Oh No She Didn’t!

By Ida B. Torn


I come from a large family where the jabs and jibes come at a quick quip when we’re all together. There’s usually a lot of jiving going on, too (you can look that one up). People who are becoming part of the family learn pretty quickly to develop a thick skin and eventually realize that we’ve developed a sarcastic sort of love speak.

There are days when I wake up fearing that no matter what I say, or don’t say for that matter, I’m going to offend someone. I’m often at a loss for things to talk about at large functions because I have a hard time judging what might set someone off. I once considered having a t-shirt made that reads “I’m sorry, did my opinion offend you or was it the fact that I have one” but I feared that someone would be offended so I scrapped the idea.

My grandfather, who was one of the greatest influencers in my life, had a saying that he used often, “I will always love you, but I don’t always like you.” I think that would make a great Hallmark card! He and I sometimes found ourselves on opposite ends of a subject. Our discussions sometimes became heated, but never with malice. He taught me that having open, honest and meaningful conversations oftentimes means setting social norms aside.

I sometimes find it incredibly hard to be politically correct. What offends some doesn’t necessarily offend all. Sometimes, the only way to accomplish a goal is to say or do something politically incorrect. I decided that I much prefer the term “Politically Impolite” so I decided to research it. Believe it or not, there’s a research article on the subject. Published in 2001 in the journal Discourse & Society, the article discusses concepts of being politically impolite. The article is very scholarly and I had a hard time following it, but I did find this statement that seemed to prove my point, “The literature on ritual insults is well established, and a number of researchers remark on the ways in which the exchange of insults and abuse can be used to maintain or even create solidarity…”

For those who were offended by the title of my last article, I offer a sincere apology. For those who got the gist of it and even appreciated the fact that it is a double entendre, I extend my sincere thanks. For those who are diligently working to bring economic development to our beloved Parish, I say, “Stay thirsty, my friends!”