Flat White

Forget safe spaces, here’s a new solution for the offended

13 December 2017

6:46 AM

13 December 2017

6:46 AM

We hear a lot about the need for safe spaces these days. In this article I discuss another type of space for which I believe there is a huge market. I’m talking about the need for ‘offence spaces.’ Or if you want something that sounds more catchy and rhymes, then how about ‘offence tents’? An offence tent would not be a literal tent, but simply a place where someone in need of their daily offence fix could get it. And as the number of people who need to feel offended each day is growing, I see this to be the way of the future.

There are many people out there who make it their mission to be offended every day. They thrive on offence; it is their oxygen. “To be offended, is to feel important” and that is exactly why the snowflakes, offenderati, whinger ninjas, and victim brigade are forever looking to be offended – it helps them feel important. To cater to the market, we could have offence tents in the workplace, universities, major shopping centres, or even at rest spots on highways, enabling drivers to pull over for their offence fix.

The details are yet to be worked out, but I envisage that offence tents would contain a computer screen with a set of menu options for the various types of triggers for the offence one may like. So for example, if race is your preferred trigger for offence, then there would be a menu option for race which would provide access to images and audio that could be interpreted as racist. It could be something as simple as the nursery rhyme, like ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ or the image of an adorable golliwog doll. The opportunities for offence are endless. There could even be a Benny Hill menu option. With the festive season here, Christmas carols could be the trigger of choice. The beauty of using a computerised system is that it can be updated regularly, as the assumed causes for offence are growing daily.

Now you might be thinking that offence tents only encourage people to play the victim role. Well, they do, but there is an upside. Within each offence tent, users could pay $5 for five minutes of offence time. After $20, there could be a 50 per cent discount. The money generated (and I predict that it would be millions each month) could then be used to help people who are experiencing real problems, like the homeless, unemployed, or the sick.

Another advantage of the offence tents idea is that it could save time and money in the workplace. So for example, consider the case where someone in the office claims that he has been offended (that is, emotionally damaged) because someone told a joke on a ‘sensitive’ topic. A complaint is made, mediators are called in, the local current affairs TV crew shows up, there is lost productivity, the threat of suing, and more. With an offence tent, all this could be avoided. The snowflake (and most workplaces have snowflakes) could easily use the offence tent to get his daily offence fix, spend say, maybe an hour sulking, then return to work. He would do this instead of having to misconstrue a colleague’s action to give it an offensive spin.

I think that offence tents would be ideally suited to urban settings, as it is more common for people who have access to modern services, fresh food, and clean water (in other words, people with a good standard of living) who are most likely to want to take offence. Those people with real problems, typically don’t look for excuses to be offended, as they are often busy enough just getting on with life.

Now there is a problem with the concept of offence tents, but I’ve thought of a solution for it. Taking offence (and offence is always taken, never given) is pointless unless you have someone to see that you are offended. The offended need audiences. So maybe, those who have taken their dose of offence in the offence tent, could wear a sign around their heads which says: “I’ve been offended”? Then all would see that they have been offended and offer their pity.

So in sum, the concept of offence tents serves the demands of those in need of offence and prevents the fallout which the rest of society pay the price for. It’s not a perfect solution. There will always be some who will never be satisfied unless they are taking someone else to court and leading a public crusade to ban some word perceived as damaging, or make some change that further restricts what the public can think or do. But for now, it is the best option available, and I will take offence at anyone who disagrees.

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