People somewhere are mad about what people in other places think about the thing they thought they thought about first and why you should be mad too.

This isn’t really news. It isn’t even interesting. But we’re going to write an article about it to make it seem edgy even if it’s not the truth because we’re sooo put upon by it. So, crack open a La Croix, take a pull off your vape, and straighten your beanie, kids.

Seems to be a common tactic by new media practitioners like VICE. A trite attitude of “Let’s write about nothing and amplify the non existent outrage surrounding it in attempt to make ourselves seem relevant”…how droll.

Don’t worry, their other staff writers will publish an article tomorrow expressing exactly the opposite opinion. Because controversy is hip. Because it’s “cool” to be lost and disenfranchised with the world around you.

And hey, don’t let it harsh your buzz if you miss either of these not-articles, they’ll re-re-publish them ad nauseum for the next three years as though their audience was made up of ravenous coprophagiacs.

Is this what modern journalism has come to? A slice of life that you’d just as soon slice your wrists rather than read? How many more stories about the revival of the bohemian lifestyle,filled with blurry poor quality photos are we going to tolerate? It’s not art, it’s not journalism – it’s shite.

It’s noise to fill the space and fill the page, to quell the quotas with the required number of likes and comments to drive engagement and draw your attention, sadly just like this article is.

How ironic.

But! At least we’re not doing it with malice, a preconceived intent to delude, or some strange need to stir up derision within our audience in order to bolster said previously mentioned ROI stats.

We do it for the love of writing. We do it because we hope you love reading it.

Creating content with no other reason than to rile is petulant. It’s self serving and furthermore, as a publication, it’s the absolute lowest hanging fruit. It’s an insult to your audience unless they’re gluttons for punishment and enjoy reading as a painful past time. We’re small time and even we can grok this fact.

It can’t be denied though, in part it’s such an easy target because everyone lately seems so anxious to be offended by something. People look for fault like there is a reward for finding it – especially when it’s anywhere but in their own pocket. That’s partially human nature, but it’s also something that’s been groomed into our culture.

So how do we fix it?
Truly it’s a difficult thing to take on, as many people seem to actually want to be offended. We turned to our subversive soldiers online to ask them what they thought might bring a solution and as always they had some good ideas on where we might start.

The biggest, most frequently suggested fix is to just listen. Not listening with the sole purpose to reply, waiting for your turn to talk, but listen with the intent to hear.
People are going to get offended, you are going to get offended, and sometimes you’ll even be the offender but by hearing more accurately we can engage on a more genuine level before misunderstandings even begin.

Ultimately, it may be too great of a tide to turn. Somewhere along the line as a society we decided it was okay to be downright outraged by inconsequential things. Furthermore that having some “proof” of that offense (real or imagined) gives those emotions superior validity over another person’s equally cherry-picked “proof”.
And who is more valid? The one who shouts the loudest, the one who snarks the most, the one with the most links to snopes?

No. That only fuels the fires.

We need to teach people how to breathe. To calm down. To center themselves enough to ask if the thing they are outraged about even matters – as in the end so very little does, after all.

Ask yourself, in 10, 50, or 100 years will anyone even remember this thing you are letting rule your emotions or who you even were at all? Not very likely. So why stress?

Don’t let trivial things shape your reality – much less the trivial things others are offended about. And remember, save the fucks you have to give for magical things for things that really matter.

Leave a Reply