‘I Find That Offensive!’ – recommended by Patrik Schumacher · Mar 25

Book by Claire Fox - 'I Find That Offensive!' - front cover [bitebackpublishing.com]BOOK PROMO [by tweet]

‘I Find That Offensive!’ (Provocations Series)
By Claire Fox

When you hear that now ubiquitous phrase ‘I find that offensive’, you know you’re being told to shut up. While the terrible murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists demonstrated that those who offend can face the most brutal form of censorship, it also served only to intensify the pre-existing climate that dictates we all have to walk on eggshells to avoid saying anything offensive – or else.

Indeed, competitive offence-claiming is ratcheting up well beyond religious sensibilities. So, while Islamists and feminists may seem to have little in common, they are both united in demanding retribution in the form of bans, penalties and censorship of those who hurt their feelings.

But how did we become so thin-skinned? In ‘I Find That Offensive!’ Claire Fox addresses the possible causes of what is fast becoming known as ‘Generation Snowflake’ head-on (no ‘safe spaces’ here) in a call to toughen up, become more robust and make a virtue of the right to be offensive.

PROVOCATIONS is a groundbreaking new series of short polemics composed by some of the most intriguing voices in contemporary culture and edited by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Sharp, intelligent and controversial, Provocations provides insightful contributions to the most vital discussions in society today.

“An ambitious new series that tackles the controversy of the topics explored with a mixture of intelligence and forthright argument from some excellent writers.” — The Observer


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23 responses to “‘I Find That Offensive!’ – recommended by Patrik Schumacher · Mar 25

  1. Diane Yeldon

    No-one needs the ‘right to be offensive’ in order to exercise their freedom of expression PROVIDED no-one else tries to claim ‘the right not to be offended’. It’s the latter (spurious) claim which is the source of all the ‘political correctness’ folly. Dangerous folly because its first casualty is truth.

    • The taking of personal offence is valid. A person is offended if their personal morality is compromised. They have a right to speak up without the rejoinder ‘Can’t you take a joke?’. Humour at the expense of women is not anti PC backlash, it is misogyny. The standard objection is as explanation: “When you (action), I feel offended because (effect)”. The personal is political, Tilda said so on this very blogsite.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “The taking of personal offence is valid. A person is offended if their personal morality is compromised.” Is “personal morality” the only criterion? From my observations of practitioners of offencetaking culture this is true only if morality is stretched to include “my feelings and opinions on any topic”. Are there no limits to what this mobius band of “personal morality” encompasses and is it reasonable, or socially desirable, to ban all discourse that upsets anyone?

  2. Elizabeth

    I must read the book – the promo has hooked me.

  3. Elizabeth

    I’m very sure Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid’s business partner – ZHA Director and Senior Designer) promoted the publication on Twitter following what happened in reaction to his Facebook pronouncement on the Pritzker Architecture Prize going to Alejandro Aravena. But PC-ness is a theme he has contested for years.

    Just three of his recent entreaties:

    18 Mar 2014
    STOP political correctness in architecture

    10 Apr 2015
    In Defense of Stars and Icons

    14 Jan 2016
    The PC takeover of architecture is complete

  4. Kleinefeldmaus

    I think we need a bit more of the likes of Donald Trump – he doesn’t give a rat’s about personal offence – There that should put the cat amongst the pigeons for all you politically correct folk!

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    He’s ghastly, the thought of him becoming president is horrifying, the fact that so many US people support him is depressing. But in a way I like what he’s doing. In his arrogance or stupidity or defiance of PC he’s telling the world what he’s about. If they vote for him they have a fair idea what they’re getting.
    Not like what we had here in Dunedin. The honest man who addressed the meeting in the Town Hall, so articulate about the reasons the stadium must be opposed morphed into the Dave Cull we have as mayor today.
    And John Key (just like previous politicians) dismisses outcries about what is imposed on us by saying “we have a mandate” ie one day out of 3 years you voted for us and gave us carte blanche for the other 2years 364days. And you voted for us on the basis of “policies” carefully ordered, emphasised, or vague and only down the bottom of our policy in very small print, according to how much we wanted you to know what you were voting for.

    No, Trump does not worry me as much as the liars-by-omission, media-managed politicians that are the nicer but still treacherous norm.

  6. Kleinefeldmaus

    Just doing a drive by on this Sunday arvo – You don’t need to worry about old Trumpy – but he got you all going there for a bit!

  7. Kleinefeldmaus

    More seriously :
    I think and hope that Ted Cruz wins the nomination – and then goes on to win the presidency.

    If Cruz wins Wisconsin I think Trumpy wil be gone.

    The Telegraph: Why losing Wisconsin could cost Donald Trump the Republican nomination
    From Matt Lewis 2 APRIL 2016
    ….Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Ted Cruz (it is important to know that, in the span of four years, Mr Walker won three state-wide elections).

    Mr Trump responded to Mr Walker’s endorsement of Mr Cruz by attacking the governor for (get this) not raising taxes (Mr Trump argued that this contributed to the deficit).

    “The way Trump reacted to Walker’s endorsement, I just think is another solar flare of reaction by Trump that turns a lot of people off,” said Mr Davis.

    The attack was “almost weapons-grade stupid here in Wisconsin,” Mr Sykes said.

    Wisconsin reminds me of a proper, bookish private school and Mr Trump is a big, rude American bully swinging his arms around at random on the playground.

    Memo to Trump: You’re not in New York or Florida anymore.

    Matt K. Lewis is a Senior Contributor at the Daily Caller in Washington DC and the author of “Too Dumb to Fail.”

    {Link inserted. -Eds}

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  8. Elizabeth

    Grossly offensive! ;-)

    Garrick Tremain – 4 Apr 2016

  9. Um, yes? You are right, H, that personal morality is not the point. Hurting people is, I suggest. And why should those who object to the prevailing ‘free speech’ ethos be tarred with the epithet ‘P.C.’?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Why is “hurt feelings” glorified, a halo for sensitivity over and above the call of reason placed on the “victim’s” head? Why not develop the same ethos of resilience, toughness, being able to take some pain and still keep on going – as in marathons, football all codes, rock-climbing, netball and gardening?

  10. Diane Yeldon

    I wish the ‘prevailing free speech ethos’ was practised more. Over the last thirty years or so, New Zealanders seem to have lost the ability to engage in robust public debate focussed on the issues, not the personalities involved. This is true of both the media and individuals. Accusing someone of being offensive, with the implication that it’s deliberate because they are a mean and nasty person, is actually an ‘ad hominem’ attack, where the topic is changed to the supposedly bad character of the speaker, diverting attention from what they are saying. And a sneaky, passive-aggressive kind of attack too. The only real antidote for bad ideas is better ideas. I’m reminded of Voltaire’s very characteristically ‘Enlightment’ assertion: ‘I may disagree with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’ We still pay lip service to this ideal but the modern PC actual practice is : ‘I disgree with what you say so I will try to shame you into silence by calling you names like ‘racist’, ‘misogynist’ or ‘cultural elitist’.’

  11. Elizabeth

    More about the book I Find That Offensive! by Claire Fox via bookdepository.com

    ‘Offendees’ dismiss ‘sticks and stones might break your bones but words will never hurt me’ as an insensitive misunderstanding of the damage words can inflict on vulnerable individuals. But how did we become so thin-skinned?This book blames three culprits: official multiculturalism’s relativistic conflation of tolerance with positive ‘recognition’; narcissistic identity politics that proclaims the personal is political; and, finally, therapeutic educational interventions such as anti-bullying campaigns, through which the young are taught that psychological harm is interchangeable with physical violence.


    Product details
    Format: Hardback | 128 pages
    Dimensions: 111 x 178 x 16mm | 170g
    Publication date: 05 May 2016
    Publisher: Biteback Publishing
    Publication City/Country: London, United Kingdom
    Language: English
    ISBN10: 1849549818
    ISBN13: 9781849549813

    • Hype O'Thermia

      There is social “reward” for being offended now, equal to censure for anything that offends. This noxious duo have ratcheted their way up society’s dancers’ pole and I for one am sick of in-yer-face displays of their tender bits.
      IMO both need a swift kick up the jacksie followed by forcible administration of cement pills for one party and ejection from the gravy train for the other..

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Stuff.co.nz home page –
      photo of advt, picture of alien and the words “They’re coming… and when they arrive they’ll take the FAT ones first”

      underneath it is the link

      “Aliens ‘will take fat ones first’
      Gym blasted for body-shaming advert that suggests the overweight are primed for supernatural abduction.”

      There is no limit to the absurdities of dedicated offence-takers.

      Imaged added. -Eds

      2 shots at ALIEN humour - Home page [Stuff.co.nz 7.4.16] screenshot detail2 shots at ALIEN humour – Home page Stuff.co.nz 7.4.16
      [screenshot detail]

      Good Fun at this link.

  12. Gurglars

    Well if the boot was on the other foot, and you were taking an alien, why would you take a skinny one when you could get a fat one!

    See Joseph Heller

  13. Elizabeth

    Last updated 11:20, April 17 2016
    Stuff: Wicked Campers slogan outrage ‘won’t harm reputation’ + Video
    Wicked Campers has been pushing the boundaries but it’s unlikely to hurt business. The slogans on the company’s vans have been labelled offensive by the public, the Department of Conservation, guide books, councils and the Government. And in this latest round of controversy, the man behind Wicked Campers has decided not to front the media with an explanation or an apology.


    Last updated 11:35, April 16 2016
    Stuff: Wicked Campers slogan outrage continues, Mr Wicked nowhere to be seen + Video
    Thousands of Kiwis are calling for a ban on Wicked Campers offensive slogans, but the man behind the vans is nowhere to be found. Wicked Campers founder and owner John Webb has been silently defiant in the face of the latest uproar over his vans’ slogans. How is he getting away with it? Webb’s first Wicked-related companies were set up in the early noughties and the vans hit the roads in 2005.

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