Two stories today about people getting offended over shit that's not offensive. First up, a story involving Hillary Clinton in an interview in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In an interview before a group of young professionals, Clinton is asked a question about her clothes. The question is being painted as sexist, especially in light of Clinton having just spoken on issues of sexism regarding women's clothes. Here's the supposedly objectionable question:
Moderator: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
Clinton: What designers of clothes?
Clinton: Would you ever ask a man that question?
Moderator: Probably not. Probably not.
Sounds like a pretty sexist question, at least that's how New York Magazine writer Dan Amira characterized it:
Had the moderator just zoned out during this answer? Was he too wedded to his (we think it was a he, although the transcript is unclear) prepared questions? Or did he just not realize how extra horrible his question would sound coming right after Clinton's remarks about sexism?
Oh, there's a context? Let's look at it:
Clinton: It requires, for a woman, usually in today's world still, an extra amount of effort because I think it's - the fact that women are still sometimes judged more critically. If you are in the courtroom or you are presenting a case, it still is a fact - and this is not just in Kyrgyzstan, this is everywhere - that when a man walks into a courtroom it's rare for someone to say, "Oh, look what he is wearing." But if you walk into a courtroom, or any young woman walks into a courtroom, people are going to notice. And that will be an additional requirement that you have to meet.
Amira thinks this is the Moderator just zoning out and going into some unthinking sexist line of questioning. There is however a much more reasonable way to read the conversation. Clinton has just said that young professional women have to take an extra step in thinking about what they wear. The moderator then responds by asking Clinton what she prefers to wear.
That's not sexist. That's not offensive. Maybe something got lost in the translation, but here's how we're reading it:
Clinton: It's unfortunate, but women need to spend more time than men thinking about what clothes they wear in professional settings.
Moderator: How do you yourself deal with this extra burden / any advice for young professional women in the audience?
Our next item comes from Joe Biden, in an incident characterized by Fox Nation as "Offensive." Because if there's one source of credible claims about being offensive, it's the Fox Nation speaking to a Joe Biden gaff. We have video:
This is also how Biden portrays football referees.
Hardly. Biden is making a joke about how he's been speaking for too long and must be wearing out his sign language interpreter. He's not denigrating her or making fun of deaf people.
If anyone is being offensive here, it's Fox News when it refers to her as the "sign language lady," as opposed to "sign language interpreter" or any other non-diminutive title. But even then, that's barely scratching the surface of offense.