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Author Topic: Definitions
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 16:18      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Can someone be annoyed by something without being offended by it? What exactly does it mean to be offended? And with so many sensibilities in this world, how does one avoid being offensive or offending anyone? And do those two terms even mean the same thing?

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Posts: 3851 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 17:07      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
Can someone be annoyed by something without being offended by it? What exactly does it mean to be offended? And with so many sensibilities in this world, how does one avoid being offensive or offending anyone? And do those two terms even mean the same thing?

1) Yes. See below.
2) Being offended means that you are both hurt and pissed off. Being annoyed is more or less synonymous with being simply pissed off. Being annoyed can escalate to being offended depending on what happens after you bring your annoyance to the attention of who/whatever is being annoying. We've all had roommates. You can draw some case studies from there.
3) You don't. But you can keep offensiveness to a minimum by being aware of who and what is around you, and it is wise to avoid being flat-out stupid (ie, wearing a KKK outfit to a NAACP meeting, or a swastika to a bar mitzvah or Gay Pride parade, or a hammer and sickle to a meeting of investment bankers).
4) No. Being offensive is an attempt. Offending someone is a success.

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Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
spungo
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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 17:13      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah. What she said. Also, doesn't offence imply intent, whereas annoyance may be entirely inadvertent, or something...

it's too hot for me to think straight... my mind is all bent.

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Posts: 6530 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 17:28      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, Xanth. Your explanations were very clear. [Smile]

(And thanks for the vote of confidence for Xanth's definitions, Spungo!)

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 17:44      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Err... this isn't in relation to some other goings-on here, is it? I don't want to be implicated in some underhand swipe. (It's just not Cricket, you know.) [Confused]

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Posts: 6530 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 18:23      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No, I was just curious. It's something HR is touchy about at work, but I've never heard a good explanation/definition.

Hearing the word used to describe me on these forums didn't fit correctly because I didn't THINK I was offended, but then maybe I didn't know what it meant to be offended. The videos HR made us watch didn't really help to explain it, so I figured I'd ask on here while I was thinking about it.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 27, 2007 18:44      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, in practice, causing, receiving, and expressing offense are tricky, slippery things. You may end up offending someone without any intention to do so because they interpet your actions or words wrong. This may be due to a cultural difference, some bad experience the offended one had in the past, a random bug up that person's butt, or maybe they're just delusional (although usually it's one of the first two on the list). Someone may also assume that something will offend you due to various stereotypes about various groups, or based on your past expressed beliefs and behavior, or maybe because that something has offended people similar to you in the past (for example, people who have had vegetarians flip out at them because they dared to eat meat in front of the vegetarian will ask me if I mind...and my answer is invariably no). It is also possible to be joking around with someone and have another person completely univolved in your conversation to get offended, sometimes even on you or your buddy's behalf! It's a horrible mess to sort through, and it can be deadly to creative acts, such as writing or painting or filming because part of creation is shoving bits and pieces of life into everyone's face, and depending on what bits and pieces you pick to shove, you WILL offend someone. There is no way around it, unless you water your work down to the point of soullessness (why do you think the paintings in hotel rooms are so boring?). Even if you can't see how your work would be offensive, someone else will. Maybe you don't use enough religious symbolism, or use the wrong religious symbolism. Maybe you use a four-letter word. Maybe you dare to be realistic, or dare to be fantastic. Maybe you're too sympathetic to a philosophy or person someone else doesn't like. It goes on and on. I saw a book somewhere describing how Harry Potter is sexist (????). So when you're being creative, decide how much fire you're willing to draw and don't be surprised when it comes.

Dealing with people is a bit easier - exercise common sense and err on the side of caution when dealing with people. If you're concerned, it never hurts to politely ask.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged


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