There was this woman in the 1850s. Mary Walker. She was raised in a family that valued education for women, despite half the world feeling it was unnecessary. As she grew into adulthood, she continued her education, becoming the first female MD in all of America. She was smart, she healed people and all she wanted to do was work her ass off.
Her medical practice failed to take off though, and when prompted, potential patients pointed out the fact that she wore pants and it was outrageous for a woman to wear pants. They were so offended by the act, they would have rather been treated by an inferior doctor.
The Civil War swept the country soon after this, and Mary barged her way into volunteering as a medic anywhere she could. She volunteered on battlefields and in hospitals in the South and in the North. She treated, cured, and comforted countless victims of war, but when asked to be hired as a surgeon for the army, she was turned down. Again… because pants.
Stubborn and determined, Mary fought the tide of outrage sweeping over her. Never once did she back down. She kept wearing her pants, kept treating soldiers for no reward, and kept demanding the desperate armed forces accept her generous offer to be a surgeon.
Finally, they saw past the pants. Finally, they were able to bottle up their outrage and offence for the good of the men on the battlefield. Finally, they let Mary, bloomers and all, use her skills to save the lives of husbands, fathers, sons, and friends.
Thanks to Mary, I haven’t worn a skirt or a dress in damned near six months. Her efforts had a positive effect on me, 150 years later. Women 150 years from now will look back still, and be thankful for what Mary did. Bloodlines of brave soldiers have carried on because Mary saved their lives. The good side won and slaves were freed, thanks in no small part to the medical personnel who braved the front lines like Mary.
Mary ignored the outrage. Mary walked through it her whole life with her nose in the air, unwilling to give it a single thought. She woke up every morning and put her pants on one leg at a time refusing to hear how offended everyone was. Mary went down in the history books. Mary made a difference.
All the outraged people that tried to slow her progress? Not so much. Their poor, pathetic tales of being offended didn’t make it to US History 101. Their names, their stories have all been lost in the dust because all they could muster was, “How dare she!”
Mary is celebrated. Those she offended are forgotten. That’s generally how it goes when you peddle nothing but hurt feelings and emotional injury.
Yesterday, I wrote a piece of satire that offended a couple of people because I compared a fellow writer to Joseph Goebbels.
While I will always apologize and admit wrongdoing when I’ve committed it, I’m afraid here, I have not.
I compared Frank Turek to one of the evilest men in history – and frankly, I thought this was obvious – because it’s a reminder that once we accept small discriminatory actions like putting the Star of David on Jewish owned businesses, or turning away the business of gay men and women, it can end in genocide, murder and torture.
Yes, I wrote it in satire. Yes, I tried to make you laugh. It had a very important purpose, though, as does most social satire.
A couple of days ago, my good friend Andy dropped this gorgeous tweet,
The man is as right as right gets. Satire is effective whether you get offended or not. Satire has been around since the dawn of civilization, and it’s not about to go away because you’re a little butthurt. Satire makes people think. Satire is a social commentary that may not be as considered if it’d been written up in a dry, wordy, monotonous piece. Satire has an important place in our world and it is valued.
When you read satire and become outraged and offended, we can safely conclude three very obvious things about you:
1. You don’t give a shit about the subject matter at hand.
Yesterday’s post was about equal treatment for citizens of a country that identifies itself as one of the freest. It was about taking care of your fellow human beings and avoiding going down the same path of hatred we did during slavery, apartheid, the Holocaust and multitudes of genocides that are still going on today. The fact that you can’t get past the reference to Hitler’s right-hand man, means you don’t give a fuck about people, their human rights or equality. You’d rather focus on the uncensored fucks and the lambasting of a hatemonger than hear the message that all men should be treated equally. You want to silence a message of equality, ultimately to feed your malformed outrage. Good for you, you’re going to be buried by history right next to Mary Walker’s would-be patients who died of tuberculosis before they found a doctor who had nuts in his pantaloons.
2. You’re self-involved.
You have your ideas regarding what is acceptable, and what is not, and you want the whole fucking world to bend to them. If I do? Then I offend the other guy. If I bend to him, then I offend the next outrage merchant in line. I bend to that guy? I offend the next fucker. We can keep going back in line along the queue of whiners until my blog posts are nothing but heart emojis. Even then, I’d offend someone, and you know it. Plus, what would that actually accomplish?
3. You think you’re morally superior to everyone else.
The act of being offended is performative when it's not combined with action.
Here’s a quick wake up call for you. When you cut down people who are actually doing real work to promote equality and save lives, while you sit safely behind your keyboard, you’re anything but morally superior.
When people like Frank Turek offend me, rather than marching down the street in an outrage parade, I fight back. I work as hard as I can the only way I know how, to make people see just how full of shit the man is. That happens to be with the written word and my dry, sarcastic sense of humour that has never changed and will never change.
Lest we forget, being offensive is a two-way street. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Goebbels- I mean Turek’s- writings, but he’s said shit like this:
Homosexual behaviour is destructive to the public welfare.
Homosexual behaviour leads to disease and early death.
Being gay is destructive and can be likened to alcoholism.
All lesbians have been sexually abused.
He also authored books called, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”, and “How same-sex marriage hurts everyone.”
So, you’re outraged that I compared Turek to a man whose levels of evil are only higher because his drew blood? If you’ll pardon my French, looney tunes… ahem… fuck you.
John Cusack once said,
He is correct. Imagine if I’d likened Frank Turek to “he who shan’t be named” like we’re fucking wizards at Hogwarts trying to rid the UK of a very nasally-challenged bad witch.
I will continue to offend any bigoted religious people I encounter and the more outraged you are, the harder I will try. I have already affected change in the world with my hard work and I certainly don’t plan on stopping now because some soon-forgotten, perpetually persecuted apologists don’t like being reminded that one time, way back when, there was a very bad man named Goebbels.