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Navy Veteran Rep.-Elect Dan Crenshaw: 'Stop Looking for Reasons to Be Offended'

A culture of outrage doesn't help anyone.

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YouTube Screenshot via Saturday Night Live

Navy SEAL veteran and congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw (R–Texas), whose eyepatch was the subject of a much-maligned joke earlier this month, says people need to stop getting offended so easily.

First, some background. On November 3, Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson made a joke about the eyepatch, which Crenshaw started wearing after losing an eye in Afghanistan. "You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie," Davidson said. "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever."

Davidson was roundly criticized for the bad-taste joke. And then, this past Saturday, the comic apologized on the air to Crenshaw, who by then had won his election. Crenshaw showed up to accept the apology in person. It made for an entertaining segment, as Crenshaw got a bit of revenge with some jabs of his own.

This morning, Crenshaw spoke with the hosts of NBC's Today about his SNL appearance. "It felt like the right thing to do," he said. "I would appreciate it if everybody would stop looking for reasons to be offended, and that's what this was all about":

Crenshaw has handled the controversy admirably from the start. The day after Davidson originally mocked him, Crenshaw wrote on Twitter: "I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended."

His reaction has been a breath of fresh air in the midst of a 24-hour news cycle that likes nothing more than fresh outrage. As Reason's Robby Soave pointed out in May, too many conservatives and liberals love to one-up each other when it comes to finding things to get outraged about. This is particularly pointless when it comes to comedians. Some things (like baby rape or war wounds) don't make for good jokes. But telling a bad joke should be neither a crime nor an unforgivable offense. Searching for things to get offended over just perpetuates a culture of outrage, which doesn't help anyone but professional outrage-mongers.

Bonus link: Remy is OUTRAGED over outrageous outrage: