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In Defense of Outrage


Did you ever watch, listen to, or read something just so you could get mad at it? Just so you could feel a bit better about yourself? I know I do! All the time!

I was reading Destructoid site mascot Jonathan Holmes' fantastic column on what he calls "outrage culture." He brought up a lot of great points and I agreed with it for the most part, but I kept thinking to myself "but... getting mad is so fun!"

I don't have a lot to look forward to these days. I sleep, work, eat, clean, and then once in a while I get to settle down with a good anime or video game and relax for just a little bit. It all gets very monotonous. However, a quick dose of rage can make life a bit more exciting one in a while. Rage can get me out of bed in the morning! It's the same reason people like to get mad at villains in movies: it's enjoyable.

Let me use an example. Here is what is apparently a "best of" video for famous "Let's Play" YouTuber Pewdiepie:

If you're anything like me, your hate boner is at least at half mast. I couldn't even make it past the 3-minute mark before tapping out. "Does he honestly think he's funny?" I thought. "How does this has 25 million views? The only way this video would be any good is if it was 10 minutes of Pewdiepie just getting hit really heard in the the face repeatedly, like that guy from Beyond Outrage that they tied to a chair in front of a baseball pitching machine."

That was fun, right? However, after you're done being angry, there comes a time when reality has to kick in and you have to start understanding others. I think Pewdiepie is annoying, but a lot of people actually enjoy his videos and look forward to them. And Pewdiepie is really just a random guy who got lucky and gained a following on the internet from his stupid video game commentary. That fact shouldn't affect my life at all.

And this is the main problem with outrage on the internet. After all is said and done we have to realize that we're talking to other human beings, and there's a line between getting mad at something for shits and giggles and actually being hurtful.

It gets even worse with certain subsets of the internet. Many people get annoyed with all the talk of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs if you want to save a few seconds of typing). But there's actually a certain group of people that falls under the SJW umbrella that dedicates their time to finding things to get outraged at. Tumblr is filled to the brim with these people. And it wouldn't be a problem if all of it didn't bleed out into the rest of the internet.

Many news blogs like Gawker make a killing by harnessing this rage. They pick celebrity targets and find reasons for people to get mad at them. Sometimes they even get people fired and profit off of all of it. There are actual issue in the world that require peoples' attention, and Jerry Seinfeld not having enough women on his web show isn't one of them.

And the same goes the same for people who are outraged back at all the "SJW" stuff. This rage, combined with the original SJW rage, makes the internet just a bubbling toxic witches brew of anger, and it's not fun for anyone.

So here's the deal: Go ahead and get mad at stupid things once in a while. Chew on it for a while and savor it like delicious beef jerky, but don't forget to stay reasonable afterwards and not let the anger control your life. Sound good?

Thanks for reading!
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About Benny Discoone of us since 9:53 AM on 03.24.2013

My name is Benny. I work full time in a freak show eating live chickens, and I work part time as Brendan Fraser's scrotum cleanser.

I play video games sometimes, but most of the time I'm too poor and don't have enough free time. I still like talking about them though.