Trying to Be Offensive
In my early years, I did not have a lot of self-esteem and it took a lot of effort to reach my present level of confidence. What does this really mean? I manned up, became outgoing, talked to people, made mistakes, gained my voice, dated girls and formed my own opinions.
Looking back on my life, around my mid-twenties, I reached the zenith of this effort. What is the overall difference between 10-year-old Bill and 25-year-old Bill? The most significant change is he became more confident. What is confidence? One could argue that confidence is managing and encouraging offensive behavior. “I am right; you are wrong.” “You overcharge me.” “This is the way we are going to do things.” Young Bill would have never uttered such bold statements.
Is it wrong to be offensive? In this modern age, people need to push back, or society will squish them. Is the term “You overcharge me” offensive? Let’s take a review from the receiving perspective. An angry customer is complaining. While the tone may be pleasant, the negative intent is clear.
In my mid-twenties, I recall thinking about this very topic. I actively chose to put more negative emotions into my life. Even now, I view this uncomplimentary change as positive. Why? I needed to grow up, and I would not have gone far in life without this negative change.
From my mid-twenties on into middle age, I mellowed out. Life is too short to be upset about the little things. I am now a family man who is raising a wonderful daughter. This new person regrets some of his past arrogance and now tries to be a pleasant upstanding individual.
That is, until I start writing. In my past blogs, I revealed that timid books do not gain attention. Stories must be larger than life, unrealistic and controversial. Does this mean they are offensive? Some people are going to be offended, no matter what happens. However, a bold story requires genuinely offensive elements.
On the far end of the scale is a light romantic story with a timid hand-holding scene. “They briefly grasped hands to share their love.” Not too steamy. Yet, this simple statement could be considered radically offensive. “How dare you expose my children to public displays of affection!” A valid concern. Why? We must remember that not everybody can handle raw emotion, and people have different values. For example, the Amish certainly would not approve of affectionate public displays. Side note. How are Amish babies made? Some private hand holding must be going on.
My works contain murder, torture, intimate scenes, and underage relationships. I have already offended four people. Is this bad? I feel terrible about offending those people. Did I intend to make them upset? Of course not. I meant to write exciting books that people enjoy.
Many people go out of their way to act offensively, and they are clearly aware of their actions. For example, the television show South Park tries to be offensive in every episode. Their depiction of Barbra Streisand had a particularly mean streak.
I find it difficult to overcome my good nature and write (potentially) offensive scenes. When creating such works, I take great care to use minimal sex and gore. Besides, I explain their offensive action and, if appropriate show how their morals were corrupted and how society dealt with their horrific acts.
Let us not forget that life is offensive. Earth has (and will have) wars, famine, slavery, brutality, crime, corruption, bad parents, and inequality. Refusing to write or read about these real (offensive) topics cause people not to learn from past mistakes. For example, it is not a good idea to let a dictator take over a county. Why? [Insert your own fact-filled genocide description here.] That’s why.
Writing about offensive topics has always been entertaining. Take the movie Saving Private Ryan with Tom Hanks. The story is set in WWII (an event that really happened.) This fictional movie depicts real facts and then piles on a fictional story with more death. What did I think about that movie? I enjoyed every scene. However, my Uncle Al chose not to watch this movie.
Let’s examine that concept. My late Uncle Al was a big tough guy who saw lots of action in the Vietnam War. Why would a strong person like him get offended by a trivial movie? The answer does not matter. Al had the right to decide what hurt him. Would he recommend not making such movies? Probably not. He was well aware of what movies are popular and why people like them.
What do I say to the people I offended? I can only say that I am sorry. Should I keep apologizing? Should I stop writing? Should I only write fluffy good material? I simply need to deal with adverse reactions better. However, I know the difficulties of writing. On many occasions, I have wanted to give up. I choose to move forward with the knowledge that I will offend people. Dang, that is a hard pill to swallow.
What I need to keep in mind is that my works have also made people happy. I read many great reviews and encountered terrific people along the way. While this has been a 30% frustrating experience, it has also been a 70% positive one. Now, I need to concentrate on making it 71% positive.
You’re the best -Bill
May 06, 2020
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