Frank Rothstein

Coast to Coast Video

This conversation is closed.

Get a thicker skin.

It just seems that whenever I turn on the news or read an article someone is highly offended by a comment made. Our acces to every last word has expanded and our sense of humor has waned.

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    Jul 10 2013: how about us thinking postive.being proactive ,problem solvers not problem add ons and most of all practice tolerance.......
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    Jul 9 2013: Good topic Frank:>)

    I don't think a sense of humor has waned, and perhaps what you mention about an expanded access to information has intensified some feelings of being offended? In the past, communities were more isolated, and people usually had other folks around them who were more in tune with their own thoughts/feelings/beliefs.

    As we become less isolated because of advanced communication systems, perhaps we need to make some adjustments. As our communities become more diverse, and we are more connected with our global communities, we learn that people do not always share the same thoughts/feelings/ideas/beliefs, and this may feel threatening to some folks. Our communication systems allow people to interact anonymously if they choose, and sometimes, because they don't meet other people in person, they feel ok with any kind of dialogue.

    My perception, is that one's style of communication says more about the person communicating, than it says about those s/he is communicating to, or about. Some folks are often "projecting", "reflecting" and "leveling" in an attempt to appear more intelligent, insightful, informed, etc.

    I think the most important thing, and maybe this is part of having a "thicker skin" as you say, is to "know thyself". When we are clear with our "self", other people's comments, whether intentionally meant to be offensive, or offensive by mistake, don't impact us in the same way. We do not need to immediately take in the information as offensive.

    We can listen, pay attention, sift through information, and determine if it reflects part of who and what we are, or is it a projection of the one communicating the information? For example, there are a couple people on TED who like to label me, and I notice it happens when I do not agree with them. We can consider the source, and the circumstance under which the name calling happens. Some folks often like to categorize/analyze others and in my perception, that simply reflects their own insecurity.
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      Jul 9 2013: I agree that with more communication across diverse populations, the possibility for misunderstandings increases, particularly as people must learn how to translate the connotation of particular of words.

      I actually do not think people "attempt to appear more intelligent, insightful, or informed" as often as some people think they do. There is a current thread, for example, that makes the hypothesis that people form their posts here to impress others.

      I think this is an example of not understanding that people's styles of speech are typically a reflection of the communities in which they have spent a lot of time and reflect communication norms in that context.. In some cases that style is misinterpreted in a diverse setting.
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        Jul 9 2013: True Fritzie, that people may not consciously attempt to appear more intelligent, insightful or informed, which is why I wrote "whether intentionally meant to be offensive, or offensive by mistake....".

        Most of the time we have no idea of what a person's intention actually is, so often, it is a matter of how we receive and perceive the information, and how we choose to use it.

        I also agree that people's styles of communication are often a reflection of their environment, and what they/we have learned from that environment. I suggest that if we "know" ourselves to the best of our ability, we can have compassion and empathy for others, and maybe learn different ways of communication?
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          Jul 9 2013: People can absolutely learn different ways of communicating. But as there is not a single norm of communication, it is productive to accept different styles, just as we accept other manifestations of cultural difference.

          There are some ways of presenting oneself, of course, that are outside of pretty much any norm of communication. Attack language would be in this category.

          There are also norms of a place of congregation, such as TED Conversations. Hostile, name-calling sorts of language are outside the norms of this place of congregation, as articulated in the terms of use.

          But, for example, the typical language of the academic setting is not. And that language, for example, is neither consciously nor unconsciously an attempt to appear more intelligent or insightful.
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        Jul 9 2013: I agree Fritzie:>)
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    Jul 9 2013: Somebody give this man a round of applause.
    I personally blame weak parenting.
    Learn to be tough at home so when you go out, your mind is ready.
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        Jul 10 2013: I think Matthew is not suggesting people be "tough at home" but rather that parents need to teach kids things like not being over-sensitive or like resilience.
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      Jul 15 2013: Matthew,
      I have to disagree. I think we should continue to raise our children with no sense of responsibility, with every sense of entitlement., to praise the unpraiseworthy. otherwise, there would be no one or nothing to talk about on TED conversations.
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    Jul 5 2013: Frank, I am highly offended by your. . . just kidding! Right on! We allow good-natured trash talk for athletic and other friendly competetive activity. But when it comes to discussion, debate, or conversation we set our annoyance threshold control to maximum sensitivity. We react to every contrary opinion or idea. Good idea. I am going to try to ease-back on the retaliatory strikes. TED is a good place to develop thicker skin because there is always some opinionated, intolerant, arrogant, biased, . . . oops. There I go again.
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    Jul 10 2013: Frank,
    I was wrong... there is skin even thinner. Some so thin it is covered with the veil of anonymity.
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    Jul 9 2013: This is a good question and constructive too, IMO.
    I read various comments and replies, including that of Aja with interest – seemed to me that everybody is trying to make good points. And after my good friend Colleen and Fritzie had spoken, we can expect a good summary too :)
    I think this question good and the conversation constructive because it examines one of the highest of human faculties, humor, others being wit, critical thinking, taste etc. Laughing at one’s own self (or sometimes at others in a general way involving life as a whole) is a great coping skill. A good sense of humor can disarm implicit and explicit confrontations. I think Mike tried to mention that.
    Is the TED conversation platform’s inculcated etiquette of being very polite and friendly hurting its business of inviting truly interesting, knowledgeable and intellectual discourses? Are people rubbing too many backs, if I may paraphrase Arkady’s humor, but in virtual sense of meaning? Is it frustrating Anna’s quest for good questions and communication? Is the answer to this question hidden somewhere in TED Friend’s explanations of behaviors?
    In my humble opinion, the answer is both yes and no. If we choose yes as an answer, I think we need to admit that as conversationalists our art of using humor in an unobtrusive way is still unformed. If we choose no, possibly we are closing doors to self and TED conversation community development.
    Human mind is a wonderful tool of making connections. I feel empowered to realize that everybody everyday everywhere is sitting on the potty, be it Ban Ki Moon or Shakira. And it helps me to be less serious.
    So, perhaps what we need is not a thick skin, but an adaptive skin. A skin that can get thick or thin depending upon the circumstances.
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        Jul 9 2013: You are correct considering the age of the speakers and their maturity levels. Children, immature adults,
        I don't think you can be immature and adult unless you are using age as a criteria for maturity. There is one more unfiltered person you didn't mention, that is in your terms... the overly mature adult.
        We've been there, done that...seen it all. We're tired of couching terms. We also had the learning curve where we knew it all at 21 and 60 years later , we wonder why fate allowed us to live this long considering all the stupid things we've done.
        What amuses us is watching the same mistakes being made by the following generation, calling out the warnings gained from our own miserable experiences. We are told that we just weren't smart enough, we didn't have today's technology, education and where with all. We watch them come down in flames and it amuses us. We giggle and we guffaw. You accuse us of being immature?
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        Jul 9 2013: I won't have to adapt and we all perish - you have to deal with it.

        And you will learn as you grow up... I mean mature...

        Times never really change, countries are only lines on a map, ideologies haven't changed since Romulus petted that wolf... or maybe before.
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      Jul 9 2013: Not bad.... Better then my story about the Rabbi, Priest and an Imam.
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          Jul 9 2013: No, but I dated a Japanese girl back in 1959. I love good Peking Duck. And my mother taught Jewish ladies how to be Jewish mothers...
          Does that qualify?
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      Jul 9 2013: It is old. Either way you blew it when you tried to validate it I am Jewish and I am not offended but w by tell a joke and prepare people for a just in case insult. Just tell the joke.
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          Jul 9 2013: Now that's offensive....
          the punch line wouldn't pass spell check!
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      Jul 9 2013: I chuckled.
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    Jul 8 2013: Hi all,

    Just a reminder that discussions on TED Conversations need to stay civil and constructive; this is not the place for personal insults or jibes. As this discussion is on the topic of taking offense, some digressions from our usual community standards are to be expected... but we still expect participants to treat each other with respect.

    Many thanks,

    Aja Bogdanoff
    TED Conversations Team
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      Jul 8 2013: Hello to TED Staff...
      Franks's point was that we have lost our sense of humor and take ourselves way to serious. Which I am beginning to think he has a point. Maybe we need to add a little emoticon onto each remarks section like a happy face if we are having fun and a sad face if we are angry.... that way we don't have to use some of these rather pointed comments.... just an idea.
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        Jul 8 2013: A little oomph never hurts.
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        Jul 8 2013: There is this "Poe's law" saying

        "Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."

        Sometimes, even 3 smileys aren't enough to convey sarcasm. And even with the smileys, it may still be annoying. This is why I'm not as big of a fan of sarcasm as I used to be.
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      Jul 8 2013: We are. I have not seen, nor would I tolerate otherwise. If a little heat enters a debate that is healthy too. TED, a little leg stretching is good for everyone. Believe me, this topic is a good one.

      Better yet, rather than control the topic why not weigh in. Tell what you think Aja.
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    Jul 8 2013: It's a delicate subject. On one hand, it's difficult to be around people who are easily offended - filter vocabulary, adjust tone, facial expression, "jump through hoops", and "walk on eggshells" to avoid offending them. On the other hand, telling other people to "get a thicker skin" and to put up with our hate speech and insults is, well, insensitive.

    On one hand, "Easily offended" appear to be a kind of bullies. On the other hand, if we completely disregard etiquette, feelings of others, etc., we turn into bullies ourselves.

    The way to find balance is, perhaps, to listen. When several people rebuke us for being harsh and insensitive, especially when the criticism comes from the peers, it may be time to reflect.

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      Jul 8 2013: Hmm.
      How about asking the right questions? What is it all about? What happened? I agree that it's complicated, it definitely is and it is time to reflect and involve everybody in the dialogues. I hope this comment will not be misunderstood.
      • Jul 8 2013: Anna, yes, your points are understood. Really wonderful.

        And haven't you experienced that there is a fine art to asking questions as well?

        It is very complicated.

        Face to face is so much easier than online.
        But even face to face in gets challenging.

        We ourselves are very complex individuals.

        There is so much humor throughout this conversation......and some has been mistaken for something else.

        Good communication enriches our lives so much......that it is worth it to keep trying.
        Don't you think?
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          Jul 8 2013: Agreed. And I wish everybody would think and actually do the same that is - ask questions, communicate and, well, I'll keep trying. Thanks! :)
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        Jul 8 2013: Yes, asking questions to understand the context, the motives, etc. "Giving the benefit of doubt" before we get offended as it was mentioned in the second article I quoted earlier.

        This works when we are about to feel offended ourselves. My comment was more related to the situation when we may start offending others when our own skin gets too think.
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          Jul 8 2013: I hate it when people get offended without asking questions. The question remains - what questions should we ask? I still agree with Dawkins and Harris that being raised/brought up in a certain community of religious fundamentalism changes how you respond to the world, what you share, what you do, how you respond to the questions you are being asked, if you dare to respond in the first place. I'm basing this on my own experience, hours of reading, communicating and watching youtube. Some things can really open your eyes.
          Personally I was raised/brought up in a cloud of conflicting ideas, troubles in the neighbourhood, looming system-change, family with problems of food shortage, bad housing, prob lems with sanitation, Czernobyl as both a memory and reality, priests getting killed, then - priests getting revered that led to misuse. A lot here to tell.

          EDIT - just to expand on this - one of the most popular priests drives an Aston Martin while preaching on hs own radio. Senior citizens, mostly old ladies over 70, are willing to give all their pensions to this man, saying that he's holy, that's how weird all this can get. Brainwashing and misuse. That was just an example. There are stories to tell about other countries as well and the whole faulty idea of morality.

          I'll say one thing again, I said that before - preaching guilt to kids "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, therefore I beg holy Mary..." and so on, is not good in a education system. I do understand other cultural issues here.

          Please see this:

          I don't think the kids mentioned in this talk should "get a thicker skin" when faced with threat of corporal punishment. It's the education system that should be made better.

          Best wishes.
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        Jul 8 2013: Hi, Anna,

        I believe, I created my TED account to comment on Sam Harris's talk you quote. If I remember right, it was the first TED video I watched. I then read several on-line debates between Sam Harris and Sean Carroll on the topic (e.g. I tend to be on Sean Carroll's side. Science may help us understand HOW we make moral decisions or provide us with information that may influence our moral choices explaining why we feel certain way from evolutionary, neurological, or psychological points of view (I can agree with Harris in this limited sense), but science, imo, will never tell us what moral decisions to make. There will never be a litmus test for "right" and "wrong".

        I believe, it is impossible to say a moral teaching directed to others without hypocrisy. When Jesus said, "do not judge", he added "you, hypocrites", thus judging those who judge. The author of the article I quoted before seems to be offended by the "easily offended". As Peter Higgs mentions, there is a lot of the same fundamentalist attitudes in accusations directed against religious fundamentalists.

        We cannot tell others how to feel. "Have a good day" is hypocrisy. "Get a thicker skin" is hypocrisy. "Don't take it personally" is hypocrisy. "You must forgive" is hypocrisy. "Don't get mad at me", "Cool down" is hypocrisy. Try saying "don't get so sad, it was just a dog" to someone who has lost a pet or "you will get over it" to a woman who found out that her husband is cheating on her.

        One of my favorite sayings which I myself don't follow (which is hypocrisy) is "Having opened your mouth - think, and having thought - close your mouth." Just saying it is hypocrisy.
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          Jul 8 2013: Thanks, I'll watch and read and get back to you later.

          I agree that that there is a lot of idol-based, internet atheism out there, but it is there for a reason. How can you keep calm and cool down knowing what's going on...

          For me, before watching and reading the links you're directing me to... Let me say this:

          Don't be a hypocricy fundamentalist. All points are important. If they come together, there may be something new and good that can come out of it (as I counterhypocritically say, this is what discussion should be about, I think and hope...)
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          Jul 8 2013: Hi again,

          Here's a link:

          That's just one of the many links. What I'm trying to say is this morality should not have a religious foundation, there is not one good religion. There are a lot of points there that are important, a lot of good questions.

          I scanned your links, re-read your comment. Hypocrisy when communicating is one thing but "don't take it personally", "you must.." and so on are sometimes needed to cool down. But when acting, planning, thinking, being moral, living your life, just speaking is sometimes not enough. Having a discussion though is needed, open discussion with the right people, maybe that's why I'm writing this right now.

          A perspective here:

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        Jul 9 2013: Anna,

        This video of Sam Harris is good. Although, he employs the jaded Epicurean paradox, the reasoning is solid. Yes, there is a problem with religious morality. Here is a hair-raising example of what religious morality can do,5820600

        Religion is a tricky thing. There is a fine line between righteousness and self-righteousness, between "not judging" and condoning evil, between "giving to poor" and encouraging idleness and supporting bad habits. The trick is to find this line. I believe, this line cannot be detected by a scientific experiment. I don't believe, Bible tells what's right and what's wrong. Bible just lays things as they are and leaves the decisions to the reader also providing some tools for discovering it - such as self-reflection in form of prayer or meditation, etc. Only in this sense, morality can be considered to come from religion. But, in fact, it comes from our own hearts.

        One may see the Bible as a manual on genocide, cult of human sacrifice, etc. But it makes a few good points. One of them is that there is no moral authority or power without the cross. Unless we are ready to die for what we say, the words aren't worth much. In this sense, what this reporter is doing is, definitely, not hypocrisy. But if anti-corruption rants come from a politician or a priest driving Aston Martin, it's a different story.

        I hope, it makes sense.
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          Jul 9 2013: I know there are horrifying things done in the world. This is not hypocrisy on the writers side, this is "show me, help me stop, make me understand." Religion is a tricky thing, I agree. Culture is even trickier. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, it encourages tribe morality, not just morality.

          There is an old story by a Polish writer everybody had to read as a child in the eighties/early nineties. It was about practices in one of the villages. Long story short - a story about a village in the XIX century. A girl gets sick. A witchdoctor comes to the village to help, decides that what's best to do is to tell her parents and the rest to put her in the huge bread oven (a stone one used in those days) while telling prayers. The girl opens her eyes and shouts out "What are you doing?!". The witchdoctor, that was actually a crone in this story says "See? She's already waking up and better!". They put her in the stove, get her out, burnt. She never wakes up, obviously.

          Everybody had to read that, that was a warning sign - embrace illumination, embrace the science, learn about it, read and explore, otherwise you'll be in that village and nobody wants that. There are still villages with such practices and worse.

          I do agree and it comes from our hearts. I did read the books, the apocrypha, learned about it, I had to learn some of the passages by heart at church, I had no choice.

          Since this is about thicker skin, this discussion - maybe getting a thicker skin should not be about comments, but about being impervious to disinformation? Learn to ignore? The ladies that reacted to the priest and called him holy lacked that, I think.

          Yes, it is a completely different story. Thanks for directing me to the link. Scary but good to stay informed.

          "One of them is that there is no moral authority or power without the cross." - I would say education should be the key. There were horrifying things done in the name of the cross, as well as other symbols. We're all people, let's learn
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        Jul 9 2013: Good talking to you, Anna.

        Re: "There were horrifying things done in the name of the cross, as well as other symbols." -- By "cross" I meant self-sacrifice. I understand that those symbols can mean anything depending on the speaker.

        Re: "Since this is about thicker skin, this discussion - maybe getting a thicker skin should not be about comments, but about being impervious to disinformation? Learn to ignore?"

        You and I grew up in communist countries. I guess, we are fairly well inoculated against brainwashing and propaganda. Getting people angry and agitated against each other is the first thing to do on the list of those who want to control the crowds.
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          Jul 9 2013: There was never pure communism in Poland, but it was clear who's in power. That changed immensely during my childhood. And is still changing.

          Right now there's so much information noise that I didn't buy a new tv after the last one went into pieces. I have newspapers, internet... But I can't read the whole internet, can't watch the whole tv from all over the world.

          Maybe that's one of the reasons I appreciate the links.

          Funny thing when it comes to self-sacrifice. Is it self-sacrifice or sacrifice of the ego? Or both?
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        Jul 9 2013: Ego might suffice in most cases.

        Yes, information noise is a problem these days.
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          Jul 9 2013: Agreed.

          It should/ought to/must suffice in most cases. Ego-sacrifice, I mean.

          Regards from ego/id/superego and best wishes :)
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      Jul 8 2013: The answer is to use good manners which I have learned here on TED, you can ask our dear departed friend La Mar who no doubt vouch for my manners.

      This is not the please thank you variety, but the treat people with importance variety. In addition to this be friendly which I learned from the Boy Scouts. It will disarm the most volatile situations.

      Yea you can go around getting into a bar fight with the world if you want but it is not the most effective way to go though life. On the other hand what you say is the tyranny of the victim which is specious.
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        Jul 8 2013: Where's LaMar?

        Ok, I can't say I'm here discussing all the time, just wondering.
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          Jul 8 2013: Arkady says that he now post under the pseudonym of TED FRIEND. I think he missed me?
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          Jul 9 2013: LaMar announced his good news that he got a job teaching permaculture classes for an extension school and would not have further time for TED Conversations. He posted this announcement multiple times under the pseudonym Not Here but signed with his name.

          An extension school is a collection of courses that are not part of what the regular students at a university take but are offered for people in the community. Extension began as agricultural Extension and was specifically focused on technical courses for people in agriculture and forestry. but it has become more general.
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          Jul 9 2013: Pat, I didn't say that. I just said "Hi, LaMar" in response to one of your lovely exchanges with TED FRIEND because it felt like meeting an old friend. :-)

          I enjoy talking to LaMar, but I don't like "food fights" like the one in your video :-). It can get overwhelming.

          I think, it might be a good idea to adopt the code phrase "Food fight!" to stop this nonsense. This is a good conversation to learn techniques to ignore each other's inflammatory remarks and stay cool.

          I'm sure, whoever TED FRIEND is, gets a kick out of watching how all these cool, reasonable, and tolerant people get into a heated argument over how not to get angry. :-)
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      Jul 7 2013: No, absolutely not. I am not suggesting people tolerate every thing they hear. Nor am I advocating that we say any stupid thing on our minds and claim that it is our right to say it. However I do think that intellegent people should be able to weed out what is worth getting upset over and what is not.

      Just because their is an internet and just about everyone has access to post response to every last subject does not mean they need to. Not everything you hear is all that bad. Do you really want to spend your days and nights criticizing people for every dumb thing they say ?

      And finally...yes Ted, the 1st amendment grants freedom of speech and I do have the right to react any way I want but if you don't mind I prefer to go with people say stupid things and that is just the way it is...especially politicians.That does mean they need to issue public apologies that have no chance of being accepted by people who would prefer to be angry.

      However, if you feel up to it, we can wire your life to an open mic and call you out on every last thing you say that might have a chance to have been taken two ways.
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          Jul 8 2013: No, you did not touch any nerves. However you do leave the impression of talking down to people. It must have been the "Eh" that did it. That and how you have responded to others here.
          My thiught is the same, people should try to let things slide a little more and not try to correct everyone and everything,
          Relax and let some ramble.
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          Jul 8 2013: Rest assured you are not someone who can intimidate me. Bubased in the way you are fighing for your point with me and the otherst I can se that are also someone who needs the final say. So in the interest of time send it over. Otherwise, if you prefer, we can do this all night.
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          Jul 8 2013: Not every example has to do with extremes. How about in between ? Now how much csn you weed out ?
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        Jul 8 2013: Chris, being Jewish and fat I heard prety much all the good stuff. One thing I have learned is tha t no much how you try to correct people it rarely happens. I eealized that when a drunk really thought he could feel my horns. If I beat him through the floor it would have been That f....n Jew. And if he beat me it would have been the same thing.

        Now when I posted this it was not meant for peolle to use the extremes to make their point. Let'j ust stay with all the crap we hear in between. How much of thst do you think people over-react to ?
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      • Jul 8 2013: Chris, hahahaha.........and here I thought women would take offense, for not being represented ;D
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    Jul 7 2013: It has to do with our contrived PC culture. While being in complete compliance with PC one will fail miserably as it has nothing to do with doing anything.

    Yet this character takes care of his own:
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    Jul 7 2013: Frank,
    You have hit on a problem. The national sense of humor is gone. Funny now is mostly making fun of others, cruel ridicule.

    When I was a kid, we had humorous nicknames. My best buddy at the age of 11 was "potat"
    He was called potat... potato because he had funny eyes. Hey, I was 11. Oh, he gave himself that name.
    If was self-deprecating humor.
    I don't want to tell you mine, it came from gym class and...
    So, what ever happened to humorists like Rodney Dangerfield?
    Are we all just mean spirited losers sitting in our PJ's deep in our parents basements, using the internet's anonymity to cast dispersions?
    OK, I am sitting here in my PJ's on the internet... but it's not my parent's basement... it's my own basement.

    Hey, if I was really funny, I'd be playing the borsht belt!
    • Jul 8 2013: Some of us sit in a high rise condo overlooking the's not all that bad.
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    Aug 5 2013: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me....
    Those were the good old days....
    So, please don't say anything that will make me feel bad and cry.... you old meanie, you....
  • Jul 24 2013: Damn Skippy, every word now has an evil connotation to some one.

    Shakespeare would weep, because he certainly wouldn't write.
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    Jul 9 2013: Frank... you are right.

    There are skins out there that could be used in one of those osmosis machines
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    Jul 9 2013: This reminds me of a story about an old bull and a young bull standing atop a hill overlooking a herd of cows grazing below . The young bull, all excited, says "Let's run down and service us a cow" The old bull turned patiently to him and said " Let's walk down and service them all"

    Wisdom and experience beats youth and exuberance every time.

    I am not sure if that story was racist, sexist or bigoted.
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        Jul 9 2013: Did your Grandpa not take you fishing when you were younger?
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        Jul 9 2013: Self Esteem? At our age we have come to know who and what we are, there is no need to puff up anything... what most of us would like to do is deflate things ... our waist lines for one.

        Did you ever try to tie shoes over a pot belly? These are real serious challenges to old age.
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        Jul 9 2013: So, you take your grand kids fishing? And you tell them about judging people. I just tell mine to try not to poke their fingers putting on the worms. I ate a worm for them, they think I'm cool.....

        Your right about the young coming forward. I hope they remember their grandpa eating a worm rather then their grandpa? talking about judging people.
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        Jul 9 2013: As a kid, still a kid, bold until the age of three, a kid with wise eyes... agreed. but at least I had wise old people around me :D Best wishes to you Mike and TD. Do not judge/misjudge lest you be judged.
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        Jul 20 2013: A new avatar and a new name....

        To thine own self be true
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        Jul 21 2013: Actually an aunt found this avatar somewhere and sent it to me. She thought it was a caricature of me since it looked so much like me at that age. I found it amusing and keep it.
        Then again I probably look more like Einstein then you do.... except for the hair, mustache and smile.
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        Jul 9 2013: Chris
        You've taken puns to a new low.... congratulations
      • Jul 10 2013: that n thing... An old pc tv show had an old redneck in a city hospital w/ a country black doctor who was repeatedly offended by the rneck till near the end they are alone together and the rneck says something about how the city people "just don't understand people like us"... This whole banning th word is highly suspicious to me, it is like a whitewash. If i were black i think I'd be proud of it and use it to point out the hypocrisy of so many whites. And there's Nigeria (had one for a roommate, handsome fellow, got all the girls dammit, for a year) and Niger . Can we call then Nigerian? or Niggerian? Isn't 'black' rude too in many ways... coloured etc. Are we to ban words, have freedom of speech, insult blacks and whites who want to BAN words rather than debate the issue? etc etc and then there is the old scott's word...

        OK every 'b' person regards it as rude so it would be impolite to use it in their presence, or in the presence of w people who would object so that leave w rascists as the only people one can use it politely in front of, w racial superiorists. But it's ok for b people who may enjoy using a word forbidden by w people... cheap thrills and racist...given the seriousness of the topic... in my opinion. Thing is I hate the white society of 'superiority', domination more than many b do... but lose a measure of solidarity when they use a word I can't.

        I have heard it used with loving affection too.

        Of course the ultimate answer lies above the contradictions: our society is blindingly stupid. man is half human (the best man said that). Sam Clemmens was rather more.
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    Jul 9 2013: "It just seems that whenever I turn on the news or read an article someone is highly offended by a comment made. Our access to every last word has expanded and our sense of humor has waned"
    Frank, you have just lamented the curse of modern technology. In the old days, the means to record ideas were difficult and time consuming. Ink to parchment, chisel to stone. Now every idea is out there, worth recording or not. Everybody who has an idea wants his recorded... worth recording or not. Everyone is serious about his idea, worth recording or not.
    Humor is not a serious matter and is not appropriate to everybody's ideas according to everybody.
    That's what makes this so funny to me.
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        Jul 9 2013: Sometimes I wonder if I laughed too soon. Some other times when I know I didn't, I laugh again. I may be wrong, but I have this feeling that true humor never hurts.
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        Jul 9 2013: "resources to investigate and research what people saying to determine truth, accuracy and motive."

        The question begs, whose truth? Accuracy is perception and motive can never be really determined. Watch Court TV and see how modern resources work out.
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        Jul 9 2013: You are right. I lay awake nights thinking was that the truth or just a biased opinion.

        Accuracy of expression is not mathematics.

        Motive can only be determined when you can learn to read other people's minds. Any other determination is your guess
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      Jul 8 2013: If this works for you then I am all for it. But, I think this is a TED response and a real life response. Me, I prefer to weed it out and laugh off all that I can. Reading this it sounds like you take most everything you hear way too seriously. Tell you what...try this...take a minute and write down something you heard lately that all you could do was laugh when you heard that people were offended. For me it was the Clorox ad that was pulled last week.

      How about you ?
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    Jul 8 2013: Frank,
    why didn't you cover my claim.... we are why over on frowns and almost none on smiles.

    We need to start a conversation based on ....
    " You take my wife.... Please" --- Henni Youngman
  • Jul 8 2013: Frank, don't you think people just like being in the headlines?

    Arguments and cat fights sell newspapers.........people love a good's like a guilty pleasure.

    But I will agree that a lot of people lack a sense of humor.

    And yet, look at all of the TEDsters avatars.............they are all smiling!!!
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    Jul 8 2013: Another way to get have people get a thicker skin is to rub their backs regularly. Works for me. I know someone who becomes much less annoyed with me after a back rub :-).

    The caveat is that people can get offended if we stop rubbing their backs.
    • Jul 8 2013: This is like confirmation bias yes?

      As long as you agree with what they think, you are friends.........but once you disagree, they are offended.

      Sometimes it isn't the disagreeing so much, as it is the way the person goes about disagreeing.
      Sometimes it is the use of condescending words and demeaning expressions, and ad hominem arguments.
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        Jul 8 2013: Yes. I think, you understand my comment correctly. I've heard, the word "nigger" isn't considered offensive when it is used among black people. People may have different reactions to words and actions of others depending of how they perceive the speaker, as Dan Ariely found in his research (a slightly different angle of what I said).

        Actually, my reference to back rub was quite literal :-).
        • Jul 8 2013: Good point. And yes, I figured it was literal....the same applies with feet rubs :D

          You know, in Spanish, some people have a term of endearment. They call their friends "mi negra", which means "my black one"........and they use this term freely, with all their friends, regardless of color.

          I personally like using people's names.

          The only people I use nicknames for are my two kids.

          Everyone else gets called by their name.

          Sometimes I will say "sweety pie" to a little kid who is having a hard time doing a task and I come to their aid.
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        Jul 8 2013: Re: ".the same applies with feet rubs :D"

        Yes. Rubbing feet is indispensable part of "walking on egg shells" :D
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    Jul 7 2013: See Frank,

    Read the following posts. There are a few with a sense of humor and a few not. I got a feeling that the funny ones will be swamped by the serious ones before the time on this conversation runs out.... just saying.

    What's really sad, no one picked up on the borsht belt...
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        Jul 8 2013: Chris,

        Back when I was a kid, many Yiddish comics played at a number of resort hotels just north of New York City that were very popular with vacationing Jewish families. I got a summer job at one hotel as a busboy. One of the favorite menu items was borscht, a beet soup, hence the comics gave these hotels the name Borscht Belt. Oh, as an aside, the movie Dirty Dancing was not made about me, I was a busboy.
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    Jul 7 2013: One way to make people get a thicker skin is to whip them regularly. No?
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    • Jul 7 2013: "The world has 6 billion people in it. Each person is unique. There are too many serious problems out there to be easily offended. It is a waste of time and energy. It is unproductive, even harmful. Life is too short to hand hold those looking to be offended. They are part of the problem."

      Arkady.......really wonderful.

      Thank you for sharing the links.
      The quote is from the second one at the end.
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        • Jul 8 2013: Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.

          Is it insensitive to tell people the truth?
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        • Jul 8 2013: I personally dislike the expression PC......leave it for the politicians....who lie.

          What I think we need, and by we, I mean the common folk, is "tact". Also, discretion, kindness, etc.....etc....etc.....

          You have to know who to talk to, when, where, and how......This comes with time, and trial and error.

          We need "diplomacy".

          And we need to learn to forgive.

          Even in the best friendships, the friendship doesn't result from never offending the other person, but it comes from learning to pass over, or forgive indiscretions, and each other's imperfections.

          I love this quote: "Tact is rubbing out other's mistakes, instead of rubbing it in".

          Wadda ya think?
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        Jul 8 2013: Euphemisms is a fascinating field of linguistic study.

        Here is a light review

        A more detailed one
        mentioning how people have to invent euphemisms for euphemisms because the original euphemism acquired the offensive meaning of the original word it was meant to avoid.

        And for those who want to get really deep into this study, I found this publication
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        Jul 8 2013: Mary, I am with you PC is a really stupid idea ... you are either avoiding the issue or joining the politicians in lies. As you say tact is the real key.

        In the real world we all know someone who comes up to you and says something like "I have no idea why a beautiful woman like your wife married someone as ugly as you" ... and we all laugh. We also know someone who says ... "good morning" and starts your days off wrong. What I am taking so long to say is that it is not always what is said ... but more often it is who said it.

        Also what is funny to me may not be funny at all to you. It may be an inside joke ... it may be a matter of timing ... the remark may be made unknown of circumstances. In the military I was often gone for a long time. In the line at the bank I ask a friend how her husband was, I had just returned from overseas, she explained he had died. As my friend moved up the lady behind me said I was very uncaring and insensitive. I took the shot .... nothing else to do. I really felt bad.

        We also each know someone who just plain loves to make anything into a fight .... I abide them for a while and then ignore them. We each have our methods of addressing those people.

        In the long run I heard this advice which I like. ..... Live your life in such a manner that it will be had for people to believe what bad is being said about you ...... Mark Twain once said ... Never argue with a fool ... after a while it is hard to tell which is which.

        I do not have to have a thick skin if I know who I am ... it doesn't mean I have to like it ether. The people in your life that matter know the difference and the truth.

        Enjoyed your post. Be well. Bob.
        • Jul 9 2013: Robert, I really appreciate it that there are many of us on the same page.

          I personally have to remember to slather myself with Vaseline so things slide off me.

          It has taken me a long time to learn to recognize genuineness in others.
          Growing old has it's advantages. Wouldn't you say?

          And thank you Bob for your words and insights.
          Thoroughly enjoyed reading your contribution.

          Be Well,
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      • Jul 8 2013: Can you explain what you mean by this? Thank you.
  • Jul 6 2013: Agreed! But it seems that there are more folks out there who want their 5 mins. of fame, so they spout off!
    Our sense of humor has taken a turn & I don't quite see where it is going.
    But it is nice to get all the FACTS!!!
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    Jul 6 2013: You weren't implying something about me?
  • Jul 6 2013: IMO: Many modern "controversies" are media controversies. All those media outlets have many hours to fill, so they make as much as possible out of every remark. Many of those highly offended "victims" need publicity, and will take it in any form available.