The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Offensive Is Subjective; We Should Not Pay Attention to Those Who Are Offended

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 965 times Debate No: 56775
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)




I'm looking for a serious opponent who will argue this topic. Please don't break this rule.

Pro (Me) will be arguing: Offensive is subjective and shouldn't be paid attention to in most situations. Con will be arguing against me.


2) First Arguments

3) Rebuttals/New Arguments

4) Rebuttals to the Rebuttals/Summary/NO New Arguments

No insults. No derogatory name calling.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I will be using an argument from my previous debate on this issue from which the contender withdrew from all rounds except for the acceptance round.

1) Humor

I often hear, "That is an offensive joke," and, "That's not something to joke about," being told to myself as well as others.

a) I'll start my argument with a great quote from Stephen Fry.

"It's very common now to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that,' as if it gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, and no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I'm offended by that.'Well, so ****ing what?"

There are many kinds of jokes that are considered offensive or taboo, including and involving: rape, racism, mental retardation/autism, death/murder, religion, and so on and so forth. People like to spout off that these jokes are objectively bad;as if they're physically hurting other people. Free speech is a basic human right,and it is not okay for someone to take a person's basic human right away to make yourself feel better about something.The people hearing the jokes choose their responses to these jokes, not the people that make the jokes. A joke being "offensive" is 100% contingent on someone's inaccurate subjective interpretation.

b) Something I've often heard is this: "As soon as the issue you're joking about becomes personal to you, it stops being funny." Not even remotely true,and one of the most idiotic statements I've ever heard in my entire life. IAMautistic, and I have known many autistic people, yet I still use the "Never Go Full Retard" meme from Tropic Thunder. I have also seen severely autistic and mentally challenged children, yet that meme still makes me laugh. I have dealt/been around those who have dealt with with sexual corruption, cancer, religious persecution, diseases, mental retardation, rape, murder, death, demonic beings, Hell, alcohol/drugs, and the like, yet ISTILLfind those sorts of jokes funny. Why? Because humor, once again, is subjective, and I realize this fact.Those jokes aren't demeaning those situations, they're just meant to be witty, intelligent, or ironic, or just plain stupid-funny for those of us who enjoy some dumbed down humor every now and then.

c) Regarding those like me who make jokes which pertain to those sorts of subjects:we are, in absolutely no manner, viewing those situations and things as any less extreme, or funny. "Well, how can you joke about it then?" Because we're not joking aboutsomething actually happening; we are joking about afictional, hypotheticalstatement thatnever happened. If someone were joking about something that actually happened in a manner in which they intended to be demeaning, then it would be okay to take an issue. However,it would not be okay to take an issue because the statement is offensive, but because it's demeaning real situations that hurt real people. Either way, said joke being offensive is still subjectively offensive.

2) Words, Slangs, and Terms

People say we shouldn't words like "gay," "retard," and "f*g" in a joking context, once again, because it's offensive and demeaning to gay people, retarded people, or other groups with various slangs. I've kind of already covered the fact that non-demeaning jokes are not offensive, and even if they were, it would still be subjective.

a) Word meanings themselves are subjective and change over time. Sometimes, retard is can be just a funny insult. Sometimes, gay is just a funny insult. Sometimes, a lot of words that people use are basically definitionless insults. They don't actually mean that something is homosexual or that something lacks a lot of basic mental capacity. We're not using those words to be demeaning to gay people or severely autistic people, we're just using them to joke around. Again, it's subjective,and a person doesn't have the right to make people censor themselves for their unjustified, irrational sensitivities.

Thank you. :D


Before we share the argument(s) definitions of terms relevant to the topic should be cited. So, let's take a look:

  • Offensive[1] -

    • (adj.) causing someone to feel resentful, upset, or annoyed. Synonyms : insulting, rude, derogatory, disrespectful, hurtful, abusive, humiliating, uncivil, impolite.

    • (adj.) actively aggressive; attacking. Synonyms : hostile, threatening, antagonistic.

    • (noun) an attacking military campaign.

  • Subjective [2] - based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. Synonyms : personal, individual, internal.

Here we talk about "offensiveness" of verbal attacks being subjective, so no-one should pay attention. In most countries such cases is regarded as offence under civil laws. The words by itself is not offensive, but the intention behind it what makes it offensive. As an example word "nigger" comes from Latin and it means black. But the word is so much used to insult and dehumanize blacks, now it become an offensive word.

Now, should we disregard the case because of subjectivity? Answer philosophically complicated. Because we can disregard any case, just by arguing it is subjective, such as murder, rape, pedophilia (catholic priests would be happy), and many other things. So, we cannot disregard any case based on subjectivity.

And, secondly, we cannot disregard it, because of the consequences. It can create clash of racial, religious (and etc.) groups, which will end with violence. In order to protect society (from itself), there must be laws which will prevent mentally unevolved people from verbally attacking and abusing other people.

[1] & [2] - Google Search.

Debate Round No. 2


MetalheadWolfman forfeited this round.


I am waiting for Pro's argument.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm sorry - I'm in Ohio for fencing nationals and I don't have time to give an argument. I should have waited until I got back. I have to forfeit the consecutive rounds. Thank you for your participation.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was the best, as offending people though of their mind (Subjective) can have objective outcomes, problems.