Have we become a society of people too easily offended?

Here’s some advice I read in the news paper recently. “ Don’t quote The Office without explaining the context”. From my recent experience even providing the context won’t stop some people being offended. I recently wrote an article on this web site about the reaction of some views to the karaoke scene in the  Gavin and Stacy Christmas special. My point was those complaining were ignoring the context and insisting some words should never be used because they were deeply offensive. 

My reason for writing the Gavin and Stacy piece was the criticism and censorship that followed a previous piece I wrote entitled “ A managers arrogance is one of the things that make them successful”. In this piece I quoted Mohammad Ali and it was his use of the N word that some people objected to. Again  ignoring the context which was Ali making fun of white supremacists who were prepared to pay large sums of money to see him fight in the hope he would be severely beaten, and inso doing we’re making him rich.

Following a complaint and at the request of the site moderators I removed the offensive word and replaced it with the first letter N. However I was contacted by the moderator again this time to say following “ more complaints” they were removing the whole sentence. I was disappointed but accepted the decision whilst suggesting that the policy was reviewed to take account of nuance and context rather than a blanket ban on prescribed words. I suggested that this might be a debate they could lead on this site.  

So far I have heard nothing. But I have been prompted  to raise the issue again following a piece in today’s Guardian by the comedian  Ramesh Ranganathan using a different example but asking the same question. Are we becoming a society were ,” people feel increasingly righteous about being offended”.

Blair Mcpherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

Security level: Public

More Blog Entries

Rogue Monkey

 “ If you want to change things you sometimes have to disrupt things.” Dame Sue Campbell...


It’s brutal, wrong and dangerous. It’s cheating but if you can get away with it, bending the...


Mark Bartlett 10 Months Ago - Edited

Hi Blair, I complained about your piece on "A managers arrogance is one of the things that make them successful". To be clear, I did not ignore the context.


Knowledgehub is a cross-sector online collaboration platform where members connect, discuss, exchange knowledge and develop initiatives to improve public services.


It's not a place for middle aged white dudes to use the N-word.