Patton Oswalt, Rolling Stone and the Easily Offended

A week ago Patton Oswalt tweeted a joke in response to the KTVU debacle of reporting fake names of the pilots of the Asiana flight that crashed.  Salon jumped in quickly to complain about Oswalt tweeting an offensive joke.  Oswalt’s response can be found here – http://www.pattonoswalt.com/index.cfm?page=spew&id=168  

I see two problems here. The first is that Salon felt the need to respond to Oswalt’s joke in the first place. Don’t like the joke? Fine, don’t laugh. Maybe even tweet back to him why you didn’t think it was funny. But post an article to bash him for it? Not necessary. The other problem is the Oswalt’s response to Salon. So, someone didn’t like your joke. So what? Respond to the article writer. Maybe make a few jokes about it(which he did). But turn it into a big, public battle and be offended by their offense? What’s the point?  Just disagree and move on.

After that came the story of the Rolling Stone cover photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the outcry of “How dare you put a killer on the cover of your magazine!” I have a few questions here:

1. Would you be offended if Time magazine had a cover with the same photo or is it just because it is an entertainment magazine?

2. Are you offended because he is not ugly? Is it easier to understand evil if evil is not someone that could be called attractive?

3. Did you read the article or are you just happy being offended without knowing the contents of the article?

4. Are you just as offended that they once had Charles Manson on the cover and ran a feature on OJ Simpson?

It just seems to me these days that we are always on the lookout for the next thing to take offense at. Are we only happy when we have something to complain about? Are we more easily offended than before?  Or does the internet just make it more apparent?

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