Disposable Outrage

Jason Little
Nov 1, 2018 · 4 min read

Today please voice your outrage for the sexual harassment scandals at Google by supporting #GoogleWalkout

Also, please blog about this so your webzine, or whatever the hell they’re called these days, can make a few extra bucks off of, oddly enough, Google Ads that are draped all over your site.

But don’t worry, things are looking up! Tomorrow no one will give a shit about the Google scandal because some other company or white male will do something stupid that we’ll need to be outraged about.

I started writing this post in my head a couple of years ago when the Wells Fargo scandal made headlines. That put our spotlight of hate onto the financial sector that even the nice Canadian banks couldn’t get away from. For the next few weeks were ready to disassemble the entire financial industry, or at least fire all of the rich white dudes.

But don't’ worry old rich white men in blue blazers, and the one token minority figure on your leadership team because you value ‘diversity’, our disdain for you subsided when United airlines physically assaulting a passenger in order to give their employees a seat. For a brief window of time, ‘passengers getting bumped’ headlines absorbed our attention.

Oh, right, thankfully both of those scandals took our attention away from the 58 people who were shot and killed at a concert in Las Vegas.

Oh right, I forgot about Harvey Weinstein. The outrage over gun violence was forgotten quickly when, just a few weeks later, the #MeToo movement started.

Well, the #MeToo movement actually started a year before that when Tarana Burke started using the phrase to raise awareness about sexual harassment. Thank god good looking and famous Hollywood people got involved and actually made people give a shit.

Oh right, I forgot about the 13,000-ish (who’s counting, really?) children who were put in migrant camps, some separated from their parents.

Oh right, I also forgot that Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada wore traditional India clothes during his visit. Yeah, that’s what we’re supposed to be outraged about.

Hmm, what else did I forget? Volkswagon testing exhaust fumes on monkeys. We only really cared about that because our VW’s were now worth less than market value because of their other scandal. I supposed the close to $2B Euro fines VW and Audi have received over the last year have closed the door on this one. Well, and their stock price is doing ok so I guess there is no problem.

I guess I could mention all of the Tesla scandals, especially considering every 2nd story in my newsfeed is ‘Elon Musk Eats Sandwich, Wipes Face with Sleeve, Outrage Ensues’ but I guess people are just mad because he’s kicking the shit out of every automaker even though other automakers have had a head start of about a century. Make no mistake, no other automaker gives 2 shits about electric cars, they care about beating Musk. Funny thing is, while they’re too stupid to realize it, it’s actually further Musk’s agenda.

What’s The Point?

Today we live in a world where we can read about the dismemberment of a person on the same page as an ad for McDonalds. Using Flipboard, we can playfully flip past atrocious stories and get to what really matters, like Apple’s new iPad announcement.

There’s a reason why mental health problems are on the rise, society has trained us to be bipolar. An event happens, we are outraged beyond belief for a brief period of time, then we go watch some cat videos and do it all over again.

A while back I wrote a post about how to survive in a modern world. This disposable outrage culture we live will get worse. After all, people were outraged when Trump ran for the presidency. Every week since then he’s cumulatively done something worse, we continue to be outraged, but now we’re desensitized.

How I Cope

We’re all coping with something and over the last month and a bit I’ve been running some experiments:

  1. In a world where the 9–5 workday doesn’t matter for knowledge/creative work, I’ve gone back to a 9–5 workday. I turn off email at 5, and set an autoresponder. I turn off email on the weekend…and my phone in general except for texting.
  2. I enjoy my coffee in the morning. No phone, no tv, nothing, just me and my My Little Pony cup.
  3. I don’t read any over-sensationalized headline and use the media bias chart to be more selective of where I get news.
  4. I play drums (some exercise, read, whatever, I hit things with sticks)
  5. I watch the sunset/sunrise every once in a while
  6. Under extreme stress, I watch standup comedy (which reminds me, we’re supposed to be outraged about jokes too, of course, unless you know how to take a joke.)
  7. I block and ignore people who are assholes
  8. I say sorry when I’ve been one of those assholes. I say sorry a lot, but to be fair, I’m usually the second asshole.
  9. I hug my family often
  10. Finally, and most importantly, I generally believe that the world is a fantastic place with 99% of it being positive, we just seem to dedicate 99% of our attention to the 1% of it that sucks balls.

Start looking for the good things, and magnify them.

    Jason Little

    Written by

    Author of Lean Change Management ( www.leanchange.org ), bridging the gap between Agile, OD and CM. Introvert, dad and drummer. And minecrafter.