carlos rodrigo

Hitchens and offense

When Christopher Hitchens wanted to illustrate the want or need of some people to get offended, he told the following anecdote, that may or not be true, but interesting nonetheless.

When Dr. Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer, compiler of the first dictionary of the English language, had completed it, he was waited upon by various delegations of people to congratulate him, of the nobility, of the quality, of the Commons, of the Lords — and also by a delegation of respectable ladies of London, who tended on him at his Fleet Street lodgings, and congratulated him.

“Dr. Johnson,” they said, “we are delighted to find that you have not included any indecent or obscene words in your dictionary.”

“Ladies,” said Dr. Johnson, “I congratulate you on being able to look them up.”

We will always find ways to get offended even when none are given, and it seems to be getting worse. Since mainly all of our needs are covered, we tend to search for (or make up) issues that can bring us down and fill our time. This is wrong. We sould worry about real issues, not the ones we imagine in our head.

Here’s the video of the anecdote.