These days (a phrase that suggests an oldie harping back to a non-existent golden era!) it seems outrage is being commercialised. Clickbait use targeted headlines to raise the emotions – emotional topics are more likely to be shared, and get more eyes on those all important ads. But this has always been the case – Fleet Street had the rule, “If it bleeds, it leads” long before the internet – outrage sold newspapers too.
Dotty makes good points that if people get outraged over everything, events that merit genuine outrage will be diluted or lost in the noise. The problem is that outrage generates clicks and follows, important for influencers and media companies, so the emphasis for change isn’t on the content creators, it’s on us, the content users, to define our own criteria on what’s important, what justifies outrage, on what should be shared.
I felt the book was pretty well balanced, but Rachel Dolezal’s inclusion was too long, and, for me, off topic. She scammed her way into jobs and positions of trust on a lie – a white girl pretended she was black. Dotty argued that 10 million Americans changed their race category in the last census so Dolezal wasn’t unique in identifying as a different race, but it’s one thing to change from “Black” to “African American”, and a whole other thing to change from “White” to “Black”.
My final point is that Dotty claims this outrage is vast, but outrage is limited to certain mediums, i.e. Twitter. Yep, Dolezal hit the tabloids and Twittersphere for days, but serious newspapers with serious themes and a serious audience, gave it less credit – they reported the facts and moved on. Part of the problem is that Dotty is immersed in outrage, she seeks out those videos, she responds to tweets from Piers Morgan or Katie Hopkins, so she will see more outrage and fuel more outrage than people who don’t.
I left the book feeling that Dotty keeps standing in the swamp, keeps returning to the swamp, and then complains about being in a swamp…