Written by G. Brookings

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What a relief! Thanks to the Obama administration, which classified the Fort Hood shootings a matter of "workplace violence" and not "terror," we now know the way forward when it comes to those fratricidal shootings of our troops in Afghanistan, which are obviously the same kind of preventable workplace violence. Clearly supervisors need to do a better job of counseling armed Afghans who may feel passed over for promotion or disrespected in meetings. There have been rumors, unconfirmed, that some insensitive speech may have contributed to these incidents, with one report of a soldier telling a campfire story of how his grandmother "knitted an Afghan." This was apparently misunderstood, with tragic consequences, underlining the importance of knowing how to say something in an opaque and sanitary way that avoids misunderstanding, or even actual understanding. This is why Obama wisely reserves the word "terror" for election season and uses it sparingly and also why democrats have evolved the sanitary phrase "women's health care" to describe a preference for legal abortions and free birth control, rather than say bluntly and offensively that they support legal abortions and birth control.

Happily, Obama and his administration have branched out and put this exquisite sensitivity to work in the area of film also. The President, his Secretary of State, press Secretary and the UN Ambassador, to name only a few, took enormous pains to alert the entire world to the feelings of disgust and revulsion they felt for an obscure amateur video drifting in the vast sea of Internet silliness. This was done with impressive speed and timeliness, in as much as any Muslims who were not aware of the offensive film or had not seen it were quickly alerted to its provocative nature and able to vent their anger. I applaud the President and urge him to remain on the alert for other offensive materials whether in books, poems, film or political satire, particularly if it such material involves attractive young women in a state of undress. Such filth offends all religions and therefore may merit a higher degree of attention on his part.

This hope is not, I think, too farfetched, busy as the President is getting reelected. Being easily offended seems to come naturally to him and he will not require much study or practice. He has informed political opponents on more than one occasion that he finds their remarks offensive. It is not a fault I think to have a President so easily roused to righteous anger and indignation. The President's death stare and the opprobrium he casts on his enemies will minimize future distracting allegations of cover-ups or incompetence and also ensure -- a personal peeve -- that July 4'th celebrations do not go overboard with praise of America as a special nation, which is probably offensive to other nations and their people, who also want to be special.

My fondest hope is that offensive language and videos will find themselves ultimately lumped with so-called "hate speech" and be appropriately penalized as that film maker was, dragged out of his home on national television, humiliated and exposed to attacks by haters like himself. Dante Aligheri could not have devised a better punishment. Like tax reform, which aims to become more effective by simplifying the number of brackets and rules, reform of speech regulations would be aided by a small broadening of the definition of hate speech. In addition to stigmatizing those words and phrases that are already on the official government list of hate speech, we could add any offensive speech that causes you to hate the speaker. I would call these hate-me words. By this broader and more logical definition, Obama could have had Romney arrested and jailed for the many offensive things he has said, saving us a great deal of time and expense in conducting the election. At the very least, future presidential debates would be far more civil and respectful with the language police standing by, ready to apply the cuffs and a muzzle the offender whenever the death stare lights up at a hate-me word like "Benghazi."

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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