Images of frenzied people chanting “USA!USA!” in the States following the death of The World’s Most Bearded Man bear an uncanny resemblance to the scenes of hysterical flag burning so often witnessed in the Middle East, and all too often held up as evidence of the region’s uncivilised populus.
A few days later, in an article in The Guardian, an American girl claimed the shots of jubilant crowds whooping and hollering at Ground Zero were “offensive to me as a Muslim”. Why do people find it so hard to just be offended? Why do we find it so difficult to be simply offended as human beings?
I went to collect my youngest from school a while ago, and was collared by an anxious parent who informed me that her son and mine had been betting during the after-school club. I was already aware of this, as my son had told me enthusiastically that the other child, having recently discovered the joys of gambling, was prepared to take a bet on the outcome of pretty much any scenario my son- or indeed anyone at the club, kids and staff alike- could come up with. The anxious parent scrutinised me carefully whilst relating the news, then said-“It’s particularly bad for me because ……I’m a Quaker”.
How awful I felt. Whilst I, as a non-Quaker, was simply grateful if my own child managed to return home each day without having injected crack into his eyeballs, she was going through the extra agony of experiencing the situation with much higher moral standards. In the spirit of her much vaunted values, I guess I should have told her the truth, but I simply didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was her own beloved Quaker-ish offspring that had instigated proceedings. I should, though, at the very least, have told her to put a tenner on him being in serious financial diificulties by the time he left secondary school.