Saturday, March 15, 2014

Offending Adoptees, a Defence, and a Theory Confirmed - Part 1

I'm no monster (really!)

Some thought that I would be shocked by how much people disliked my previous post, however, I have been blogging for a while now and even when I talk about fluffy things and buttercups I find that someone is always offended.  So when I squared-up against the adoptee community, I was more than aware I'd be putting myself in the same league as child snatchers and puppy stranglers.  I don't set out to offend people, and I guess I am sorry if I do, but honesty and freedom or expression, for me, take precedent.

There were many misunderstandings of what I wrote and I must accept some of the blame for this and perhaps I was a little too confrontational and the blog post read like a bit of a rant.  I am just sick and tired of 'offense', I feel saturated with it everywhere, it destroys honesty in argument and a good deal of fun.

#1.  You don't care about the situation, how can you possibly understand enough to criticise?

The point I was trying to make (which I was a bit clumsy about in the original post, I'll admit) is that before this fuss occurred I had spent precisely zero hours worrying about how difficult things must be for adoptees. Everyday, I care more about what's for lunch at my school and have more concern for how hungry I am. That makes me sound like a monster, doesn't it?  But unless you are actually an adoptee yourself, I am pretty sure that my prior concern for adoptees is the norm in most people.  So, in my mind the excessive reaction by non-adoptees looked a bit odd.  If it is any consolation, the reading I have done now about the adoption issue in Korea, because of all of this, has enlightened me to the difficulties they face. Of course, I would never have been for infringing on any of their rights anyway, I simply don't think SNL Korea did infringe on their rights or encourage others to do so.

Not everyone who went ballistic about SNL's sketch was an adoptee, so I do have my suspicions it is ego and the warm feeling of moral superiority that motivates the the non-adoptees to join in with the outrage.

How can I criticise?  I will include my reasons in point 2.

#2.  How can you comment on a group of people - and say they are overreacting - who find themselves at the butt of a joke, without out having experienced their situation?

I don't need to understand how adoptees feel or to know everything about them to criticise their reaction.  I never said they had no right to be offended or that they shouldn't be upset, just that the outrage was not necessary or appropriate, it was the excessive nature of the reaction I was criticising (perhaps I should have made this clearer).  The logic of this is clear when you go to an extreme example, like the reaction to a Danish newspaper publishing a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed (and the more current Jesus and Mo cartoon controversy in the UK). You don't have to be a Muslim to have a valid criticism about the reaction of some Muslims to these cases.

To make this crystal clear, consider this line in a comment I received:

Anon: "And no, I don't know much about your life, nor am I interested in who you are, what you do, what you think."

Firstly, they are obviously interested in what I think or they wouldn't have replied to me, and he/she did write exceptionally long multiple replies too.  But they judged my opinion without knowing anything about me. Were they wrong to do that?  By most people's logic they were, not by mine, she/he is perfectly entitled to criticise me.

How can I justify myself?  Every one has the right to be offended, but they don't have a right not to be offended.  When it comes to comedy, as I pointed out, a range of people in all sorts of vulnerable or sensitive positions are made fun of.  I don't see anything special about adoptees.  This is a principle I live my life by and one I have written about many times and read-up on quite a lot.  I don't need to fully understand the adoptee position to be against their reaction because of this.

If the response to SNL's sketch was just some letters explaining the offense taken by the adoptee community, then fine.  The ball would then have been in SNL's court as to how to react.  If they had issued an apology in this case, you then know it would have been genuine as well.  What the general outrage and overreaction created was pressure.  Now we will never know whether the program makers were genuinely sorry or whether they are just watching their own backs and cursing the adoptee community in silence.

In fact, I see an overreaction of the kind seen against the sketch as being far more likely to encourage prejudice than the comedy.  Just put yourself in the head of some idiot who really would make an adoptee's life difficult, are they more likely to have their prejudices enhanced by a short comedy skit that they probably might not even had seen, had it not been for the reaction, or by seeing the mass outrage and rebelling against it?  I would argue the latter is far more likely.

The reaction to the SNL Korea sketch, by far too many, was not a balanced, reasonable one and if people wanted to go about proving my point about the overreaction to the skit, the commenters on this blog, went about it in just the right way.  Here are some examples (anonymous contributers, unless stated, and I apologise for the profanities, I did not write them, but feel it is valuable to show them):

 Burndog: "You're peddling cheap click bait. I'm outraged about this fake outrage is just a sad attempt to gain clicks as a sideshow to the original car crash. It's pathetic mate."
 "You have this terrible way of disagreeing with people that is totally fucking ridiculous. How about you show us your fucking balls, and take each point that Shannon made and actually respond to each one? Like she did with your post. How about you try a reasonable fucking discussion rather than your typical ignorant fucking tripe"
This same person got all upset and supported a guy in his outrage when I said he was "Fooling himself" and "Misrepresenting me" the other week for (specifically) a comment he made.  The outrage of this statement went on for days.  But when he accuses me of blatant dishonesty, that's fine in his eyes - and he doesn't see any hypocrisy - because I don't agree with him and it's him saying it not me.  Seems this guy's principles to and fro depending on what is beneficial to his arguments and who he likes and dislikes  He even had the cheek to call me a hypocrite!

In the second part of the comment, he is referring to a comment I made by mistake because I followed the link given and thought it was just a reblog of his blog (if you go to both links [here and here] you might understand why I made this error), which I had already read, so I didn't read the link posted in my comments section.  I have read the piece now and I am responding to it in this post and more specifically in the next. Nice to see he didn't overreact or anything though, eh? The misunderstanding exposed what kind of guy he is, I think (see his post on his blog too! and his full comments in my comments section).  Anyway, here are some more revealing comments:
 "you have NOOOO right to talk about this"
So I have no right to an opinion?
 "just because you stuck your dick in a korean and married her doesn't mean you know shit about korea or korean people."
 "Korean adoptees, I suggest we ignore this guy because he is talking through his ass and hasn't the intellect to realise it. I suggest we just make jokes about him getting 'arse-raped' by his Korean wife with a kitchen implement whilst she yells, "British humour isn't funny, you get it!” [shove] “Anniyo funny!” [shove] “Stupid yeong-gook!” [shove] [canned laughter, he cries] [shove, he cries some more] "I love you honey, let's never be parted!" he cries. [schmaltzy music] [shove, he cries]"
"I think it would be hilarious to watch a comedy where he was tormented and his most vulnerable moments of natural anguish were exposed to me so that I could get a great laugh. Then, his life would be of value on this earth. Come on, Chris, whadja think? Oh, wait, we don't need your permission or your opinion. I would be so much more ENTERTAINED if your emotions were raw, real, and you were cornered. That'd be FUNNY! The more true suffering you experience, well, you know, a bundle of laughs for ME!"
No overreactions there then either, eh?  They were pretty entertaining though, I must say.

The last comment is trying to teach me a lesson by trying to say that the SNL sketch is comparable to what they are saying about me.  I don't think the two situations are at all analogous as no specific person was tormented on SNL Korea and as I said in the original post, I don't think it was the intention of SNL Korea to directly insult adoptees.  But again, it is another example of obvious overreaction.

The reaction that most confirmed what I was saying, however, came after this comment by a guy named Eric:
Eric: I've read your post and the various responses to it. Just wanted to say that you're totally entitled to your opinion. In terms of the logic of the things you're saying, it's really just all over the place, isn't it? Really too many absurdities to bear mentioning. 
Anyway, do you understand why people are reacting the way they are to your post? You've done a really excellent job of extolling your qualifications for being such a good sport when you're the butt of the joke, your commitment to cultural objectivity, and your knowledge of modern comedy. Then with all your accolades you say people who are offended shouldn't be. That's, like, totally not nice. You have mentioned at length that measuring overreaction is a difficult concept, but it would be plain naive of you to think that people might not get offended when something like this airs and then posts it on social media (it seems you're pining for the days when people really BELIEVED in their outrages and they came on paper and men were men and women were women). If your intention was to be deliberately hurtful then you achieved it, but I fear you think you've uncovered some modern truth. Anyway, intelligent readers here will be taking your opinion with a large grain of salt (you're uninformed and from the country in the world best as self-deprecation) so I wouldn't worry about their ire too much.

So summarize for me what your opinion on the matter is. It seems to me if you had something valuable to say it wouldn't need all the qualifications to stand on its own. Are you just outrage weary? 
Frankly, I agree with you. People do get offended too easily. It makes me sad when one of my outrage-junkie friends pops up on my newsfeed, both for the friend, and for the things that are going untalked about that are likely worse(?). I rather understand you moreso given the reactions in these comments above. They're uh, not well-measured for the most part. I doubt some of them even understand why they're offended, but that makes their offense no less real.
What an excellent comment and an example of how to conduct yourself when you disagree with someone. Now I disagreed with much of what he said, obviously, but this is how to criticise someone.  The interesting thing was he received a response of disgust to this comment, here it is:

Do you have ANY experience or insight with being adopted from Korea. If not, then keep your judgements to yourself about whether someone else's offense is valid or not, someone who KNOWS and has lived the experience. 
Chris wrote a lengthy invalidation of people's offense over a topic and experience he admits to knowing very little about, and insults them by saying that he wasn't entertained. You're right, he's not nice and he's self-righteous, judgmental, arrogant, and ignorant. Very typical, like you.

Now, I thought he was against me mainly and on the other side of the argument, but it seems even the most minor agreement with me is a subject for an overreaction and outrage.  Here is what Eric said in reply and it turned out he was an adoptee too (oops!):

Eric: @Anonymous... sigh... actually I am an adoptee. A typical one to be sure. I feel like on the internet it's the penultimate insult to call someone typical. I think, and I'm sure Christopher thinks that you've helped prove his point in your response. Is my opinion valid... now? In any case sorry for deviating. I know you're a shiny starlike beacon of hope and individuality in a sky of dead black bigotry, so I apologize to you and the community for... what? Disagreeing? Did I? Not sure. Anyway, I beg you shine on.

Yep, I do think Anon helped prove my point for me.

More in part 2.


  1. I find it amazing that you didn't notice Eric's comment was DRIPPING with sarcasm.

    1. I can see the bit where he says that I will think it as proof of my point as sarcasm, but I think the rest was pretty damning on her response to him.

      I find it amazing you can't see that.

    2. are you adopted?

    3. Is this a serious question? I'm not being rude, but you did read the post, right?

  2. An Open Letter to Pissy Clissy No-Co

    1. Yes, because when I give my opinion I am really nasty about it aren't I? I swear and curse and insult, no wait, that's what you do. The difference between arguing and shouting nonsense outrage is in the manner with which you put across your ideas. If lots of people had been writing sensible criticism of why SNL's comedy skit was poor, then fine, but it was the profane manner in which it was done, that creates fear in giving honest opinions. This is what you do very well, and I, to be frank don't consider you to be capable of serious dialogue on any subject.

      I address quoted questions in part 2 (Shannon's post), in fact it is already done, I just didn't want one super-long post.

      Talking of irony, so ironic that you heavily criticise me for not replying to Shannon's piece and before I can post it (and stated I would be more specifically commenting on it in this blog in part 2) criticise me for writing about this topic too much. You can't have it both ways.

      Who's freedom of speech am I denying? Weird comment, I have continually said that people can be upset, and can disagree with me, in fact I invite it. Why I claimed the reaction was over the top was because I saw countless people of your writing style polluting facebook pages and articles, kicking up a fuss over absolutely nothing and people all nodding their heads in agreement. there were few dissenters and they were chastised, just like I have in an often pretty horrible way. I can take it, but many can't and I see this scenario played out on bigger stages very often with important news stories.

      "Everyone else has moved on, and now your standing in your pants screaming at everyone to please stop being so outraged! They’ve stopped already."

      You haven't moved on have you? Just ignore me, that is the best policy, every foul mouthed post you blog further validates what I say. I like to argue, it is a good subject for argument, so I write about it. If people stop commenting and telling me to respond, I'll stop posting about it.

      Finally, while I only partly quoted you in the article, I encouraged people to look at our full discussion and linked to your blog post with your whole quote in it. If I did full quotes all the time the post would be too long, that is pretty obvious.

      Just take a step back, I see how non-emotionally I respond to you. I do my best to be respectful, perhaps sometimes I fail, but I don't do too bad considering the vitriol I receive from you. You supported Robert the other week when I said something orders of magnitude less insulting than what you say to me on a regular basis. How can you not see there is a problem with taking you seriously? I'm trying, should I stop? I know you wanna have a laugh but I sense that you are gravely offended by me and want at least some level of serious debate.

    2. all the back and forth....

      why don't you two just make a time, and sort this out in a boxing ring, instead pretending to be civil and there is really no hard feelings?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. The next post will be my last on the subject because you're right, people aren't interested now.

      Though I didn't directly quote Shannon's blog in this blog, I think I did deal with her criticism about how I could say what I did without caring or without actually being an adoptee or knowing much about it, however. That was the major point of the first bit of her blog post and many people said the same as her so I thought I'd take that point in a general summation. In part 2, I will be more specific to her.

      Sorry about using your name, just kinda forgot about that. At least I didn't say your second name, I guess. Noted for future.