THERE'S an interesting clip doing the rounds of American commentator Bill Maher discussing how the US has lost its sense of humour, in which he explains that, regardless of how inoffensive they are, you cannot make jokes about "protected species" any more. "Jokes about men, yes; jokes about gay men, no."
Jerry Seinfeld likewise pointed out how he hates performing to college audiences, so quick were they to take offence - "They just want to use these words 'that's racist', 'that's sexist' and 'that's prejudice'," he explained. "They don't even know what they're talking about."
Which brings us nicely to last week's Twitter spat between rugby star Cian Healy and singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy.
Healy isn't likely to be confused with a renaissance man, given both his profession and his physical stature. But appearances can be deceptive, and Healy's vocal support for the 'Yes' vote during the recent marriage referendum may have surprised many.
Cian has, rather bravely for such an alpha male, been vocal in his support of the 'Yes' side, saying that the tactics employed by the opponents were insulting to many more than just gay people. "The 'No' campaign is against any single parents or adoption judging by their posters," he wrote. "I find that highly offensive."
But when Cian made a light-hearted joke on Twitter about going to a gay pride concert - "So I'm going to a kesha gig at pride in Hollywood tonight... Should be interesting! #BacksToTheWall" - Kennedy couldn't wait to register his offence at the implied slur on the gay community, and to do so in a particularly pompous manner.
"backstothewall?? I didn't think anyone talked like that any more. How deeply disappointing in one so young," he wrote, in what is about the only thing of note Brian has written in the past decade.
What is most tiresome, however, is Brian's response to Cian's apology, giving the impression that Healy should be grateful for forgiveness from the self-appointed arbiter of public morals. "Sorry if it was taken wrong?" Kennedy replied. "You clearly don't get it. At least you had the good grace to reply. #FoodForThought."
Healy can console himself that he is not just someone at the top of his profession, but a rugby player who is unafraid to go to gay pride concerts, and make a self-deprecating joke about it. Kennedy, on the other hand, seems to have become little more than a dial-a-moan, and as his musical career has veered towards oblivion, so he seems to resort with undue haste to take offence when there is, dare one say, a guarantee that it will get his name in the papers.
Kennedy has recently metamorphosed his body to the extent that his enlarged, muscular physique is barely recognisable from the relatively puny body he possessed when he was best known for his singing abilities.
Perhaps now it's about time that he works on enlarging that one part of his anatomy that seems to have remained untouched from expansion.