Wow, I am really confused about what’s going on in this pile-up of emoticons. Only one-third of them seem to be enjoying it. Five of them look genuinely uncomfortable, and one is apparently trying to find his calm place. Whatever’s going on in this party, it probably needs to stop. But enough about the bizarre and possibly illegal emoticon orgy. Let’s talk about the heart of this meme: people who deny their responsibility to not be jerks.
I’ve seen several variations of this meme during my travels through this vast Internet. Though the wording varies, the message is always the same: it’s your issue if you’re offended by something I’ve said, written, or done. In other words: I’m blameless. In other other words: I’m too self-centered to care about anybody’s emotional well-being besides my own.
I wish that people who post memes like this, or who express agreement with the sentiments therein, would recite a simple daily affirmation:
I accept that some people are going to be offended by the things I do. I may not agree with the reason they are offended, but I will respect their right to be offended without trying to make it all about them. I will apologize even if I don’t really understand why, because I know that social cohesion is based on people playing nice even when they don’t feel like it. Also, I understand that my refusal to apologize for having unintentionally offended someone constitutes obnoxiousness in the first degree – that is, pre-meditated obnoxiousness. I accept and understand that the penalty for first-degree obnoxiousness is loss of esteem among my peers and a growing consensus that I’m sort of a jerk.
Surely everybody would be better off.
By the way…if anything in this post offended you, feel free to leave me a scathing comment. I won’t refer to you as “butt-hurt” or anything like that, and I might even apologize! I’m just cool like that.