At work some youngsters (21 to 24) were insulted because somebody put a photo of somebody else’s baby on their Facebook page. It was insulting because it was not a third party’s baby instead. Being a clueless old white guy I couldn’t understand where the insult was.
“You don’t know the whole story,” one said.
“No, from my experience even if I knew the whole story I still wouldn’t understand because I’m pretty much immune to insult. But I’m viewing this as an anthropologist trying to understand some foreign culture.” For what it’s worth, they didn’t seem insulted by the analogy, but they didn’t explain the baby picture insult.
Is it a cultural thing, or am I too old and bored with bullshit to care about what other people care about? Two of the women are black and gleefully “ghetto” (their term) and the third is solidly middleclass of Mexican and Cuban background. I am of various Central and Western European nationalities and I suppose I was raised with middle- and upper-middleclass tendencies, but I was the fat outsider all through childhood and grew up with a chip on my shoulder. That is gone and I think as I aged I have simply become imperious, with people who might be insulting me beneath my notice and contempt. But I know many adults who still carry those chips and I wonder why. Aren’t they bored with trying to impress losers? Aren’t they tired of the near-fistfights in the WalMart parking lot over something totally stupid? Wouldn’t their lives go more smoothly if they weren’t so quick to be offended? What is so valuable about respect?