It’s all the
outrage these days to be outraged about things. It’s driven by social media, and fuelled by the websites of the local tabloids and the brain-dead, act-first-don’t-think-later people who populate those places. It seems that people are almost going looking for things to become upset by, a sort of Münchhausen’s Syndrome for the modern generation. And the things that people are getting outraged by are getting smaller, pettier and ever more difficult to predict.
We had this over a misread price label, we had outrage over the outrage over the reaction (or lack of reaction) to the Paris attacks, we’ve had people trying (but not really succeeding) to light outrage fires, and we’re going to have outrage over something else today. Probably.
But I got thinking (foolishly) about the stuff that we haven’t had outrage over yet. Stuff that, given the current climate for instant up-in-arms-ism, you’d have thought would have set the masses off.
- The carbon footprint of the light aircraft that flies over Cape Town during rush hour, and over Newlands during rugby and cricket matches, towing a big advertising banner behind it.
- The company that it advertises on the big advertising banner it tows behind it 90% of the time, which is a lap-dancing club.
- People wasting water. As the so-called “water crisis” bites harder in SA, why has no-one come up with the #watershaming hashtag yet? When we had no electricity, people were quick to point out those being wasteful. With water shortages in 4 (is it 5?) provinces already, why has the same not happened with water?
- The police vans that push their way through the traffic on the M3 each morning, taking inmates from Pollsmoor prison to court.
- iTunes. All of it.
And that’s just for starters.
I’m both surprised and irritated that these things haven’t been considered adequate fodder for widespread outrage. Not least because I’d like to see something done about iTunes.
Just a quick mention for a superb column from Irish journalist Ian O’Doherty, who upset several (or more) people from Liverpool when he made the outlandish suggestion that their namesake football club should feature a permanent black armband on their kit because the club:
… goes through so many commemorations of disasters and deaths
Cue – you guessed it – outrage.
When I heard that he’d written a column for the Irish Independent on the matter, my heart sank a little. Another brave soul who stuck his head above the metaphorical parapet and was now being forced back into submission at the hands of an angry mob and a spineless editor.
None of it!
Because today’s Word of the Day is, as we mentioned in the title of this post: Unrepentant.
Ian fights back ‘gainst the naysayers, the terminally offended and what he (quite rightly, but somewhat clumsily) terms “the Outragerati”.
There are abjectly acerbic, decidedly defiant and unashamedly unapologetic soundbites galore:
What a pity we have taken perhaps the most important technological tool ever created and decided to use it to mainly share pictures of kittens and form electronic lynch mobs who dribble with righteous and incoherent fury whenever they are exposed to something they don’t like.
Liverpool fans have a widely established reputation for being a humourless lot (while at the same time saying they’ve the best sense of humour of any group of fans), but this was just the latest drizzle of stupidity in what has become a downpour.
Oh, and let’s treat ourselves to just one more:
It’s no longer enough, it seems, to disagree with someone. You now have to completely shut them down. It’s a sort of intellectual blitzkrieg, which means even the most innocent remark is now seen as “hate speech” and so must be obliterated before it gets a chance to gain traction. Most western countries have a system of political checks and balances to protect people from the tyranny of the government. But what we now have is the tyranny of the people as these unelected, self-selected commissars stalk the land, deciding what everybody else can see, hear or say.
Invariably, this is done in the name of the suffocating, intolerant brand of dumb illiberalism that currently holds sway in society.
If you read one thing this week, read his column, inoffensively entitled: If I had set out to deliberately offend the Scousers, I would have gone a lot further, because it is absolutely beautiful.