The Outrage Machine

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This weekend, many of us had to adjust our clocks in an attempt to fool ourselves into thinking we can actually control time. This is a subject that leads to much grumbling which I’m certainly guilty of as well. In the end, is a couple of minutes spent resetting clocks really worth getting upset over? For some, the answer would be “yes”.

And I ran across a couple of other examples of the church of perpetual outrage over small things which is why I’m putting some thoughts out there. There is the big college basketball tournament starting and, every year, certain sports people write stories about who got “snubbed” and who got “screwed” by the pairings. And fan bases of various schools who are “outraged” over how their team was handled.

Forget the one year in the quote above, in two weeks, when we are watching the final game, is any of the pre-tournament outrage going to matter?

I’m certainly guilty of the above. Petty things like getting caught at multiple traffic lights in a row or a driver who pulls out in front of you and then drives slow do cause irritation. Working on not letting it get to me but it isn’t easy. So it is easy to understand how you can get swept up in the outrage maelstrom.

The third example involved a book I finished last night. It’s a fantasy and the second book in a series. These stores are totally guilty pleasures for me. I just love thinking about the world of the story and what it would be like to live there. And I usually have to marvel at the creativity of the writer for creating it.

But I ended up on one of those book review sites and this is the type of book some people can take a little too seriously. I mean the outrage expressed at the way it ended – the reveal of a certain character that messed up people’s vision of how they wanted this particular romance to turn out. I wasn’t happy with the ending because it was the typical cliff hanger with characters left in peril and now I have to wait a few years for the author to crank out the third book in the series.

Truth be told, I’ll have likely forgotten about it by the time the third book comes out. Some small irritations I can let go.

And maybe I’m just sensitized to this because of how I watched my Dad in his last years. He spent all day watching one particular news channel and just being mad and irritated at “the other side”. So much so that people who held different opinions weren’t just wrong, they were stupid and a whole bunch of other things. (Since we didn’t agree on certain political things, it was hard to hear and I ended up keeping a lot of things to myself).

Social media plays a big part in this. Before, if you were outraged, you generally vented to just your friends. Now, you can go on any particular platform and declare your outrage to the world. And, you can generally find a whole new group of people who share your particular outrage. It just validates your opinion – I mean if others are outraged, they you are certainly right to be upset as well. And what the heck is wrong with those who aren’t outraged.

Yes, I get the irony of me expressing my own opinions on my blog here while talking negatively about others doing so. It is why I’d rather talk about ballroom dancing or turtles but sometimes other stuff just hits you over the head often enough that it requires a bit of a response.

To me, it just doesn’t feel like a healthy way to live. Not saying you shouldn’t grumble or complain about things but to actually be upset over something that is essentially trivial robs you of your ability to enjoy life. And I think it just makes it easier to find the next thing to be outraged over and then the next thing and so on until you spend all your days just being mad at something.

I’d rather be happy.

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