Today’s Whinge: Wednesday 6th February 2019

Outrage

  1. an act of wanton cruelty or violence; any gross violation of law or decency.

  2. anything that strongly offends, insults, or affronts the feelings.

  1. a powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury,insult, or injustice:

Outrage is the new black…or so it is beginning to feel to me after the vitriolic attacks on Liam Neeson, after his over-sharing remarks today. In his defence…he was relating a story, and mind you, a story from the 80s. What he stated was how he felt at that particular time, and if we all stopped being outraged about the comment, we might be honest enough to admit that most of us have felt that way about something, at some time!

Then we have “reality” television, another way for not just us to be outraged, but the participants in the show as well. It is almost as if, being television, it is validated. In last nights episode of “Married at First Sight” – a show I don’t watch, as it is an advert for everything a marriage shouldn’t be…but, of course, in the name of cross-promotion, I can’t escape it on morning television – one of the newly married couples had a dispute regarding some kite flying (not as in kid’s kites), an exercise the female partner did not want to indulge in! Her response, and temper tantrum, thrown at her partner was startling to watch…and was in fact, bullying. A good example of who doesn’t have a check on her emotions, and bullies her way to achieve her own ends. As one of the commentators on the Today show noted…if a man had responded in the same way to a woman, he would be howled down, and the clip shown on every social media platform, to over-the-top outrage comments! Interesting juxtaposition, isn’t it!

These days, everybody thinks they are an expert on everything, and being hidden away behind computer, phone and tablet screens, they think they are very clever at displaying their outrage over just about everything. We no longer look for positives, only negatives!

Wired Magazine in late 2017 made an interesting observation regarding the #MeToo movement, and its hijacking, and derailing, by social media.

“Three days into the #MeToo meme, my Facebook News Feed is teeming with posts. Female friends have shared heavy anecdotes about inappropriate events. Men have attempted to express solidarity, or concern, or surprise. Celebrities have run with the meme. A backlash has materialized, in which women voice concerns about those who are speaking up.

On its surface, #MeToo has the makings of an earnest and effective social movement. It’s galvanizing women and trans people everywhere to speak out about harassment and abuse. It’s causing everyone to weigh in on systemic sexism in our culture. In truth, however, #MeToo is a too-perfect meme. It harnesses social media’s mechanisms to drive users (that’s you and me) into escalating states of outrage while exhausting us to the point where we cannot meaningfully act. In other words, #MeToo—despite the best intentions of so many participating—is everything that’s wrong with social media.

Outrage is central to the design of most social media platforms—for very good reason. It’s an emotion that inspires sharing, which causes all of us to spend more time engaged with the platform. And that translates directly to revenue for the companies.”

This article (follow link in references) also brings to the fore how we are manipulated by social media. Back in the prehistoric days…before social media came along…if we were outraged by something, our only responses were to be outraged at home or at work, and if you really wanted to voice an opinion, you wrote a letter to a daily newspaper! This sort of kept it contained, and personal. And really, that is how it should be! I, for one, no longer overshare on social media, or get outraged over things. I do this because I loathe sitting there watching the vitriol pour in as people “vent”. I think the responses often outrage me more than the actual source of the comments.

We can be a vile species, and social media outrage is one of the more distasteful aspects of life in the media age. It demeans people, robs them of their voice, forces explanations from victims when they are often not needed. We twist, edit, misquote and deceive in order to provoke outrage. In severe instances, people can lose jobs or have careers destroyed by outrage…and those who cause it don’t even care!

I laugh when I hear people talking about privacy these days. There is NO privacy! That is a right we forfeited to live in this modern age. Social media has ensured it! Just look at our poor footballers. No longer can their Mad Monday antics, or indiscretions around flashing their bits about to a video camera be kept “in Club” anymore! There is always someone with a camera, and us with our outrage! Dylan Napa is paying the price right now! I have friends who have done Facebook rants when drunk, or have displayed perhaps too much raw emotion during periods of depression, and I think to myself…please…don’t put that here! It’s too public, too exposing. You are inviting outrage!

We need to check ourselves! We need to self-censor. Stop and think before you hit the “Post” button. Like me, keep in vanilla. Don’t give others the fuel to instigate outrage! It is only by self checking that the fires of outrage can be quenched!

Tim Alderman ©️2019

References

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