A Liberal Speaks: Why Should I Care If You’re Offended If You Offend Me?

 

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Dear Matt Walsh,

I have to admit, I don’t really know who you are. You are one among many angry voices of Christian conservatism nowadays, and as I’m not a Christian conservative, I don’t tend to keep track of you all. Your message is pretty much the same: hate, hate, and more hate for everyone who doesn’t believe what you believe, or act how you want them to act, or live how you want them to live. I’m not sure how that encourages people to support your movement or your religion, but hey, other groups have recruited by uniting people in hatred, so why not you?

I did want to bring up a Facebook post of yours that came to my attention. Apparently, you were offended the other evening by an episode of the TV show “Scandal.” You write that “many people have informed me that last night the show depicted a woman having an abortion.” Then you go on to describe how the main character has the procedure while “Silent Night” is playing in the background. Then later she has a glass of wine by her Christmas tree and looks “satisfied and content.” It would strengthen your argument a lot if you’d actually gone to the trouble of watching the episode yourself. “Many people” may not have accurately described to you the moment in question. I’m not a regular watcher of “Scandal,” but I did happen to catch this episode, and if you gave me the names of your sources I think we could have a productive discussion about what really happened during that scene. I, for example, don’t think she was looking satisfied or content in the slightest.  But this blog post isn’t really about analyzing a TV moment, so never mind.

What I wanted to talk about was your offense over the moment–your feeling that (as you write) “THIS IS OPEN ADVOCACY OF CHILD MURDER ON A MAJOR NETWORK” and (perhaps) your outrage that a beloved Christmas carol is playing in the background as the abortion is taking place. Believe it or not, I can see how such a scene would be profoundly offensive to you. You believe that abortion is child murder. I don’t, but I support your right to that belief. You’re offended not only by seeing an abortion being performed on TV, but also by hearing a song from your own Christian canon linked to an offensive image. You may even believe that the scene was an implicit attack on you. (I don’t believe it was intended that way, but I will admit it’s open to debate, and whether or not the intent was to offend doesn’t make a difference, anyway. But never mind that either.)

So right now, I’m empathizing with your position. You, Matt Walsh, represent a religion that finds abortion offensive–an abomination, in fact–and a popular TV show has just dramatized an abortion scene with a Christian soundtrack. Yes, that seems pretty offensive.

Here’s the problem, though: for decades upon decades in this country, the Christian conservative movement has been saying and doing things that are personally offensive to me, my family, my friends, and the beliefs that I hold dear. I happen to be a liberal. You are the folks who have helped make “liberal” into a dirty word. You fling the most bilious, contempt-filled, rage-inducing language my direction every day, and you don’t even know who I am. You probably didn’t guess that I might see your point about the “Scandal” scene, did you? And yet you wrote me off long ago and attack me continuously, I guess because you think I’m your enemy.

Did you ever bother to ask me if I consider you my enemy? No, I didn’t think so.

Now you might be ready to tell me, “You liberals started this!” You might be ready to ask, “Where’s your proof?” I’m not going to get into a debate about who started what. That’s the sort of thing that children do, not mature adults. But as far as proof goes, I don’t need to go anywhere outside of your own web site to find examples of that. In fact, Matt Walsh, I don’t even have to read the content of your posts to be offended by your statements. Your headlines are plenty offensive: “With The ‘Transgender’ Movement, Liberalism Has Finally Descended Into Total Madness”; “If You Don’t Want Your Kids to Be ‘Assaulted’ by the Cops, Teach Them to Respect Authority”; “Planned Parenthood Murders Children — None of Their Other ‘Services’ Matter”; “Democrats Are Godless Heathen Tyrant Maniacs Because That’s What Voters Want”; “#ShoutYourAbortion Proves That Modern Liberalism Is A Satanic Death Cult.”

I could go on, but my hand is already aching from copy-and-paste strain. Also, I’m pretty sure you don’t care that you’ve offended me. You think I’m a despicable minority, that America is on your side and my voice doesn’t matter. But I think that the response to your own call for a boycott ought to be enough to disprove that belief.

So far I haven’t seen a big groundswell for boycotting “Scandal.” You want to know why I think that is? I think you inadvertently hit the nail on the head in your own remarks. In your Facebook post, you speak of the “humongous media corporations” like ABC, which airs “Scandal,”  and you claim that you and your fellow Christian conservatives make up the main demographic group that keeps these corporations afloat. “If we didn’t support them, they wouldn’t exist,” you say. Really? Because from what I’m seeing, you’ve only gotten the attention of entertainment journalists who like to comment on people’s reactions to TV shows. Hell, you say yourself that you don’t even watch “Scandal.” Should ABC think that other people like you are watching? Of course not! You can’t boycott a show you don’t even watch, so why should ABC listen to your grievances? 

ABC’s in business to make money. You, Matt Walsh, don’t matter to ABC’s bottom line. Christian conservatives do NOT support corporations like ABC.

Do you know what that makes you, Matt Walsh, and your fellow Christian conservatives?

It makes you a minority.

You may be a vocal minority. You may even be an entertaining minority to a cynical political or entertainment reporter or two. But you’re a minority all the same.

And do you know what minorities need to affect change in America?

Allies. Particularly political allies who believe in the rights of minorities in this country.

Sadly, I think your chances of making allies out of us liberals are slim to none. I think you gave up that possibility 35 years ago when you decided to fling mud at us 24/7. You have nothing of value to offer me or any other liberal. So why should I care that you find one scene in one episode of a fictional TV show offensive? No laws have been broken. I wasn’t offended. So I ask you again: why should I care if you’re offended?

I’ll say that I do have some Christian conservative friends. I care about what they think and feel, because they care about what I think and feel. We are human beings to each other.

I am nothing to you, Matt Walsh, and so you are nothing to me.

 

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A Trick of the Light

Went for a walk this evening. I stepped out onto my porch and saw this on a house across the street:

photo 1

 

I took a picture and kept walking. Then I found more of these little reflections.

photo 2

They appeared on walls on both sides of the road.

photo 3

photo 5

I’ve lived in this neighborhood for twelve years. That’s the longest I’ve lived in one place since my family split up and finally went their separate ways. Twelve years of walks around the block, and I’ve never seen these lovely little lights before.

photo 4

I’m not sure how I missed them.

Shakespeare Is Everywhere: Batshit-Crazy–and Look, There’s Even a Bat in this Passage!–Joycean Edition

Don’t ask me what Joyce was thinking when he wrote this. I have no idea.

A side eye at my Hamlet hat. If I were suddenly naked here as I sit? I am not. Across the sands of all the world, followed by the sun’s flaming sword, to the west, trekking to evening lands. She trudges, schlepps, trains, drags, trascines her load. A tide westering, moondrawn, in her wake. Tides, myriadislanded, within her, blood not mine, oinopa ponton, a winedark sea. Behold the handmaid of the moon. In sleep the wet sign calls her hour, bids her rise. Bridebed, childbed, bed of death, ghostcandled. Omnis caro ad te veniet. He comes, pale vampire, through storm his eyes, his bat sails bloodying the sea, mouth to her mouth’s kiss.

–James Joyce, Ulysses