2010-03-12 / On Second Thought

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

We need thick skin
By Mike Cox

Last month a British disc jockey got in trouble for playing a listener’s request. Steve Penk, who owns Revolution Radio and doubles as the morning DJ, received a request to play the Van Halen song “Jump” during his show. He complied, even though he knew the circumstances surrounding the request.

Morning traffic was stalled by a woman perched on a bridge outside Manchester. She was suicidal, and the police were trying to get her to walk down instead of jumping down. Lots of commuters were upset by the delay, and one called in frustration and asked for “Jump” to be played.

As you might expect, Penk is being roasted by anyone with access to a keyboard or microphone, even though the woman didn’t have a radio with her and could not have heard the song. She eventually jumped when negotiations failed, but her injuries were minor.

While no one wants to appear unfeeling toward our fellow humans, aren’t we taking this whole sensitivity thing a little too far? If the motorists had been crowding around the Manchester Bridge chanting for the young lady to jump, it would have been different. But to play a song on the radio that has nothing but a symbolic connection to the event is no more insensitive than watching Jersey Shore and making disparaging remarks about the Situation.

The city of Atlanta is also in trouble for using color to designate the MARTA trains. Several northeastern cities do this to make it easier to read and keep the tourists from ending up in a section of town not listed in the travel guides.

When Atlanta followed suit, they used yellow to designate the northeastern segment of the train. That is where the large Asian population has settled. Instant outrage and TV coverage resulted.

The city spent a lot of money to designate the train routes and doesn’t want to spend extra to redesign all this, just to keep from appearing insensitive to the folks from the Far East. I’m not Nostradamus but I can predict what will happen. No amount of money is too large to keep from traumatizing an oppressed segment of the population. The whole thing seems retarded.

Retarded itself came into vogue because idiot and imbecile were deemed too strong to describe folks. Now it‘s okay to use idiot but not retarded. How retarded is that.

In the last two weeks, Olympic athletes have been criticized for celebrating a hockey win by drinking beer and smoking cigars (women’s Canadian hockey), and letting a fan kiss a bronze medal while hanging low around his neck (men’s American half pipe).

I realize we are trying to build a perfect world here, but can’t we lower the expectations a little? It is really hard to keep from offending someone when everyone takes offense so easily. Most of us are not smart enough to understand everyone’s feelings. No offense intended.

Return to top