Culture of Outrage

Not Worked Up: My Calm Response to the Culture of Outrage

Oh, Keith Olbermann. I think you're pretty smart. I do. I just have one tiny piece of hopefully constructive criticism. Your Special Comment segment, especially the one last night — well, you're becoming like too oft-prescribed antibiotics: ever-increasingly ineffective, while simultaneously making your opponents stronger.


I know that you feel strongly about a lot of things. But I'm beginning to think you can't possibly feel that outraged every single day. Your speeches while fairly well-reasoned, but delivered in your all CAPS LOCK style, are numbing. And it's not just you. Just in the past week or so, Obama's aide resigned over using the word "monster," and Geraldine Ferraro resigned over (arguably, allegedly, in my opinion) critical comments about her opinion of the nature of the media in this election. Have we come to the point where an apology, or reasoned discussion just isn't enough? Do we need blood in every battle? To make the Nancy Grace connection, read more.

While I do think there is a lot in this world to feel strongly about, I think that this fever pitch of reaction to every little thing is a distraction, focusing on the froth of response rather than the facts of the case. We get swept up in the Nancy Grace-ification, in essence responding to her reaction rather than reason. We've built a whole cast of characters around this appetite: Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, anything on Fox News, the Drudge Report, to name but a few.

Are we so inured, so desensitized by the sheer force of the tidal wave of information, that it requires an ever increasing level of in-your-face, shocking, fist-pounding, outrage to snatch out attention? Are we addicted to outrage, this junk food of opinions? Perhaps if we were given quiet space, a moment to consider how we feel about the facts presented, we'd find ourselves with an opinion, maybe outrage of our own — without having to co-opt that which is created to sell the ads. I'd love to have a calm discussion about what you think.

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