Over the weekend I saw a story online about a little boy in a karate class who defended a little girl who he thought was being beaten up by the instructor. It was one of those heartwarming stories that we all need to see in our continuous news cycle of death, mayhem and corruption. My heart was warmed.
Until I read the comments section.
Before I go any further, there are two things that you need to know about the comments section. First, never read it. Nothing good can come out of reading the comments section. It’s basically the bathroom wall of the Internet. Misguided people write whatever they want there, they have no idea what they’re saying and they would never have the guts to actually say what they are writing in public. Don’t read the comments section.
Second, if you put up a picture on the Internet of a pretty flower with a delicate butterfly fluttering around it, within about twenty minutes someone would leave a comment about how your picture shows insensitivity to the people of Peru where butterflies are endangered and flowers are the number one carrier of the deadly Vuma disease. Someone else would just go to all caps to tell you that you are, “AN IGNORANT (insert your race here) WHO IS THE REASON WHY THE WORLD IS AS BAD AS IT IS.”
The heartwarming video of the boy defending a girl was no exception. Three days later I’m still kicking myself for being stupid enough to read the comments. Why couldn’t I just watch the story and move on? Maybe one day I’ll learn.
The first few comments were what you would expect. People said that they were glad to see a boy taking up for a girl. Grandmotherly types talked wrote about how cute the boy is and how their grandson would do the same thing. And then the fools came out to play.
One woman asked why everyone was celebrating the fact that a young boy assumed that a girl could not take care of herself. Wasn’t this really just a microagression? Wasn’t he saying that the girl was weak and aren’t we all just celebrating sexism by cheering for what they young man did?
I wish I was making this up.
And then the cop haters joined in. One lamented the fact that the boy in the karate uniform would probably grow up to wear a different kind of uniform. A police uniform. And he would hide behind it to kill black people.
Again, I really wish this was all just some sort of joke. Maybe it is but we’re just not laughing because we’re afraid that we might offend someone.
We have forgotten how to have fun in this country. Everything is a political issue. Everything that you enjoy is due to the fact that your privilege allowed you to take that joy from someone else.
Do we have a national motto? I’m not sure. If we don’t and we’d like to be honest with it, we should have one that says, “America: We’re All Victims, Especially Me.” And while we’re at it, can we go ahead and change our national pastime from baseball to being offended? It’s what we do to pass the time.
And boy are we good at it.
So instead of going someplace else when some baker doesn’t want to make a cake for their gay wedding, people file a complaint with some government office none of the rest of us even knew existed and sue that couple back to the days of Fred Flintstone. That’s because just going to the next store wouldn’t make enough noise.
If we’re really honest, the perpetually offended in this country only care about making noise. Well, that and making money or, at the very least, making sure that other people don’t get to make money. And believe me, there is a lot of money to be made and taken away in the never-ending game of being offended.
Hopefully enough of us can get together and resist what has become the new cool table in our culture’s high school cafeteria – the offended table. Let’s be different. Let’s not use someone’s picture of pizza on social media as an opportunity to remind that person of how many cows were killed in the making of that cheese that he’s about to consume. And no, I’m not making that up either. If you happen to be a vegan, that’s great! Just don’t stand in the middle of the street to keep the rest of us from going to Chick-fil-a.
And let’s refuse to use a karate class for toddlers as our sounding board for all that is wrong in society. Let’s just smile and move on when we see a heart-warming video about a boy who thinks his friend is in trouble and is willing to do what he can to help her out.
Otherwise, if you’re not careful, your heart will never be warmed. No amount of cute kitten videos, funny karate mishaps or great meals with friends will ever warm your heart once that heart has become too hard.
So I guess what I’m really trying to say is this. Lighten up, America. There are a lot of offensive things in the world. But there are a lot things that really aren’t that offensive. They’re meant to be enjoyed, not exploited. Stop getting the two confused. When you do come across something offensive, just keep moving. Ignore it. Go some place else. Save your crusade for a real need, something other than broadcasting your Savior complex.
There is a lot of anger in this world. Some of that anger is legitimate. But much of that anger is simply the result of people forgetting how to enjoy life. And in the absence of that happiness, they find what they think is a suitable replacement.
And, not to be too offensive or anything, it’s really ruining things for the rest of us.