Seems like a lot of the populace is in a permanently bad mood :-) Tetchy. Cantankerous. Hair-trigger. Ratty. Call it what you will.... we see it all the time online, in the casual way that random strangers dump on each other, on celebrities... no wonder people post so many fluffy kitty pictures, it's about the only content that isn't a lightning rod for uncalled-for boorish rudeness and/or disproportionate displays of anger.

Maybe the background outrage level is contributing to the culture of rudeness; or maybe the culture of rudeness is contributing to everyone's background outrage level; but no matter whether it's chicken or egg, this is a vicious cycle not a virtuous one, and we've all seen how fast it gets ugly. It's quite possible to express all kinds of feelings, including critique, even including anger or dismissal, without the fever and froth and name-calling of excessive outrage. When we start shouting, we usually stop thinking :-)

I was watching some historical footage recently (a doco on the life and times of Roy Cohn); in one clip, Roy Cohn and Gore Vidal appeared on the same talk show. The two men absolutely loathed each other; yet they were civil, urbane, and dignified throughout. They didn't allow their mutual outrage to trigger a panic attack and a meltdown. They didn't slip into schoolyard verbal abuse or throwing things. It was nostalgic viewing.

I appreciated this essay, thanks.

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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