Did I Offend You?

Posted by Phil Whitaker on August 15, 2013 under How | Be the First to Comment

[Editor's note: While originally published a little more than a year ago, this article seems to be appropriate in view of the recent attempts to stifle the free expression of a rodeo cowboy.  We have the choice to submit to this verbal tyranny or to resist and speak the truth.]

The chief diversity officer (we really have one of those) in the US State Department published an article in State Magazine warning readers that some commonly used phrases might be offensive to audiences.

John Robinson suggests that ‘Hold the fort” might offend Native Americans. What if the fort is in Europe? There are a lot of famous ones there. Even if one accepts his reasoning, does the vernacular usage of a phrase mandate continuance of whatever etymological prejudice spawned it? For example, according to Robinson, “rule of thumb” was originally used to gauge acceptability of bruises left on a woman by her husband. Its been some time since America outlawed wife beating. Is there anyone who now connects the “rule of thumb” to spousal abuse?

After reading the comments and spending a good deal of time pondering the vagaries of his verbiage, I feel compelled to say something to Mr. Robinson.

Bite your tongue (on wait, that might offend epileptics)

Hold your horses (possibly offensive to antiphilipaphiles?)

Hold your taters (my mom always used this one, but maybe she we belittling the Irish)

Cease and desist (too militaristic)

86 that (oops, can’t offend the octogenarians among us)

Oh well, I suppose we will have to leave Mr. Robinson’s words as they are.

Words do carry meaning. According to Jesus, what we say reflects the true intent of our heart. That being said, I for one remain perplexed by the linguistic gymnastics of government bureaucracy in their attempt to not offend even the tiniest of minorities; when they seem to have no compunction regarding the blasphemous belching belittling and berating believers simply because they dare to bow before a benevolent benefactor and speak the name of God.

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