Vexatious Offendees

I once saw a verbatim quote from a fundamentalist preacher that equated the state of being vexed with the state of being oppressed. The latter term slides conveniently from the subjective sense, in which it is indeed a very approximate synonym to the former, to the objective sense that denotes unjust social, political or economic arrangements. The common sentiment that people are permitted to rise up and smite their Oppressors thus turns into the idea that they can rise up and smite their Vexers. But being vexed is a combination of two factors, the things that are being done to you and your own readiness to be vexed. Some people are very easily vexed, not least by things that are none of their damn business.

No one likes to be oppressed, but human beings do actually enjoy a certain amount of vexation; partly because it is an emotion, and any emotion is better than none, and partly because our culture attributes spiritual virtue to the condition of being a victim. Huffing and puffing in vexation makes people feel important; if vexation is confused with oppression, creating a right to Smite the Vexatious, that provides even more good harmful fun.

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