The title of Jonathan Swift’s satirical piece, “A Modest Proposal,” would never be accepted in America today. “Modest,” of course, is a rape-culture encouraging word, and “proposal” brings up the oh-so-hotly debated issue of marriage equality. Mention one of these words to anyone with a brain, and you’ll end up with an argument on your hands. The argument will usually end in tears.
Don’t believe me? Look around you, and you’ll see people hurting every day:
- A girl sobbing violently when her friends hint that she acted a little too promiscuously at a party the night before. How dare those friends judge?
- A boy screaming at passersby after being told that he really should not quit his day job in favor of singing. They have no right to say those things about his greatest passion!
- A man punching his office wall the day his boss gives him some pointers to do better on his next presentation. He can’t try to change his employees!
- A woman ranting to her best friend after overhearing a woman speaking negatively about abortion. It is all the stranger’s fault that this woman is ridden with guilt.
- A girlfriend crying out, “Are you saying I’m fat?!” when her boyfriend asks if she wants ice cream with her cake.
The inhumanity of it all is astounding.
Do these innocent Americans deserve this kind of intense pain? How dare these offenders say what they know may end up causing offense! They act like they can say whatever they want!
But no longer. Americans should know by now that anything can be taken the wrong way, as a personal attack on someone else’s character. Yet people continue to say things left and right that wound the feelings of others. It’s as if they don’t care about their personal responsibility for the rest of the world’s feelings! It’s time we put a stop to this madness. Clearly, Americans are not capable of controlling themselves and their hateful speech. It is our responsibility to help these people who clearly cannot be trusted to take command of their own damage-inflicting vocabularies.
As an expert in the field of being offended, I present for your consideration, the solution, using Swift’s genius format (however ironically offensive his title may have been): my proposed List of Official Approved and Endorsed Words, Sayings, and Phrases for Public Use™*. (However, do pay close attention to a person’s aura before beginning a conversation. Depending on how receptive they appear, it may be best not to speak at all. You must be sure.)
Official Approved and Endorsed Words, Sayings, and Phrases for Public Use:
- Greetings. (Not “hi,” lest it be confused with “high” if accidentally said to a drug addict. Also not “hello” because it contains “hell,” which could offend both religious believers and atheists who disavow the notion entirely.)
- I consumed water this morning. (Do not use the words “drank” or “ate” or any form thereof; this could offend an alcoholic or someone struggling with an eating disorder. Do not name any specific foods or beverages, in case your conversation partner doesn’t like said food or beverage. The individual might even be vegetarian, vegan, or suffering from an uncommon allergy, and use of the word could violate their dietary restrictions and kill them.**)
- What a day. (Do not describe the day as “nice” or “rainy,” etc., because your conversation partner may not be having a nice day, or may assume that by pointing out the precipitation, you’re really pointing out that you’ve noticed how frizzy their hair is. Or, if they have no hair, you may only be reminding of their bare scalp with condescension because it cannot be frizzy at all. Even mentioning “day” is risky, as some people may be nocturnal. Check for signs of nocturnal behaviors first: pale, translucent skin, red eyes, frequent yawning if awake during daylight, aversion to garlic, etc.)
- Yes. (It is impolite to disagree, ever.)
- I am a human. (Describing yourself in any other specific way can be offensive. If you tell someone you’re happy, it is like saying they are depressed. If you say you are a man or woman, you uphold the injustice of societally-mandated gender roles and defy gender neutrality. You monster. If you say you’re a doctor, they might think you’re putting yourself above them, flaunting your advanced medical knowledge or financial status. (Even if someone is dying in public, it is better to be safe than sorry; you must never yell “I’m a doctor!”))
- That’s a color. (Do not mention specific colors; they all bring up different feelings and images for different people. You never know who might hear blue and think “homophobia,” hear pink and “communist,” or hear orange and think “racism.” For this reason, it is also advisable to avoid wearing colors unless all colors are present, forming the unanimously-loved LGBTIQTHSJ rainbow***.)
- Wow. (But only in response to other Officially Endorsed Words and Phrases. And don’t get too specific. Just say it and move on.)
- I admire you****. (“Love” is too complicated, too big of a commitment, and way too controversial (“Same Love,” anyone?) Besides, who really knows its meaning anyway? Sidenote: if you say this one to one person, you must say it to everyone.)
- Any profane expletives (Where would the English language be without America’s favorite three-, four-, and five-letter words? Realistically, these must stay, as a distinguishing mark of true civilized society.)
- Hey, I’m not judging. (This must be spoken at least once***** in every conversation. Thou shalt not judge.)
- The church is wrong, and Christians are hateful. (Only really intolerant people are offended by this, and who cares about them anyway?)
Other Allowable Words: (in case you need a little variety)
- So (Only as a conversation transition, or in instances such as “I’m so not judging.” The word “so” may carry no meaning as to increase the feeling of the following word in description of something else.)
- Puppies (unless your conversation partner favors cats, or fish, or ferrets, or snakes…go ahead and check their house for pets****** before venturing into this territory. What is a broken window or two compared to the reassurance that you won’t pick an animal that isn’t their absolute favorite*******?)
By using only these phrases, conversations will never be offensive again, and the world will be a much more loving place. My plan is simple and easily enforced. If life is scripted, then no one can mess it up, especially when the penalty for messing it up is jail time. Just picture the first day of this implemented plan: the streets empty of all those who would hurt us. We will have no one to fear. No judgment. Absolute Utopia.
Isn’t that what we want?
Coming soon: Official Approved and Endorsed Actions, Gestures, and Hairstyles
* Not actually trademarked.
**Will likely not actually kill them. But we can’t be too careful with that sort of thing.
*** Colors must be in the correct order and equally represented. Official Rainbow clothing items can be obtained from new government stores, coming soon to your area.
**** If you say this to one person, you must say it to everyone in the name of equality.
***** by each participant
****** If they don’t have a pet, there is probably a reason. They may absolutely hate all animals, or have been mauled by a pet in the past, so don’t even go there.
******* If they have multiple pets of different types, you have a little more freedom. You may mention all the animals, provided that they are all mentioned an equal number of times throughout the conversation. As much as we don’t want to offend another person, it wouldn’t do to offend one of their animals either.