Meanwhile, I haven't been able to get this Alyssa Rosenberg post on "offense" off my browser, so now's as good a time as any.
I think that one of the common defenses whipped out by people who make art—or hell, say things in any forum—that’s sexist or racist or transphobic is to say that they’re brave, speaking truths others dare not utter. The thing this, these people rarely speak these so-called truths to unfriendly audiences. And the easiest thing you can do with any audience is to confirm the beliefs they already hold. Sometimes, that can be a useful thing to do. Confirming that people aren’t alone in their beliefs or reactions to things can be a powerful way to bring marginalized people together. And telling people that their beliefs matter and are actionable in the world is a major mobilizing tool. But there’s a difference between those kinds of conversations and affirming people’s fears, prejudices, and need to be superior to someone. If you view giving offense as a sign of courage, it’s much more courageous to poke at your allies rather than the people weaker that you’ve determined to keep that way, to take a broad view, really see what the conventional wisdom is, and then challenge that. There are pieties in every movement, be it left, right, or center. But if you want to skewer them, you have to do better than “bitches be crazy” or “trans people are gross.” Smashing things and causing pain are not the same things as making a point.
What one believes to be unsaid, rarely is.