Christine Flowers, 11/30/2015 [Archive]

Age of Offense Reaches New Low

By Christine Flowers

Growing up in a world where irony and humor are practically banned by governmental fiat is a dangerous thing. It turns healthy human beings into all-purpose victims. I can't really just blame kids for being narcissistic twinkles. Someone, my generation in fact, had to raise them to be so thin-skinned they could rent themselves out as mucous membranes.

With that said, let me tell you about a university in Canada where they've decided to eliminate yoga from the curriculum.

At the University of Ottawa, a teacher of yoga classes to predominantly disabled students was informed in an email that her services - provided on a pro bono basis - were no longer necessary.

The reason? "Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures . . . they are being taken from. Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga."

The day that yoga becomes culturally offensive is the day that Mr. Rogers becomes a metrosexual icon. In other words, anyone who has a problem with Westerners (or rather, 21st-century colonialists) teaching yoga classes to disabled students - for free! - is a real pain in the asana.

This is up there with women on campus carrying around mattresses because they want the world to take their complaints about sexual abuse seriously (because toting a Serta through the cafeteria line is exactly the way to avoid ridicule). This is up there with complaining about red Starbucks cups at Christmas. This is up there with Ivy League students being told what Halloween costumes they can wear so as not to offend indigenous zombies. This is right up there with a white guy going on a hunger strike until the University of Kansas instituted "mandatory, intense" racial re-education workshops for students. And yes, this is up there with allowing a same-sex couple to throw a legally compensated hissy fit because one particular baker out of the hundreds of thousands of millions in the world would not serve up a wedding cake.

I would like to think that these things are so ridiculous that most people laugh when they hear about them, but that's not the case. In fact, if you laugh, you are accused of cultural insensitivity, racial bias, misogyny, anti-Semitism and whatever else fits into the lexicon of the loons. And using the term "loon" will probably also open you up to attacks from mental health groups, so forget I used it, please (not that I'm accusing you of having any kind of memory disorder).

I suppose the best way to deal with this troubling inability to remove ourselves from the center of everyone else's universe is to just roll with it. That way, the agida is kept to a minimum.

From now on, I am going to put people on notice they cannot use any words that end in "vowels" around me because I self-identify as Italian and I find that offensive. And I am going to ask them not to reference potatoes in my presence because even though I self-identify as Italian, I have ancestors who came from Ireland and the image of that grubby little tuber triggers in me the horrors of the famine.

And because I'm Catholic, I will get a temporary restraining order against anyone who uses catheters, because I'm offended that the name of my faith has been appropriated by a medical product that gets stuck in someone's bladder.

Now, where did I put that mattress?

——-

©2015 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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