Thursday, 11 February 2016
At the same time, I do think a lot of people are getting absurdly thin-skinned to real or imagined slights, permanently irate at this or that supposed verbal outrage, unable to shrug their shoulders, wonder at the speaker's clumsiness or cluelessness and move on.
Maybe it's because I'm pretty impervious to insults myself that I see others as over-sensitive, but even so, I'm amazed at what seems to be one storm in a teacup after another.
A Northern Ireland politician is alleged to have said he was "scared out of his wits" when compared to First Minister Arlene Foster. He's also alleged to have said "I'm brilliant with women under the age of eight and great with those over the age of 80 - it's the ones in between I can't cope with."
This has caused a huge row, with two official complaints by other parties, another politician saying he showed contempt for women, and a flurry of abusive comments on social media.
But someone else defended him, saying "He was not offensive to anybody, he was having a go at himself."
Precisely. To my mind, he's simply saying he has problems relating to women. Hardly outrageous, and hardly rampant misogyny. It's not exactly unusual for men to have problems relating to women. It's also not unusual for women to have problems relating to men. So why such a ridiculous fuss?
I'm all for appropriate censure over genuine, clear-cut insults. But on many occasions somewhat ambiguous comments are taken out of context, given unintended meanings, and treated with self-righteous grandiosity, when the most sensible response would be "Who cares? What does it matter?"
Surely we're all grown up enough to take a few iffy remarks on the chin, not get our nappies in a knot but just get on with our lives?