Lori Falce: No offense intended | TribLIVE.com
Lori Falce, Columnist

Lori Falce: No offense intended

Lori Falce
Warner Bros.
Bill Skarsgard stars as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “It: Chapter 2.”

I don’t mean to offend.

I try hard not to make people feel like I’m targeting them personally when I write. My goal is to make people think, not wince. I want to plant a seed and water it and see what grows, rather than have people close down and back up and not listen.

When people are offended, they get defensive. Walls go up. Ideas can’t get through. That’s not the plan.

But sometimes it seems like offense is the only thing that actually does take root, whether it was planted or not.

And so, I admit, I have offended more people than I would have thought possible.

Years ago, I offended what seemed to be the entire Jewish population of Pennsylvania when I wrote about pre-Lenten fire hall fish dinners in Centre County.

I once offended apparently all of the Penn State alumni when writing about their alma mater.

I have offended a friend with a pithy Facebook post about my son’s abysmal kindergarten handwriting grade.

I may have missed my calling as a radio shock jock, because it seems I am capable of offending almost anyone with scarcely any effort at all.

Or maybe that’s not it at all.

Maybe all of us need to work on what we choose to nurture and fertilize — letting the roots go deep and the stems grow tall — and what we choose to keep from sprouting.

I admit that I am just as likely to read into a statement and turn it into an attack. Believe me, when your work is out there every day for people to criticize openly, they seldom pass on the opportunity, and I have a writer’s natural inclination to spurn good advice and read the comment section. It’s not pretty.

But there are enough overt offenses out there. Do I really need to seek out what might be a passive-aggressive dig? Or would I be better off to pull those weeds before they take over?

This isn’t just a personal issue. It’s all over politics and popular culture. It isn’t a left or right thing. President Trump is as likely to react to a perceived slight as he is to tweet one. The world is full of snowflakes on all sides.

There are people who are upset about Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the balloon-bearing white-faced horror from Stephen King’s “It.” Are they upset that he lures children to their deaths? That he has a mouthful of razor teeth on occasion? That he is the personification of nightmares?

Nope. They’re upset that he’s not gay-friendly. Out Magazine called him “surprisingly anti-queer.” Well, OK.

When we have reached the point of wanting horror movie villains to tread lightly lest they offend us, we need to regroup.

We have to realize that sometimes what offends us motivates us to change things. I am offended by hatred and bigotry. I am offended by people who deliberately cause other people pain.

But I’m trying as hard to not be offended as I do to not offend. I think it’s a good rule of thumb.

No offense.

Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.