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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Griper Blade: Poor, Poor Sarah Palin

Palin scowlsOne thing I've believed for a long time is something I believe is obvious -- you don't get to decide what other people find offensive. If you say something and someone is insulted by it, then the wisest thing to do is explain that you didn't put that very well, apologize, and move on. It's a pretty simple concept. Even in cases where you believe you're right, just drop it and move on. Maybe you didn't mean it the way it was taken, maybe you meant it exactly that way, but are surprised the other person found it so offensive, maybe they're completely misunderstanding what you said -- whatever, doesn't matter. Apologize and move on. If you get bogged down in an argument over whether there's any cause for offense, you're going to lose the thread of your conversation and get stuck arguing about an issue that simply isn't the point. Needless to say, this is less than constructive. If you unintentionally hurt someone's feelings, apologize and let it go, because -- no matter what it was you meant to say -- those hurt feelings are real.

The right has never gotten this. When they say something that's offensive, they often stick to their guns and argue that you have no right to take offense. You see it all the time. What should've been a simple, momentary distraction becomes an issue all its own. And, as all of these tertiary distractions snowball, Republicans suddenly find themselves on the defensive, fighting battles that have absolutely nothing to do with the original point. No wonder conservatives make a deliberate effort to stay on message and all recite exactly the same words -- get them to wing it for a second and everything goes spiraling completely out of control, as they skirmish over idiotic trivia like word-choice. It's like a political version of adult ADD.

The latest example of this is Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel" to explain that she's been the real victim in the Tucson shooting incident. When some took offense at the term, the smart thing to do would have been to say, "Blogger Glenn Reynolds used that term and I thought it sounded nifty! That's what it means? Yikes! I sure didn't mean that!"...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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