The majority of Druids are not easy people to offend. It goes with being a tolerant, generous, warm hearted, open minded lot. I irritate fundamentalists, but that’s okay because I’ve long felt that fundamentalist pagans are a bit embarrassing, so it’s entirely mutual. There are people I set out to offend, though: people I think it’s important to tackle head on, deflate, and otherwise make life difficult for. In no particular order…
People who don’t think. Now, I have every sympathy for people whose minds are impaired in any way, and absolute patience with anyone who needs time, support, encouragement. That’s a whole different issue. I’m talking about people who have brains that could work, but who avoid using them. People who act and speak without thinking and then expect their ‘spontaneity’ to be accepted as an excuse for the god-awful mistakes they make.
Abusers. I don’t care what your justification is, if you bully, control, dominate, harass, denigrate, and otherwise make life miserable for other people, I am out to offend you. If you think it’s okay to demean, humiliate, and ridicule, you’d better be willing to accept what you dish out because this, as far as I’m concerned, is what Druid satire was made for. Frequently politicians fall into this category, but I’m by no means restricting myself to that community. I find abuse in all forms repellent and disgusting, and I want to see a culture shift towards intolerance on this one. It isn’t funny, or clever, or anything to be proud of. Abuse is shameful, and abusers need to learn compassion. I’m thinking about animal abuse and planet abuse here, too.
Control freaks. Arguably a subset of the abuse category, people who feel the need to hold power over others, to be important, dictate rules, to deny and restrict the freedoms of others, to have their prejudices made into law. All of that. If it’s not impacting you directly, what does it matter how other people choose to live? I’m intolerant of intolerance, with all due irony. Think it if you must, but keep it to yourself. Everyone’s entitled to think what they please, but we are not all entitled to bash each other on the basis of irrational beliefs. If you want to righteously bash someone, why not look at the abusers for a more productive selection of potential victims?
Why? Am I just another troll who has found a particularly satisfying kind of target? I hope not. I do it because I want to cause change. I want to be the grit in the oyster shell that leads to a pearl. If I can’t inspire people into changing, I might at least be able to irritate them into thinking. If nothing else, while they’re venting their ire on me, maybe they aren’t going after some gentler soul.
The tragedy of it is that the worst kind of nastiness out there comes from people who are afraid. They fear what will happen if *anyone* is allowed in. They fear that if they are not in control, terrible things will happen. All of the talk about rules, standards, and exclusivity are there to uphold some kind of myth in which the world is not quite such a big, scary and unpredictable place. Fear does terrible things to people. It makes us lash out when we aren’t even being threatened. It makes us cling so tightly to things and people that we accidentally crush them. It sucks all the joy out of life. So, let me offend you. The world will not end. Nations will not fall. You will survive. You may have to think, but it won’t kill you. Then perhaps you can get over the terror, and let go enough to live a bit more.
In the meantime, here’s a book that is going to irritate the hell out of a few people, while this one is sure to upset everyone who thinks that children should only be given cute little stories about harmless fluffy things.