I’ve been thinking recently about causes of stress in our lives. As I’ve said before, this is a pretty good gig! What could possibly be causing angst? And then I heard an expression somewhere that resonated with me:
We have become a country addicted to OUTRAGE!
As I started to examine that concept, I can see so many examples of its truth. Everywhere we look, something in the media, social or otherwise, is just begging us to get riled up. Remember the days when the paper was delivered in the morning, and the news was on TV at 5:00 and 10:00 pm? Not much time for anything but reporting real events. But these days, a 24-hour news cycle, coupled with thousands of different media outlets plying for your attention, has given rise to endless “click bait.”
Now I’m not saying that we should become complacent. We SHOULD be outraged by some a$$hole who shoots hundreds of people in Las Vegas. We SHOULD be outraged by an idiot who drives a truck into a crowd of innocent people.
But pictures of fat Trump? or Hillary with an enraged face? or Melania’s high heels? or what this or that celebrity did or did not say? REALLY????? Do we need to be outraged at that nonsense? Reporters on TV are no longer “reporters” – they are “commentators”…and they are banking on their ability to get you hooked.
And maybe this is just a sign that I’m getting old, but don’t they teach how to detect bias in high school English any more? Like:
- Are there inflammatory words in this headline?
- Is this trying to sway my opinion or get me to hop on board?
- Is this intentionally misleading?
- Is it the intent of the publisher just to sway me to click on the site (and hopefully on advertisers?)
- Is it their intent to incite or outrage the reader?
As I was surfing around, I found this video on YouTube which, while a little old, still rings true:
So how’s about everyone just take a big deep breath, be grateful in the moment, and vow to look for happier, compassionate, uplifting events in our world. OK, I know, that sounded pretty PollyAnna, even to me! (gag me with a spoon!)
But my point is, we do have some control. As consumers, we get to decide what ‘news’ to read, what sites to click on. We have more control than you might imagine. My friend over at Intrepid Kate has instituted her own Facebook policy. She will scroll her feed until she comes across negativity. When that happens, she shuts it down and wanders over to something more fun like Instagram or Pinterest.
As for me, I’ve taken to using the “Unfollow” button on my Facebook feed. Those friends who insist on posting negativity are getting ‘turned off’ (not Unfriended, mind you – I’m just taking a break from their posts.)
I have successfully reduced my Facebook feed to friends who provide “soul-enhancing relationships,” advertisements, and PUPPIES! Oh yeah, and goofy videos…
So I would encourage you to reserve your outrage for more than Tarantulas in the Guacamole (watch the video).
Random.Ranting.Over. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts…