Mea Culpa Ad Nauseum

To not own your opinion is slavery. You are a living, breathing and thinking individual. As an individual you should form opinions, and tenaciously own them. You should not let others dictate to you what you can, and cannot, believe…or say. In this age of political-correctness, free speech has given way to public censor. We are expected to tow the line, or keep our mouth shut. This is especially true of public figures. I am past sick and tired of celebrities apologizing for merely stating their opinion. If any public figure makes a politically-incorrect statement, within nanoseconds the social media gossip lines are inflamed with tirades calling them bigoted, hate-mongers. In this “connected world,” things like this can become viral within hours. What follows is the obligatory apology intended to quiet things down.

The problem is, it’s never enough. After making the statement, the offended party rarely lets up. No matter how heartfelt (and sappy, tearing-dripping) the apology appears, it will only be received as forced and perfunctory. The offender will never be forgiven, and will wear a badge of disgrace for the remainder of his sorry life. Further, he will enrage those who actually agree with him. It is a no-win maneuver, so why do it?

Gene Simmons Joins the Mea Culpa Club

Offended  by Rock StarAfter the recent suicide death of Robin Williams, an interview with KISS bassist Gene Simmons by songfacts.com surfaced. Immediately thereafter, Mötley Crüe bassist, Nikki Sixx, began a vitriolic attack via his radio show, and social media. It now appears the entire country is angry with Simmons. Several radio stations have stopped playing Kiss songs. The hashtag #BanGene is making the rounds on social media sites. It was so bad that Simmons closed his Twitter account. And all this after he apologized!

Let me begin by saying that I don’t care a flip what you think of Gene Simmons. Personally, I know little about him. I never watched “Family Jewels,” and was never nothing more than a casual listener of KISS music. I only wish to use him as an example of how insane this sort of thing can get. You see, the comments Simmons made were not even related to Robin Williams. The remarks were clipped from an interview which occurred a couple of weeks before the actor’s death. Here is the entire answer to the interviewers question:

Songfacts: Do you still get along with the original guys?

 

Gene: No, I don’t get along with anybody who’s a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: ‘The world is a harsh place.’ My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear f**k all about ‘the world is a harsh place.’ She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life,” he said. “And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say ‘I’m depressed, I live in Seattle,’ f**k you; then kill yourself. I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says ‘Jump’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, ‘That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to jump.’ Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the f**k up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd,” Simmons said. “By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, ‘I’m going to blow your f**kin’ head off.’ He’ll go, ‘Please don’t.’ It’s true. He’s not that insane.

 

Simmons was sober. He couldn’t take the Mel Gibson approach, and blame his comments on alcohol. He spoke his opinion, like it or not. You see, it doesn’t matter if you agree with Gene Simmons, or not. The man is entitled to his opinion. If not, “Freedom of Speech” means nothing. After the harsh feedback and requests for an apology, Simmons took to his Facebook page and said he was:

 

…wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made with without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression. I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression were certainly never my intention.”

 

Simmons was not alone, other public figures were attacked for their comments, like Shep Smith (Fox News) and Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes). All Bridges did was tweet the following: “It is a very selfish act you’re not thinking about your family your friends or your fans.” These two were labeled uneducated, thoughtless people. Wow!

Freedom of Speech vs. Censorship

Freedom of speech, as a legal right, is a modern thing. It has been said that “Democracy and freedom are nothing without free speech, whether you agree with it or not.” Well, we always hear the First Amendment quoted in discussions such as this. However, the First Amendment merely prohibits the making of any law that would abridge freedom of speech. It has nothing to do with painty-waisted, politically-correct public censorship.

Offended by free speechStifling free speech does not change attitudes, it merely prevents open opinion. Instead of believing in a right to free speech, these tender-eared sanitizers believe in a right to not be offended. As Robert D. Rayford put it, “We have become the United States of Offended.” I can hear it all now: I find your behavior offensive! I am offended by the Redskins name! I am deeply hurt by your comments! I take offense to your racist remarks! I am so insulted you think that way! You homophobe! You anti-Semitic! You pathetic misogynist! Finally, I am outraged over this John Cripps blog article!

As Don Henley sang, “All this whinin’, and cryin’, and pitchin’ a fit…Get over it!” Amen brutha!

In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the “Stone of Stumbling” and the “Rock of Offense” (1 Peter 2:8, Isaiah 8:14). He said a lot of things which people found offensive, and he would not be welcomed with open arms in the good ol’ USA today. He would be pressed hard to make public apologies for his statements. In fact, he would not be welcome into most churches in this country. So, why does the Bible elsewhere say we should not offend in word (James 3:2)? Part of the problem is the meaning of the word “offense.” In Modern English, the definition is more narrow than its original meaning. The sense is “striking against as to cause to stumble or fall.” It is intentional, done on purpose.

I think it boils down to this: “Be honest, always speak the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.” I say things people disagree with, and I write things on this blog that surely strikes a note of discord with some folks. I am merely communicating what I believe to be truth, and that which may be useful to some. I don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I believe I’ll go out and offend someone today!” But, in the course of the day, if I do offend someone by speaking the truth…then, I can’t help it. I am merely writing my opinion, not purposely striking out against someone with the intention of causing them to stumble, or fall.

It’s like the uproar over statements made by the Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson. He was asked questions in an interview, and answered them in accordance with his beliefs. Many in the homosexual community took offense, and the rants began. In a matter of hours, Robertson was suspended from the television show. That’s right, he was fired because he spoke his opinion and offended people! In this case, it seemed very clear Robertson was not purposely trying to offend anyone. He was stating his Christian belief, and the fact that he couldn’t understand why homosexual men would not desire women over their own gender.

If I disagree with someone, I would just like to state my point of view, not have someone fired, or socially ostracized! I hear still hear Don Henley singing that song…

Perpetual offense can be a sign of weakness. At least, the reaction to an offense often is. The offended make others feel scorned in order to make themselves appear superior. I am not saying all instances of feeling offended is weakness. However, I do believe those who are constantly offended show a character defect when they attempt to censor the opinions of others. Carlos Casteneda said, “Think about it: what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.”

There is a difference between feeling offended because someone deliberately, and personally, directed something toward you and disappointed because you feel like a comment was unwise or ill-timed. What’s amazing to me is the fact these people are the ones always preaching “tolerance.” But, instead of practicing the “tolerance” they preach, they work instead to wipe anything that offends them off the face of the earth.

CensorshipUSA Censorship Map

Our English word “censor” derives from the Latin word of the same name, which was an office of the Roman Empire from 443 BC to 22 BC. The Censor was responsible for such things as the census, public finances and the Regimen Morum, or keeping of the public morals. In their dreaded hands they held the power to exclude people from the list of citizens based on their judgment as to transgressions against law and custom. The latter is particularly disturbing since judgments were discretionary. It appears the Regimen Morum is making a return blacklisting the citizens.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin created a censorship agency with the Russian government known as the Glavit. At this point, we don’t have such a comparable governmental agency…we just let whiny groups handle it all. Consider this one. Victoria Secret held a fashion show in New York where the model, Karlie Kloss, was dressed in an American Indian headdress and fake buckskin bikini. Immediately, an apology demand went out by a group called Native Appropriations. Victoria Secret responded by apologizing and removing the “offensive” segment from their broadcasts and marketing materials. Even the model issued an apology via her Twitter account. This is going too far…

How does the “Land of the Free” stand up to other countries in censorship? Look closely at the map!

I’m Not Apologizing – The Real Man Scenario

Offended by movie starThe Mea Culpa Wall of Shame has many sad portraits. Some of the club alumni made their remarks while intoxicated. Others were made in private, then later exposed. Many, like the case of Gene Simmons, were made public with no visible intention of striking out against someone. Regardless, they all found it “necessary” to apologize and have their portrait hung on the “Mea Culpa Wall of Shame.” Watch the pathetic apologies of these celebrities: Mel Gibson, Paula Deen, And Trent Lott. Mel, William Wallace would never have done what you did. Paula, I know nothing of you…and I’m really glad of it. Trent, you had aspirations to be President, now you are a nobody.

Comes now Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family. He is interviewed by GQ Magazine and states some politically-incorrect remarks enraging the homosexual community. Now, it’s not important what you think of non-straight relationships. We are talking about free speech here. Further, the man was being interviewed and was obviously not striking out to cause someone to stumble, or fall. Thankfully, for the modicum of free speech left in this land, he did not apologize. In his post-interview statement, he maintained his position but added “he would not treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me.” Too bad the “offended” groups were not of that attitude.

What happened next? Robertson was suspended from the A & E TV show. Cracker Barrel removed all the Duck Dynasty products from their shelves. Did this cause Phil to recant and join the Mea Culpa Club? No, he stood his ground. A & E announced he would be allowed back on the show while filming resumes in January. As for Cracker Barrel…they got to join the club instead: “You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you.”

In closing, what do I know? I am only stating my opinions here, right? You may ask me to apologize for remarks made in this, or other blog articles. Let me save you the trouble…I won’t do it. Just go off, grab your blankee, suck your thumb, and wait for the next prospect…it ain’t happenin’ bro!