CMV: Language can only be "bad" if it is personally offensive.

I can choose my roommates.

It isn't a perfect analogy. But the point is that there are important differences between spaces owned in common and spaces that genuinely don't belong to anyone. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you've already accepted that.

I disagree that offense is never a rational decision.

Me too. That's why I was very careful to specify exactly what I meant by "offended." You obviously understood that, because you said this:

You're right in that her gut reaction cannot be "wrong".

Yeah, I know.

Often a bit of rational thinking is all one really needs to grow out of needlessly being offended.

Really? Okay. Let's see if it works on people who are offended by the fact that other people are offended by their behavior.

Using polite language in public is a way of signalling to the people around you that you see them, respect them, and care at least a little bit about them. Most adult human beings understand and accept that without complaint. It's like saying "excuse me" when you bump into someone, or holding the door open for the person walking in just behind you.

When you choose to disregard those rules, you send the opposite message. You signal that you just cannot be bothered to acknowledge the fact that you're among others, in a place where well-established social conventions govern the way people relate to each other. That is the core of what causes the average person to be offended by loud, unrestrained public profanity: the fact that it's strongly indicative of the attitude that for all you care, the people around you might as well not exist at all.


...seriously? Do you think that's an appropriate description of what we're talking about here?

Curse words are impolite. That's what makes them curse words. Recognizing that they are impolite is not "censorship."

I think that in a shared space I can tolerate someone kissing in public or speaking a different language or wearing a head scarf or flailing their arms involuntarily or not shaving their body hair, etc, etc, and they can tolerate my language preferences - because none of these things are more than slightly discomfiting.

People do tolerate it. They'll think you're being rude, but they generally won't attack you or call the cops on you or anything.

It seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too. You're already allowed to curse in public. But if you're going to insist on behaving in a way that is socially inappropriate almost by definition, you've got no right to complain when strangers are offended and friends are embarrassed. Those are the consequences.

What you consider "extraordinarily easy" I do not. Ever heard the term, "walking on glass"? It's that feeling of constantly having to watch your words and behavior so as not to offend someone. It's not easy at all. It's a chronic tension which different people experience to varying degrees according to the company they keep. I've spent, and spend, a lot of my life suppressing things, keeping things quiet, "staying in the closet", so to speak. I've peaked - I'm exhausted by it. I'm ready to be my authentic self, damn the consequences...

Christ, get over yourself. We're talking about swearing in public. Children do it all the time. People who swear in public are not some brutally oppressed minority. They're rude, and people might sometimes give them dirty looks, but I'm sure your foulmouthed "authentic self" has the fortitude to survive that heroic ordeal.

And I don't think that the way I dress, or the language I use, or the people I love, or the gods that I do or do not pray to, invalidate my good actions or character. But that's a judgement call that people must make, individually.

I just don't even know how to respond to this. I'm more or less convinced at this point that nothing will change your view except your successful completion of puberty.

/r/changemyview Thread