This issue has come up for years — does anyone remember "Motherfuckergate" back in 2011? — and our response is generally the same: foul language has been a part of the Offbeat Bride brand since before the website even launched. The copyeditor of my book, Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, was flagging foul language all the way back in 2006. Ultimately, if you're uncomfortable with swearing, Offbeat Bride just isn't going to be a great fit for you. That said, we DO have a very specific way we generally use curse words…
This is Offbeat Empire's archive of reader complaint posts.
There was some interesting commenting on the Empire this week, mostly because we saw several instances of readers stepping into almost a moderator-type role to offer feedback to each other.
This week's most noteworthy comment thread on the Offbeat Empire was not an easy one, and it actually spans two weeks. You'll need a little backstory…
You might ask yourself, "Hmm, what's the biggest challenge the Offbeat Empire deals with on a daily basis?" You might ask yourself, "Is it complaints from advertisers who are offended by the content?" (Nope: that's happened exactly once in almost six years. Our advertisers work with us because they like our content.)
"Is it angry comments from conservative readers who are offended by the content?" (Maybe once a month, we'll get a drive-by hate blast from someone who thinks gay marriage is awful, or breastfeeding is gross, or family cloth is disgusting. But really, it's pretty rare.)
So, if it's not advertisers or conservatives, what's the biggest challenge we deal with every day? The challenge that has my editors second-guessing every post and quaking in fear, just waiting for the awfulness to begin? It's attacks from our fellow progressives.
Oh, DERP. You ridiculous meme. You have replaced words like DUH, DOY, D'OH, and DER in the vernacular of millions, a quick three-letter word to say "That was hilariously stupid of me!" Unfortunately for DERP, there are some people who've used it derisively, using it to mock those with developmental delays or disabilities. Based on these contexts, some people now see the word as offensive.
So, why do you occasionally see the word on Offbeat Empire posts?
I love that so many people on the internet are committed to encouraging us all to examine our privilege and carefully consider the ways that words have impact. But there are times when I can see it start to slip into a game, and all-too-often the well-intended corrections have an unhealthy amount of white guilt mixed in. There are times when it feels like checking your privilege has become almost a form of performance art for young white people online.
Last week we ran a sponsored post for a family photographer that featured this image of two children playing dress-up, one of them in a Native American head-dress.
The photo struck several readers as objectionable. Let's talk about why, and what it might mean.