, 2013, 10.50am.
Initially, Lego responded by saying: "The product is however not based on any real building but on a fictional building from a scene in the movie Star Wars Episode VI"
But then they conceded. How utterly ridiculous.
From Racenet.com.au 'Your trusted racing resource'
|Charles Blackman and the filly, Blackman now 'Lady Blackman'|
Messages condemning the name change flooded Lindsay Park's Twitter feed, @lindsayparkrace, when the organisation publicised the situation on Wednesday morning. Melbourne celebrity John Blackman contacted Lindsay Park to support the camp.
Tim Mathieson, the partner of our Prime Minister, made a light-hearted remark about the routine examination for prostate cancer - something about hoping for a female Asian doctor rather than a big chap with a big finger. I could never work out exactly who this was supposed to offend. Asians are generally smaller than other races, and would have smaller fingers. Women are mostly smaller than men and have smaller fingers. This is simple fact. Pacific Islanders tend to be enormous. These are racial differences. It is not 'racist' to acknowledge the facts of differences. No-one is saying that any race is better than another - just that in some circumstances, a smaller finger has definite advantages.
And yet, for this light-hearted remark that was totally innoffensive to any reasonable being, poor Tim was expected to offer a grovelling apology.
The Bigpond Home Page: PM admits her bloke's joke was poor
Tim Mathieson landed in hot water after delivering the joke to members of the West Indian cricket team at a reception at The Lodge in Canberra on Monday, as Ms Gillard stood behind him.
'We can get a blood test for it but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way,' he joked.
While the joke did attract some laughs, others were not amused. Federal Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer said the joke was tasteless, inappropriate and lacked judgment.
Mr Mathieson was quick to apologise.
'It was meant as a joke and on reflection I accept it was in poor taste,' he said in a brief statement issued by the prime minister's office on Tuesday.
'I apologise for any offence caused.'
Ms Gillard said her partner was passionate about promoting men's health but the joke did warrant an apology.
'He could have picked his words a lot better and he has apologised for it,' she told reporters in Canberra.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia chief executive Anthony Lowe downplayed the gaffe, saying Mr Mathieson was a strong advocate for men's health.
'Men often use humour to deal with difficult or embarrassing issues like the digital rectum examination,' Dr Lowe told AAP.
'I'm sure he meant it in a light-hearted way of getting the message across. Of course it's a little bit unfortunate, the words he used.'
However, Dr Lowe did question the accuracy of Mr Mathieson's advice.
'Neither test is perfect but we would recommend that men over 50 talk to their doctor about getting both the blood test and the physical examination,' he said.
Shadow attorney-general George Brandis said while the joke was 'slightly unfortunate' he believed the episode highlighted that political correctness had gone too far.
'The joke was in poor taste but that having been said, I don't think we want to have in this country a culture of finger-wagging and confected outrage,' he said.
But Australian Greens leader Christine Milne, who was at the function on Monday, said it was good for people to think twice about their off-the-cuff remarks.
'Whilst part of our culture is larrikinism, it has led to some pretty unfortunate consequences in the way people tend to express that,' she told reporters in Canberra.
And what else? 'Merry Christmas' that has become 'Happy Holiday,' objections to an Easter bonnet parade, objections to flying the Australian flag. It is time to tell people to develop a thicker skin. As George Brandis said in relation to the joke about digital prostate examiniations, we do not want to develop
"a culture of finger-wagging and confected outrage." Because I do not believe that a lot of this 'being offended' is genuine. It simply gives some people a sense of power to inconvenience others.
So next time someone says that he is offended, when no reasonable person would be offended -