In my post on the DS9 episode ‘A Man Alone’ I included several references to the musical Avenue Q, including quoting the number ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist.’ I did not realise anyone would actually be offended by what I thought was just a silly joke, but I now know from feedback that at least one person was.

Honestly, I’m in two minds about this. I don’t want to offend people for no good reason. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or put them off reading what else I have to say. I’m just writing opinions about Star Trek and there is no earthly reason for me to turn that into some kind of bitter wrangle. For that reason, I offered that person an apology, and I did mean it. (Who knows whether it sounded sincere to them, though; any time I get feedback like that I start to gravely doubt my ability to say what I mean without it sounding like something worse.)

On the other hand, I still think ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’ is a very funny number, Avenue Q is overall a very funny show, and I like to quote bits and pieces of whatever I think is funny in whatever I write. I guess I can’t anticipate every reference that might bother somebody with a different perspective from my own, every phrase that just seems silly to me but may seem nasty to someone else. (Many, yes, every, no, and a lot obviously depends on context and mood, not to mention whether I’m fully alert at the time.)

I hope people will understand that while I may sometimes say something tactless, without realising how it may sound to another person, I do not mean any harm, and if given the benefit of the doubt and a concise explanation of why what I said bothered you, I usually catch on and try to put things right. I don’t want to be one of those people whose attitude is ‘I didn’t mean it that way so you are in the wrong for taking it that way,’ because I’ve dealt with some of them myself and know how irritating they are.

Am I attempting to justify/cover myself? Yes, I suppose I am. It’s never any fun to hear that you offended someone while joking around; there’s always an element of wounded amour-propre from the clash between one’s intentions and the way the remark was received, especially when you’re usually fairly careful about these things. Even when you habitually try to be considerate and fair, you can still fuck up sometimes in unguarded moments, and all you can do is listen to what the other person says, explain yourself, and try not to repeat that particular mistake.

So I’m sorry about that, I can’t promise I won’t unwittingly make that kind of mistake again, and I ask you to bear with me, I guess. At least I thought about it?


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