WaltPalmerWorld Record Archery Rhino-M

There’s a piece in The Atlantic about the “my outrage is better than your outrage” or “my outrage is more legitimate than your outrage” challenge going around, and folks, get real, who cares?  People are posting outrage, and then getting worked up about challenges like “what about #(your favorite cause hashtag here)” and reacting defensively about challenges to their outrage de jour.  So what?  Why take objections personally?  Why object to a challenge, rather than think about it?  Why would you regard a challenge to your thoughts as a restriction to your speech?  It’s a conversation, and it’s a conversation that needs to be had.  It a trigger to thinking about whatever we’re ranting about.

Take a look at your expressions of outrage and see what’s there.  Take a look at those you know expressing outrage and see what’s there.  What’s the range of depth and breadth?  What is important to you and yours?

And of course, it’s not binary.  We can care about a lot of things, and can care about many things at the same time.  Just look at people’s many posts to see what they care about!  Multiple issue syndrome?  Ask anyone with ADHD!  Most of the people I know of who are outraged about Cecil are outraged about many, many things, and express that outrage regularly.

I’d guess the reason for someone objecting to the “what about #(your favorite cause hashtag here)?”  and reacting defensively is that those issues raised are ones they’d rather not think about.  Oh well…  Maybe it’s time to get started, continue, or choose otherwise, but there’s no need to get defensive or competitive.

If the issue you’re writing about, if the position you’re advocating, can’t take some challenge, what does that say about your advocacy?  If someone else thinks you should be pushing something else, well, what does it matter what someone else thinks?  Do they make a good point?  Raise an issue you need to consider?  Is it something you should care about?  Maybe it’s something you should at least think about, and it might be a good time to dive in, a time to do some self-examination!  And hey, that’s just their opinion, just like you have your opinion!  That’s what free speech is all about.  Well, partially, because free speech is accompanied by responsibility, an obligation to speak the truth, to care and investigate the truth about what you’re saying, to express opinions with some basis, and to not toss around slanderous nonsense — check things out before you go off on a rant — and if you screw up, correct it, LOUDLY and WIDELY!  That’s pretty basic.  Think!  Speak up!  Stand up! 

From Cecil the Lion to Climate Change: A Perfect Storm of Outrage Oneupmanship

Instead, the people who hadn’t jumped on the Cecil-outrage bandwagon jumped on the superiority-outrage bandwagon. It’s a bandwagon of outrage one-upmanship, and it’s just as rewarding as the original outrage bandwagon.

The bottom line in that piece:

Many people are drawn to defend nature and underdogs (even when they are apex predators) and to hate wealthy, lying, violent dentists. But even more than that they are drawn to feeling superior and appearing wise, and being validated accordingly.

Methinks there’s a little more to it than that.

Here’s the piece that woke me up to this “rightness” thing going around — AAARGH, it’s so all about MEEEE!  From Michelle Krabill, who on many points it seems I agree with, but on this, nope, no way, no how:

Dammit! I care more (about the right things) than you do!

From the start…

It seems lately I am not allowed to care about anything without someone saying I care about the wrong thing or that I must also make it clear that I care about something else more.

Not allowed?  This from a blogger?  Someone with a very public platform accessible to all?  Do tell, how is your speech limited, how are you “not allowed?”  OH PUH-LEEEEZE…  $50 says that she’s been challenged.  And what she’s doing here is just what she objects to!   She’s objecting to other people’s statements and lack of boundaries, and yet the headline is the words “I care MORE” and “about the RIGHT things” and “than YOU,” making a moral/ethical judgment about others, comparative and outward focused. That’s not something someone can claim in relation to others with any validity. We only know ourselves, what we care about… we control what we do, and have every right and obligation to say it, to act on our moral compass, and to stand up for our right to do it. That headline, though, is the type of statement she’s objecting to from others.

Just do your homework, write about it, agitate and advocate.

Yet Krabill does end on the important point, though with question marks rather than declaratory statements:

What if instead, we mourn every death? Celebrate every act of courage? Call out every injustice? Recognize every act of altruism? What if we actually believed that humanity’s best qualities could multiply with use and worst qualities would necessarily and absolutely atrophy in the presence of love?

What kind of world would that be?

A better one I think.

Yes, I’d guess it would be a better world, though I sure don’t buy into the passive notion that “humanity’s worst qualities would necessarily and absolutely atrophy in the presence of love.”  Each of us here needs to be an active participant in this thing we call life.  “Humanity’s worst qualities” won’t just go away, that we can see in what history we know of, it takes a lot of concerted effort to overcome the ugly side of humanity.   And that’s our job…

One Response to “My outrage is the RIGHT outrage… NOT!”

  1. Alan Muller Says:

    This post is thought-provoking.

    It seems good for people to have enough outrage to get activated around something, or many things, but not good to be so outraged that one burns up.

    And it’s worth remembering that outrage can go in evil directions. Lynchings, for example.

Leave a Reply