Outraged over outrage itself!

Back from a well-deserved vacation, Glenn Reynolds said this:

It's amazing, though, how much more relaxed I am when I'm not being exposed to the latest outrage on the Internet . . . .
That made me feel less crazy. Sometimes it feels like being online means round-the-clock exposure to constant "latest outrages." And there is always a latest outrage, for outrages never cease. They never have and they never will. While it seems that there is a lot more to be outraged over now than in the past, if I look back over my seven years of blogging, I can see that there were constant outrages -- every one of which was the latest outrage at the time.

Unfortunately, in blogging these outrages tend to be called "content." Sometimes, I worry that the cumulative effect might not be good for one's mental or physical health. But OTOH, if there were no "latest outrages," what would that do to the quality of life?

Not that I should worry about that. People being what they are (and, if you write about politics, this administration being what it is) there will always be plenty to be outraged about. There will never be a shortage of outrage. Pessimists don't have to worry about "peak outrage" or anything like that.

Knowing this helps provide perspective, and allows me to not feel obligated to write posts about each and every outrage to come along. What I still have trouble with, though, is what I'll call "competitive outrage," which in turn fuels what I'll call "the outrage cycle." An incident will happen (because incidents always do happen), and it gets picked up by one outraged person or another, and then, depending on how many people become outraged (and the degree of influence possessed by those who are outraged) the incident goes from being an underreported incident to the "latest outrage," Outrage Of The Day, or even Outrage Of The Week. If you're blogging, no matter how sane you might think you are, this creates pressure to say something about it. The pressure is compounded by the fact that there are some people (self-appointed outrage-meisters, if you will) who believe it is their job in life to tell other people that they should be outraged. It's one thing to be outraged about something, but if there's one thing I cannot stand, it is the feeling that I have to become outraged on someone else's say-so.

The problem for me is that I really, really detest that pressure, and after all of these years I find myself much less tolerant of it than I was when I started blogging, so I end up reacting not to whatever the original incident was, but to other people's outrage over it. My reaction often takes the form of not blogging about something, and instead getting really pissed off. I become, well, outraged -- over outrage. Outrage being the direction outward of anger, I worry that being outraged over outrage but remaining silent about it might constitute the direction inward of anger. Is there such a thing as inrage? I hope not.

Because if I were to be judged by busybodies in the outrage industry, it might appear that I don't get outraged enough. As if there's such a thing as being outraged enough!

Why, I couldn't possibly be outraged enough!

I should probably try harder.

posted by Eric on 05.24.10 at 10:15 AM


I take breaks from the intertubes all the time.
Some days just reading the front page of Hot Air or Instapundit causes me to just despair.

I mean, I know we're doomed, and soon, but I should be enjoying it.
The fall of civilization is high-larious this time.

Veeshir   ·  May 24, 2010 1:21 PM

I find that I must ignore the news and the "latest outrage" if I am to maintain my sanity. I try to keep up by reading and at times listening to a few good news stations.
Each station/reporter has a somewhat different position in the various shades of gray.

Hugh   ·  May 25, 2010 10:07 AM

That's outrageous!

I'm addicted to the news myself. I'm sure I'd be more relaxed without it, though.

TallDave   ·  May 25, 2010 10:12 AM

I am outraged at your distinct lack of outrageatude! Are you some sort of outrage hater?

Mr. Bingley   ·  May 26, 2010 7:16 AM

Outrage does have its uses, though. I'm a lawyer, in the litigation end of things, and so constant endless Conflict is my life.

All of us lawyers use outrage - the new, internet-type outrage - just to vent. Find a truly nasty, overhyped, outraged comment or two, and I'll lay odds it's one of us.

bobby b   ·  May 29, 2010 5:09 AM

"We're as doomed as doomed can be you know."
- Ed Grimley

BlogDog   ·  May 29, 2010 8:43 AM

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