|I, for one, am Outraged.|
If you really, deeply care about Miley Cyrus twerking in latex underpants re-evaluate how fulfilled you feel by your hobbies.
That’s all I was going to post today. But then I thought, “Wait, if I’m really, deeply caring that other people care about Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance then…” and I couldn’t finish the thought because I choked on irony.
Here’s the thing: I know Outraged Person is a professional niche. Fox News and MSNBC are real things. Your Bill O’Reillys and your Louis Blacks craft Righteously Outraged Narratives for a living. And we all sit back and watch them for infotainment purposes.
When it comes to Professionally Outraged People you get the sense that they’re actively looking to be outraged in much the same way an accountant actively tries to examine spreadsheets. They really don’t have a choice in the matter unless they want to switch careers.
But I wonder about those of us who are Outraged on more of a casual basis. Outrage Hobbyists if you will. I include myself in this category. Because do I know that atrocious human rights violations are happening in Syria right now? Yes. And I’m anti atrocious human rights violations (What a stand I just took.. I’m SO BRAVE!) But you know what I chose to write a blog post about? Miley Cyrus at the VMAs. Because this is an Important Topical Issue which allows me to bring up things like slut shaming, sexualization in pop culture, the direction of the music industry, and WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
Instead of my regular old lowercase outrage where I say, “Yeah, chemical weapons sure are terrible. Meh.” and go back to sipping my cup of coffee I go with the sensational yet obviously less important Uppercase Outrage at this shockingly rare instance of a 20 year old kid dancing around suggestively.
And it’s not just me. There is a huge stable of Outrage Hobbyists. Google the Miley thing if you don’t believe me.
Why do we do this? Is it to have something low stakes to fight over? To have a new topic on which we can agree with our friends? Do we feel paralyzed in the face of true tragedies and need to redirect our energies somewhere safer?
In a way, this reminds me of “Fight Club.” Life can feel a bit like a consumerism based rat race at times and we need to find an emotional release from that numbness somehow. But instead of spending our evenings bare knuckle brawling with Brad Pitt we sit around Becoming Outraged at some target we’ve all collectively decided is an acceptable place to let off steam.
And the first rule of Outrage Club is: You do not talk about Outrage Club.