Wednesday, December 14, 2005

“That’s Inappropriate”

It’s overused. It’s a copout. Why do I bring it up? ‘Cause I got caught using it.

There are times when something truly is just inappropriate. Showing a film graphically depicting the Holocaust to a second-grade girl-scout troupe or boys' choir—that’s inappropriate. Wrong setting, you know. But the movie itself is not necessarily bad, it just shouldn’t be used to educate little kids about something so terrible.

I picked an extreme example, perhaps, but I hope it conveys my message.

But these days all sorts of things are labeled “inappropriate.” It’s a way to avoid being confrontational—but beyond that, it’s a way to be a wuss.

So, when a guy made a flippant joke about human inbreeding (I’m trying to be polite here), and I said, “Now, that’s inappropriate,” to shut him up, I was in need of some cold water in the face. It took a seventh grader to give it to me, and he did. “No,” he said, “that’s just wrong.” He was absolutely right.

May I never substitute “inappropriate” for “wrong” again.

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