Every time I read national news, someone is offended by something. In recent weeks many things that honestly I’ve never thought about have been attacked. The latest shot fired came Tuesday when PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tweeted that people need to stop using “anti-animal” phrases such as “bring home the bacon,” or “kill two birds with one stone.”
The group says the sayings are “vestiges of speciesism” and should be replaced with kinder variations on the theme. They even provided a chart that offered “feed two birds with one scone” and “bring home the bagels.” Are you part of an experiment? You can’t “be a guinea pig” anymore. Sorry, that’s rude of you. Now you have to “be a test tube.”
Everyone who knows me knows that I have a house full of pets. As a matter of fact, my three cats and German shepherd may be a tiny bit spoiled. In other words, I love my little zoo. But despite owning three cats, I’ve used the phrase, “more than one way to skin a cat.” I joke about “bringing home the bacon” or other animal food references. I’m sure I’ve “taken the bull by the horns” or even “beat a dead horse.”
I guess people just want me to keep my mouth shut because I’m getting older and I grew up on these sayings. Sure, language has changed since the Stone Age, or the Age of Aquarius, but there are so many much bigger problems we need to tackle than whether “bringing home the bacon” is offensive.
And since “curiosity killed the cat,” you’ll know I’m “barking up the wrong tree” if I try to explain my feelings to many.
Speaking of feelings, it appears many people’s feelings are now hurt when they watch the 1964 children’s classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Last week, the Huffington Post changed the way we look at the “seriously problematic” holiday classic.
Who knew that the movie that I thought inspired those of us who are different that we have value and that if we work hard we can accomplish something, was a “parable on racism and homophobia?” According to the Huff Post article, Santa is abusive and bigoted. Poor Rudolph does suffer some verbal abuse, but he overcomes it and saves the day for Santa.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a radio station in my home state of Ohio removed the old time Christmas song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because it is “inappropriate.”
WDOK in Cleveland apparently got some complaints about the song. Yeah, ok, in essence the song is about a man using the weather as an excuse to get a woman to stay over. I get that. The song, written in a different era (1944), may not have been written the same way in 2018, but folks, it’s 70-plus years old. I get frustrated that people try to impart 2000s wisdom on 1940s and ‘50s songs.
No, I’m not at all making light of the #metoo movement. As a matter of fact, sexual assault is serious. I’ve had female friends who were raped or kidnapped. But if you’re going to hold a 1944 song to today’s standards, then what about the rap songs that talked about abusing women or killing cops?
I think we’re in an era of selective offense. One side or the other is always “offended.”
I guess I’m offensive to just about everyone if this is the case. Heck, I read the Bible … that’s offensive. I’m a journalist … that’s offensive. I have a gun … that’s offensive. And don’t tell PETA, but I like bacon and I have pets. I’m sure both are offensive to someone. I could go on and on.
But instead of finding the bad or the offensive in people, let’s find the common ground. Last weekend in Columbia was proof of what can happen when people work together. Many of these people have different backgrounds or come from different socio-economic statuses. They’re different religions, different races, different education levels, different political beliefs and on and on. The one thing they shared was a desire to be a part of something special and celebrate Christmas together. If we all stopped being offended and started being part of the solution, maybe the world would be a better place. n
Mark Rogers is managing editor of The Columbian-Progress. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (601) 736-2611.