HOW NOT TO OFFEND ANYONE IN 2016
After a long tiring day of battling Dhaka traffic and legal jargons, I sit blessed in the comfort of my own bedroom and binge-watch puppy videos on YouTube. As a sensible, 20-something, moderately social media obsessed person, I decide to share this profound love for puppies with my virtual friends. I share a video with the caption, "Omg I love that white puppy so much!1!!11!!" and fall fast asleep before the first notification buzzes.
Next morning I wake up to 20 likes and 11 angry reactions on my post. Overnight I had been reduced to a racist, cat-hating radical. I hastily delete my post and hope nobody unfriended me.
It is more likely than not that you have been in my position at least twice. Learning from this experience, I developed a comprehensive guide on how not to offend anyone in 2016:
Stop caring about things that aren't exclusively Bangladeshi: I have witnessed people getting flak for caring about the American presidential election and Brexit. Do you even know how many pourasabha are there in your motherland? Unless you have mastered every single minute detail about Bangladesh, you don't deserve to care about un-Bangladeshi things.
Stop sharing Coldplay videos: It seems people have finally had enough of Coldplay and their "capitalistic scheme of stereotyping and cultural appropriation" through levitating Indian mystical shadhu baba and half-naked kids running around representing the 3rd world. Liking Coldplay can practically turn you into a social outcast.
By liking/disliking certain mobile phone apps: A few months ago making aesthetic edits to photos used to be an ordeal; then Prisma brought about a revolution. Released first for iPhone, it got Android users wanting to be the 1 percent of the special snowflakes who did not want to be turned into cartoons by an app. Many took the opportunity to point out that one only needed to use Prisma to make themselves look less ugly. As always the butt of the nation split in two bringing in its wake the counterpart of the Prisma-hater buttock. Same happened with Pokémon GO. Stop having individual opinions and observe what others are saying. You need to time your hatred and love perfectly if you don't want to be offensive.
Find flaws within the latest superhero movie: Respecting someone else's opinion is so mainstream. If you liked Batman vs Superman, then you better keep it to yourself or you will be brought down with your friend's cinematic prowess who knows exactly why that movie was awful. If you claim to have liked its loyalty to the comic book universe, you will be called out as an elitist. (Though this seems to be a two-way road, I would suggest you go for hating since there is always a certain special snowflakeness attached to hating a trend).
Give up veganism: Vegans are eating all our plants. Studies have shown that right now our planet has less trees and more vegans than ever before. Anybody in their right mind would be offended by vegans. (Also, my uncle's third cousin's sister-in-law's childhood buddy is a vegan, just thought you should know.)
Don't speak a certain South Asian foreign language: Seeing local man dance to Kala Chashma (a certain South Asian song) at a local friend's ga-e holud and then go full nationalist when people speak in that foreign language on TV has me utterly confused. I'm clever enough to not question the power of Avro. Long story short, just don't speak that language if you want to live with dignity.
Stop assuming the gender of anyone/anything: The social construct of gender has gone through a revolutionary change in the past few years. It's time to stop assuming pink is a girly colour or that Meena is "Baba Ma er shoto adorer meye" when she can very well be "Baba Ma er shoto adorer gender fluid pansexual foxkin".
*Bonus – Practice walking on eggshells: For this daily exercise you will need to save the eggshells after breakfast. The task is to master the art of living on the edge. Alternatively, you can actually leave society to literally live on the edge of a mountain. At least that way you will not be offending anyone ever again.
Anupoma Joyeeta Joyee is a perpetually sleepy Law student who emotionally identifies with ducks and occasionally sets out on writing sprees. Feel free to rant to her at [email protected]