Why Have We Gotten So Sensitive?

We’ve all heard the jokes: “Millennials are so sensitive!”, “Snowflakes are everywhere!”, and the ever so popular, “Grow a backbone!”, it’s all been heard before. Personally, if you were going to ask me, I think the answer to the question of how we got so sensitive is simple. The answer is 9/11.

After the September 11th attacks in New York City back in 2001, comedy took a hard turn in terms of what could and couldn’t be said. As a nation we became so installed with fear of the unknown and fear of more attacks, that any mention of the attacks was immediately shut down. We began to feel guilty for laughing at certain jokes that some people would deem as un-American at a time when national pride was what everyone ran on. Even Lorne Michaels, the creator of the beloved comedy series, Saturday Night Live, noticed the lack of laughter in America and came on stage with Mayor Rudy Guiliani after the attacks to let people know that it was ok to laugh again after the attacks.


Let’s be honest, we’ve all had those moments of hearing a joke from a tv show or from a comedian that make us think, “There’s no way that’d fly today!”, and it’s true. Comedy isn’t what it used to be. You can’t say a lot of the things comedians used to say. Be it because of insensitivity, or simply because after the 9/11 attacks some jokes don’t hit us the way they used to. I’m an advocate that jokes are jokes as long as they don’t become anything more than a joke. Sure, there are definitely some jokes that go too far and offend some people, but there are innocent ones that cause a worldwide outrage, most currently being the Pete Davidson joke at Dan Crenshaw when he made fun of his missing eye that he lost in combat. Crenshaw even released a statement saying that not everything needs an apology. In fact, he did a surprise appearance on the most current SNL episode and returned the jokes Davidson’s way.

I want to know what you all think, because there are plenty of answers as to why our sensitivities have increased over the years. Mine certainly is an opinion and isn’t the only reason why this could be. I was only three when 9/11 hit so I don’t remember much of the cultural changes, so I’d love to learn about what anyone else can remember about changes in pop culture after the attacks. I’m always wanting to hear from the readers. So let me know what you think. What are your opinions?

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