Everywhere you turn, every day you wake up, every TV channel you watch… someone is outraged about something. With social media and of course the election of Donald Trump to the perpetual dismay of the leftist media, it is magnified even more.
“A healthy society reserves anger for special occasions. Today taking offense has become a reflex. Pretty soon absolutely everything becomes an outrage.”
This Reported Earlier By Lance Morrow | WSJ
Outrage has become the signature emotion of American public life.
People are so used to it—the noise, the flying spittle—that they were pleasantly surprised when Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw of Texas declined to be incensed. He is the former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan and was mocked—more stupidly than viciously—for his eyepatch by a performer on “Saturday Night Live.” The insult called for outrage, in the usual tit-for-tat. But instead Mr. Crenshaw took it in good humor. He went on “SNL” to accept the performer’s apology. Not everything needs to be treated as an outrage, he said—a grown-up in a moment of grace.
People have been mad as hell for much of the 21st century, starting roughly with the stalemated Bush-Gore election in 2000, followed quickly by 9/11. Fundamentals have been changing fundamentally: marriage, sexual identity, racial politics, geopolitics. Outrage flourishes also because of the rise of social media—the endless electronic brawl—and because it plays so well on our screens. Cable news draws pictures in crayon, in bold primary colors that turn politics into cartoons. On the left, “stay woke” means “stay outraged.” Trumpians want to “lock her up” or “build a wall.” Outrage is reductive, easy to understand. It is an idiom of childhood—a throwback even to the terrible twos.
The various tribes have broken off negotiations with all differing points of view.
They excuse themselves from self-doubt and abandon the idea of anything so weak as compromise or, God forbid, ambivalence: No other perspective could possibly be valid. Americans have lost tolerance for the 51%-to-49% judgment call, even though that’s about the margin of their disagreement on almost everything. People give themselves over to the pleasures of self-righteousness and self-importance that come with being wronged when you know you’re in the right. Among the civic emotions, outrage is a beast of the prime; to harness outrage is to discover fire.
A healthy society reserves its outrage for special occasions: Pearl Harbor, say, or the church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four girls. But in the 21st century, special occasions—mass shootings and other random eruptions of the id—occur regularly. They have turned outrage into a ragged, all-purpose national reflex, with side effects of disgust and despair.
Outrage often emerges when an anecdote about a particular drama becomes generalized into a hashtag, as when that masterpiece of unshaven phallocratic beastliness Harvey Weinstein was dragged before the public gaze, and, in an instant, the #MeToo movement arose, drawing forth the squalid secrets of other famous men. After many a summer dies the swine. But the greatest casualty of outrage may be judgment itself. It’s dangerous when indignation abstracts itself, as when charges of sexual misconduct become generalized in phrases like “toxic masculinity,” which may condemn all men regardless of facts. They are guilty one way or another. If you cannot convict a man of rape, then you may get him for “mansplaining.”
Pretty soon absolutely everything becomes an outrage…
Read More/Source: Wall Street Journal