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‘Sensitivity’ is one of those words that’s changed its meaning. It was once used mostly to refer to sore teeth and gums. But just as ‘community’ now means people complaining and ‘activist’ now means sitting at home swearing on the internet, to be sensitive simply signifies you’re politically progressive.
In 2015, in this magazine, I invented the term cry-bully to describe a new type: ‘A hideous hybrid of victim and victor, weeper and walloper.’ Cry-bullies are everywhere, the duplicitous Pushmi-Pullyus of the personal and the political. And for a cry-bully, almost everything’s too insensitive.
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I was extra pleased to have swerved the modern curse that is Wordle when I read that ‘sensitive’ words have been removed from it.
A spokesman proclaimed: ‘In an effort to make the puzzle more accessible, we are reviewing the solutions and removing obscure or potentially insensitive wor...
They’re ‘empaths’, they say, deeply disturbed by anything unpleasant.If it was just Gen Z being soppy, you could slightly excuse it. But when middle-aged men and women who you respected for their apparent insouciance claim to be ‘empaths’, it’s hard not to despair.
Witness John Lydon sayi...
As Zoe Dubno has written in The Spectator: ‘For critics, these individuals [sensitivity readers] are the latest stage of the culture wars: woke-ifying new books before readers even have the chance to read them. For publishers they offer a seductively cheap way of reducing the risk of a book o...
The Sex Pistols took issue with everyone, from girls who had abortions (‘Bodies’) to the Queen (not a human being, apparently).
If this is empathy, then surely it’s only a matter of time before the surviving members of the Clash pop up and tell us that the line from their song ‘Hate a...
The elevation of sensitivity over all other human emotions makes for a bland culture; spite is the Tabasco in the Bloody Mary of life, and it often does the recipient good.
Once we were allowed to be cruel to be kind if the situation called for it: yes, your bum does look big in that; no, ...
I know that narcissists are public enemy number one these days, but if I had to live in a world solely composed of narcissists or empaths, I’d choose the former for the simple reason that it would be more fun.
Under the influence of the sensitivity police, Coronation Street, once a haven o...
I know that we’ve come out of a two-year pandemic with untold economic woes just around the corner, but it surely can’t be only me who wakes up each morning excited about facing yet another day in this beautiful world? And even if a lot of us are mis, shouldn’t entertainment elevate rather than l...
Now, if we are not kind to an extreme degree, we will be demonised. I understand that some people are tender, but that doesn’t mean the tough should have to mute themselves.
The next time a joke offends, maybe try replying in kind rather than violently? Quipping well is the best revenge.
Where once we could laugh at the overly sensitive for being wimps, now the wimps have got together and agreed they they’re simply special, some higher order of being, able to look down on the plebs who can take the hard knocks life routinely hands out and prance merrily on, without recourse to th...
Young Adult novels are especially sensitive to sensitivity; my 2004 teenage novel Sugar Rush probably wouldn’t be allowed today, as one of the young lesbians would need to be trans and I wouldn’t, as a white woman, be allowed to write a mixed-race heroine.
(Oddly, the demographic which is ...
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