Frequently I see the challenge to outrage on blogs or even occasionally in print media. It goes something like this: Group A has been very outraged by X, the horror of which is minimized by the writer. The writer describes something that outrages him or her, surely much more horrible than X, and wonders if Group A will be duly outraged by this new thing. If they don’t, they are inconsistent and possibly morally reprehensible.
I’m not really aiming this at anyone in particular. I’m certainly guilty of this very behavior. The idea is that we have to expend appropriate amounts of outrage and the various bad things that happen. Our outrage should balance, and will say something about our true moral beliefs. A lack of expressed outrage is sometimes taken as an indication that someone secretly approves of the horrifying action, or perhaps is totally apathetic.
Well, I’m resigning from this little game. I think it’s silly. I cannot be outraged about all the outrageous things that go on in the world. There are simply too many. I cannot express my outrage at all the things that do outrage me. Time at the keyboard would fail me.
Many different things go into personal outrage, a personal connection being the most important. Other factors also enter into writing about such outrage. There are a number of issues that have angered me a great deal, but yet have not moved me to write. Often this is because I can’t think of anything to say that I feel would be constructive. In other cases, I don’t believe I can gather enough facts to back up whatever I say. (Sometimes that doesn’t stop me!) At other times I feel that so many people have expressed themselves on an issue that anything I might say would be superfluous.
So when I express outrage at something here, it means nothing more or less than it says. It doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that annoys me at the moment. It doesn’t mean that I think other issues on which I have not commented are unimportant. It doesn’t mean that I have created a hierarchy of outrage, and am now blogging through the top 10. If you challenge me to outrage so as to prove my sincerity, I’ll evaluate it in the same way. If you think this makes me insincere, well, that’s you’re problem.
Enjoy being outraged! 🙂