Turning off the outrage
September 1, 2014 10:12 PM   Subscribe

How do I deal with my constant sense of outrage at things happening in the world? It's starting to take a toll on my health and stress levels.

The amount of things that have happened during the summer of 2014 that are worth getting incredibly upset about keep piling up. Ferguson, Elliot Rodger, Hobby Lobby, gamers, Gaza, it never quite ends. And I think it will only get worse. If you care about these issues and have passionate views on them, they can be incredibly upsetting to read up on and engage with online. (There's also a rapidly growing internet industry that counts on my and others' constant concern for its success, and I sometimes wonder whether I'm being manipulated by it.) This summer in particular has felt like endless social justice frustration for me, and I feel more stressed out and tensed up about it than ever before. I fear I'm becoming a less fun and easygoing person as a result. Anger and frustration with the status quo can be a useful force for change, but I don't think my particular outrage is doing much to benefit anyone. I can count on one hand the number of people whose minds I've changed. Meanwhile, I think the compounded stress and time spent reading this stuff is harming my life. On one hand I want to disengage (but I don't even know how.) And on the other hand, a voice is telling me that not engaging is equivalent to apathy and "siding with the bad guys," so to speak. There's also another voice telling me that I have the privilege and luxury to turn it off, while others don't. I'm not sure. I need to figure out how to navigate all this and give myself some peace of mind.
posted by naju to Society & Culture (35 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Twitter is worth mentioning too, by the way. At least with the accounts I'm following, it often feels like an always-on, 24/7 social justice machine, and I wonder if that's becoming a problem.
posted by naju at 10:16 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think the only way to cope is to not consume it.

I was visiting my mom over the weekend and her friend called up all OUTRAGED that some shooting had gone on in town. "Didn't you see the news? How could you possibly miss the news? You have to go watch it NOW." We had literally just woken up, but how dare we not know this information. For fuck's sake.

Seriously, lay off the social media or block the "social justice warriors" or something, but the only way to get some peace is to not follow every damn detail.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:23 PM on September 1, 2014 [9 favorites]

On one hand I want to disengage (but I don't even know how.) And on the other hand, a voice is telling me that not engaging is equivalent to apathy and "siding with the bad guys," so to speak.
Consider what you're trying to accomplish by following the news in the first place. You probably want to stay informed about what's going on in the world. I think the problem with today's twitter-ified news media is this idea that we're told we need to be "part of the conversation" when in a lot of cases we're more like helpless observers watching history unfold inexorably and commenting on the issue at hand is not really constructive no matter how much we want it to be. I guess my thesis is that the sense of outrage comes from the way news media is presented to us and that to accomplish what you're describing might require that you begin by questioning the supposed value of "social media" in general.
posted by deathpanels at 10:23 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have a hobby (choir, but type of hobby doesn't matter) with weekly meetings that is positive and not dependent upon world / political realities. I take breaks. I try to make a difference on the issues I care about within the realm of my possible action. Even then, "sound and fury, signifying nothing" is often my world view these days in light of many items on your list and several additional topics of crisis and brutality.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:31 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thanks for bringing this up, naju, it's something I've been grappling with for almost exactly the same reasons. I'm really hopeful that this time will go down in the books as particularly bad, and that we'll make a turn for the better...but that doesn't really answer your question. There's 3 things I've been working on, and hopefully they help you:

1.) Inspired by NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, my partner and I have a chat every sunday about "what's making you happy this week?". It's really useful to consciously focus on sources of happiness and joy, especially when the sources of pain are so much more obvious and common. There is still good in the world, and its worth talking about.

2.) The semi-mantra that I've developed is: "tend my own garden". You can be aware of the world while still focussing on the things that you control. You're not big enough to save Gaza or Ferguson or to make the internet not misogynistic. You just aren't. Neither am I. But we can volunteer at a shelter, or build community with our neighbors, or listen to a friend who's hurting. Tending to the things that are within your power isn't hiding from the world- it's engaging on an individual-appropriate scale.

3) Meditate, and work on mindfulness. I don't know if you have ever had anything in the way of a meditative practice, but I would highly recommend it, especially for the problems you describe. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about this point.
posted by DGStieber at 10:34 PM on September 1, 2014 [43 favorites]

Building on what others have said, my approach is to pick one or two things I'm going to be doing something about -- things I can realistically have an impact on, working with a small cohort. I follow those issues as needed to do work on those things, and then I give myself permission to tune the rest out. My golden rule for many years was to follow news, or at least upsetting news, only to the extent that I could do something meaningful about it. (Signing an online petition doesn't count.) That long break was very helpful and changed the way I relate to the news. For many years, almost all news was upsetting, but now I want to read the news because it's interesting. Sometimes it's positive and sometimes it's negative, but it's outside of me in a way that feels healthy (given that we're talking about major geopolitical events). I find myself more quickly asking how I can help than I did back when I read everything there was to read on everything bad that happened. I also mentioned above working on an issue or two with a small cohort of people, and I think it's valuable to move as much of your advocacy offline as possible. Any effort will have ups and downs, and it feels much more healthy to celebrate or gnash teeth with people at a bar near city hall than at home on the Internet. Last thing, work on your overall well being as much as you can. Whatever you do to build a happy, healthy, well-balanced life will also help with this. Good luck.
posted by salvia at 10:57 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: There are anxiety pimps and outrage pimps, mainly in the mainstream media. These are people who use anxiety, or outrage, to get your attention and to manipulate you. For anxiety pimps the easiest target is your children, which is why you see headlines like "Here's the secret danger which could kill your daughter if you don't know about it, see below."

And outrage pimps do the same thing. They are trying to manipulate you, just like manipulative advertising. Like most of us you probably have a well-established bullshit detector at this point and aren't influenced to any great extent by advertising hyperbole. Now you need to broaden it to include the outrage pimps.

The place to start is to realize that there really are a lot of people out there who are actively trying to make you mad, as a form of recruitment, in order to control you. It's just as cynical as advertising, and once you accept that, you've already begun to defend yourself.

"Why are they trying to make me mad about this?" Before you get mad, ask that question. A lot of times you'll realize that you're being manipulated, and then you can spite them by refusing to get outraged.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:58 PM on September 1, 2014 [16 favorites]

(There's also a rapidly growing internet industry that counts on my and others' constant concern for its success, and I sometimes wonder whether I'm being manipulated by it.)

That's basically what does it for me. I ask myself who my outrage benefits. It sure as hell isn't the poor victims of these situations.
posted by Team of Scientists at 11:02 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have a few simple rules I try to live by... not always successfully. But when I stick to them, it helps me feel like I'm making some small progress toward living in a way that feels a little more meaningful.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

1. Try to accept your limits (and the limits of those around you).

There is only so much you can do in this world. I don't like the Hobby Lobby decision but it's not as if my outrage is going to change anything about it. And it's not as if it's going to be overturned or changed any time soon, either, given how the Supreme Court works. I can do some small things to make my voice heard, and I can take some personal actions and personal stands, and that's what I can do. And I can hope that many others will do the same, and someday we'll see a change.

Furthermore, there are only so many things I can care about in this world. Humans don't multitask very well, if at all. Most of us can only really handle a handful of close relationships in our lives. We can't be friends to everyone or do everything or even be good at more than a few skills at a time.

Along the same lines, we can't care about everything. Choosing to pick our battles means that we're accepting our limitations, which is a wise thing. That's not apathy... it's the opposite, in fact.

2. If you truly care about it, then do something about it.

If you care about the Hobby Lobby decision, then write a letter to your congressional delegates. Write to your state representatives. Write to the President. Donate to Planned Parenthood or another organization that provides care to women. Donate to campaign groups that support candidates who take a stand for women's rights.

Now, if you choose not to do something about it, then you really must not care about it. In that case, let it go. Outrage for outrage's sake is pointless. (And you and I do have the resources to do something about the things we truly care about, as evidenced by the fact that we have the resources to be on the web posting here on our free time.)

3. Get off the internet if you decide to "do something."

"Activism" on the internet can often take two forms.

First, passionate users often jump into the fray and debate. But unfortunately, few things are more pointless and Sisyphean than engaging in a debate with some other anonymous internet user. The chances that you'll change hearts and minds are miniscule, if that (even lower than the chances that you'll change the hearts and minds of people you know personally, which is already pretty tiny odds and an almost equally foolish use of time).

People develop their ideas and opinions gradually over time, thanks to their upbringing and environment. Jim3299 isn't going to change Assmaster68's mind on the spot just because he made a passionate plea for Assmaster to stop buying Israeli products, or because he told Assmaster that they are accomplices to murder for supporting X/Y/Z side in a conflict. There are better uses of your time and your resources.

Second, passionate users often jump into echo chamber environments to share their outrage. Again, quite pointless. "Wow, don't misogynists suck?" "Yeah, what pieces of excrement." "Ugh, I can't stand this problem in our society." "Yeah? Well I can't stand it even more." What's the point of this conversation other than back-patting? When people mock Tumblr and "SJWs" or "internet activists" et al, it seems they're often mocking this sort of echo chamber. It accomplishes nothing other than people riling each other up and competing to be the most outraged, or to have the wittiest response to an outrageous topic.

4. Anger is often useless, and even quite harmful.

It's a really wasteful emotion in my opinion (even though I'm unfortunately often a very angry person). "Motivated" is a better response and a better emotion as it leads to doing something to help people. I hear about something I think is wrong, unfair, unjust? I try to be motivated to do something about it.

But being "outraged" or "angry" leads nowhere, helps nobody, and often even makes you less likely to be heard.

Hope these ideas at least give you some food for thought. You may agree or disagree, but I'm just trying to share my perspective. Hope it helps!
posted by Old Man McKay at 11:10 PM on September 1, 2014 [6 favorites]

Relevant Metafilter post.

See especially Kattullus' comment.
posted by logicpunk at 11:21 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have two go to books I read at such moments. One is How Can I Help which explores charitable work and activism, and our motivations, good and bad, for being involved.

The other is Howard Zinn's You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train. This one be a use it is inspiring, but not because Zinn himself is famous, because of all the ordinary people doing their bit where they can for justice. And all the small successes, and the warmth, and caring among the people he meets. I find this book a good rindef that a movement is about many many people doing their bit, not a single person doing it all. In fact, a solo activist is not building community, so not as effective. And with that in mind treasure the "non activist" things you do that build community, because communit is the point, after all: to buld a community worth living in, together, and to remind each other that we are all human and worthy of dignity. This community needs activism, but it also needs art, and community sports leagues, and neighborhood pot lucks, and coffee shops, and homes with gardens... And whatever it is that makes you enjoy life.
posted by chapps at 11:26 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two things that helped me to move from outrage to anger and from anger to action.

(1) developing an intellectual framework to help me understand why I'm outraged. I read quite a bit on philosophy and ethics and economics, and this helped me understand more deeply why particular events upset me (to take Gaza as an example, once I would have been outraged by GAAH BAD ISRAEL COLONIALISTS, now I'm angry because Gaza to me represents a refusal by one group to recognise the humanity and right to peaceful existence of another).

(2) from above intellectual framework, being able to link common threads between all the things I was outraged about, and make sure that I behave in a way that reflects what I think. So taking Gaza as an example again, it's not enough for me to say "oh I think colonialism is wrong", I try to behave in a way to all people that recognises their humanity and their right to a peaceful existence; and I try to talk about those issues in that way. I can draw a mental link between how refusing to recognise poeple's right to exist manifests in Gaza, in harassing women online, and in Ferguson and see it therefore as not just a series of outrageous incidents but as a way that humans behave that I don't agree with.

This sounds preachy and virtuous I know, and I want to emphasise that I can't do it all the time. But it is something that I'm working on and it has helped me to find a more calm and considered way of dealing with the world.
posted by girlgenius at 12:46 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

A couple of decades ago I had a conversation with my brother-in-law and we agreed that the less media [then just news] that we consumed the better we felt. And not that we were being ingnorant but that eyeballs are the goal for any media organizations and if it bleeds it leads.

To add to the statement above, "But unfortunately, few things are more pointless and Sisyphean than engaging in a debate with some other anonymous internet user." there is a well known tendency toward an intellectual purity test that ends up being more exclusive than inclusive.
posted by vapidave at 2:47 AM on September 2, 2014

Just to nth what some others have already said: I try my best to change / have a positive impact on those things within my little sphere of existence. That's the phrase my husband and I use pretty frequently; "my sphere of existence." I might have even picked that up from somebody else on MeFi. We use it in a lot of different contexts (work, world events) when we don't necessarily have control over everything that's happening, and it helps us focus our mental and emotional energy and efforts on the things we CAN control and improve.

So like, I can't fix Gaza, but I can help my neighbor fix her mailbox.

Also nth-ing turning your media consumption way, way down.
posted by ladybird at 3:33 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't get like you do but I've observed over the years internet activism and its pitfalls. It makes you feel like you're making a difference when you most certainly aren't. A lot of internet ourage is about commiserating with like-minded individuals, but unless you're organizing to actually take action it's nothing but an intellectual exercise.

Another thing - you don't need to know everything that happens the moment it happens. It's okay to find about something a few hours later or the next day. Unless it's a local matter, a time delay isn't going to affectanything. Being plugged in 24/7 is just another way the internet makes you feel better about doing nothing.

So research how you can really help, not just what feels important at the time but helps the situation in the most micro of ways, if at all
posted by Aranquis at 5:06 AM on September 2, 2014

Support people and charities that will do the work for you. Then leave it to them and find something that makes you happy.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:29 AM on September 2, 2014

It sounds like you may be suffering from the outrage version of Cyborg Deer Syndrome. You might benefit from taking a break from it all via a temporary media fast to get your head clear before making a deliberate plan about how much you're going to let back into your life and how you're going to deal with it when you do.

Once your fast is over and you find yourself needing a way to relieve yourself of the anger so you can function in life, I recommend turning to bouts of intense physical exercise, e.g., running or hitting/kicking a heavy bag. It does something biochemical to your brain that burns off the anger and lingering bag feelings.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:03 AM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's not worse, it just feels like it's worse because it's more immediate and present. There are long, long histories of humanitarian crises, social injustice and of war. Each is unrelenting.

Every now and then I have a profoundly sad and angry The World Hates Women day, and despair -- so I do empathise. But mostly the way I keep on keepin' on is by recognising where I can and can't make a difference, and choosing one thing at a time to really work on. While I can sign petitions, turn up at protests and make phone calls, I can't directly save the life of a woman stoned in Afghanistan; I can however wage all out war on a local tech conference with a wopping 13.4% women speakers. I recognize that means jack shit to a woman in Iran or Gaza or in 27,000 other places, but I also recognise my own limits, and that I can only do what I can do.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, this post was helpful to me today. Outrage is a lot like anxiety and indeed often combined with it. Neither is accomplishing anything on its own.
posted by BibiRose at 6:38 AM on September 2, 2014

I think the main thing that helps me is having a job that actively helps the world. Before that was the case, I felt much more overwhelmed by all the ways I was powerless. And my own job reminds me that just as I'm helping one person at a time, other people are out there helping other people or helping advance other worthwhile causes. It's helpful to remember I'm part of a big invisible network of people making the world better.

In the past, donating my time to one or two organizations also helped, so I don't think everyone needs a career change, just to spend some measurable part of their week actively helping improve things.

l only vent online or read articles online about social-justice issues when I find it interesting and engaging. If it feels overwhelming, I take a break. It's not totally on my shoulders to fix everyone else.

Self-care is vital. Even people who "can't turn it off" take breaks, and have fun, and spend time with loved ones. Grinding yourself down into a puddle of horror isn't good for you, isn't good for your loved ones who enjoy you, and doesn't help the world -- one more burned-out cynic isn't going to be able to do much good.
posted by jaguar at 7:12 AM on September 2, 2014

I've had the same problem for something like 20 years - some things that I've done lately that have helped:

1. Reduce digital media consumption overall - I don't want to be oblivious, but I can't manage my life effectively or even do anything substantive (write a letter, plan to go to a demonstration, sit down and figure out who to donate money to) if I'm in a sputtering rage. I listen to podcasts on my commute, check Twitter and my RSS reader over lunch, and that's it. It takes discipline, but it has paid off in peace of mind and in my ability to act. Just consuming less - regardless of content - in itself takes reduces my level of stress (as you point out, the medium itself is part of the problem).

2. Reminding myself regularly that things (w/the exception of climate change) have always been this bad. The visibility of the litany of disasters that constitute the human experience has increased, but not the level of brutality, grief, ignorance, etc. Buddhists have been saying "life is suffering" for over 2000 years, with good cause.

3. Use Tweetdeck and my RSS feeder (I use Newsblur) to break political news into columns / folders that can periodically be hidden altogether when I really need a break. It's OK to just switch off for a bit now and then and immerse yourself in information that simply gives you pleasure - this isn't the same as willful ignorance. I know several (20+ year) professional organizers on very difficult issues and each of them does this periodically just to stay sane.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:25 AM on September 2, 2014

I agree with others that suggest donating money. I think part of the frustration with these things is a feeling of helplessness, of not being able to do anything to make the situation better. Donating to organizations that address these issues feels like taking a concrete action to help improve it in the future.
posted by Librarypt at 7:27 AM on September 2, 2014

Recalibrating your outrage meter and prioritizing the things to which you devote your attention based on (1) what's most important and, (2) what you can do something about might be helpful.

You mention "Ferguson, Elliot Rodger, Hobby Lobby, gamers, Gaza" all in the same breath as things "that are worth getting incredibly upset about," but one of these things is mostly people being nasty online and another is thousands of civilians, including children, being killed by one of the best equipped militaries in the modern world.
posted by jingzuo at 8:32 AM on September 2, 2014

I think it was a comment I read somewhere here on Metafilter that helped me the most, but I don't remember the specific place. It was the concept that we actually consume media and just like any other commodity we consume, we should be much more mindful of what we allow into our personal space. I had never really thought of it that way, that I was a consumer of media just like I was a consumer of food. I give a lot of thought to what I put in my body, but not much to what I allow into my mind and thought process and my personal space.

I was reminded of when my kids were small, we did limit their television time, and my daughter says she was the only kid in elementary school who did not watch tv in the mornings. It's the same concept. Too much negativity leaves less room for positive living, and you do have the power to choose how and when you consume that.

I'm now known among my friend as the person who doesn't allow negativity in my home. I am always there to help with problems, but I don't do gossip and drama. I don't get involved with politics on facebook, but I really enjoy bringing lots of different types of people together in my home. I can't turn a blind eye to what's happening in other parts of the world, but I try to counteract the evil by doing good stuff here locally at home. I've accepted that there is only so much I can do, and I've chosen to make a difference in my own neighborhood and community.

More practically, I've set very specific time slots to "consume my media" and I try very hard to stick to that schedule. That includes social media and internet time.
posted by raisingsand at 8:32 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was you. I was furious all the time, about all the things. And I was utterly exhausted, and making myself physically ill. I had to turn it off.

Believe me, if something BIG and NEWSWORTHY that you need to know about happens, you'll hear about it. You'll see it all over Facebook and Metafilter and Tumblr and Reddit and Twitter and wherever. You don't have to go seek it out. I have a friend who's a total news junkie, and I can go to him and say "Ok, I'm seeing a lot of #Ferguson and #IAmMikeBrown on Facebook. Ten words or fewer, go." He'll use 10 words or fewer, and tell me what happened.

Should I get a wild hair and want to know what's going on with women's issues, or LBGT rights, or African genocide, I know which friends to hit up on Facebook. And they know that with me, I just want a summary. I don't need the outrage-filter, vitriol filled rants. Just broad strokes.

Are there issues I'm very passionate about? You betcha. They're issues that have a direct impact on my life and the lives of my children. It's not that I don't care about all the other stuff; it's that I cared too much and had to develop some focus.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 10:02 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 to the "Tend your own garden". I think many people have been where you are.

You can worry about the world's problems or you can focus on your sphere of influence and being a better person. Outrage at every injustice will get you nothing but frustrated. Focus on that which you can do to make a difference.

But more than anything - turn off the noise.

I was an NPR junkie through my 20s but as I moved into my 30s I simply didn't have the bandwith for it any longer and I found that 90% of what I listened to was noise and just another part of the 'outrage machine', shrouded with its own unique cloak. I got too busy building a career and focusing my energies where they were most effective.

I received a great piece of advice from a very successful self-made man whom I worked for as a kid. He was originally headed for a career in the foreign service but quickly became disillusioned with it. Instead he went into business for himself, telling me: "I realized that the world was going to crush me before I had a chance to make any postive changes where I thought they mattered, so I shrank my sphere to that which I could control and have been happier for it."
posted by tgrundke at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

You mention "Ferguson, Elliot Rodger, Hobby Lobby, gamers, Gaza" all in the same breath as things "that are worth getting incredibly upset about," but one of these things is mostly people being nasty online and another is thousands of civilians, including children, being killed by one of the best equipped militaries in the modern world.

See, this is where I can empathise with things getting overwhelming for the OP. I actually think it's a spectacularly poor idea to indulge in blanket outrage hierarchy. If everyone did that, we'd all be focused on Gaza and nobody would give a shit about Hobby Lobby. It's totally fine for you to decide that's obviously the most important issue and that that is where you'll focus your attention and action, but there is no universal ratings system.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cui bono? (who benefits?)

A simple little mantra that works for me.
posted by egk at 2:27 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

See, this is where I can empathise with things getting overwhelming for the OP. I actually think it's a spectacularly poor idea to indulge in blanket outrage hierarchy. If everyone did that, we'd all be focused on Gaza and nobody would give a shit about Hobby Lobby. It's totally fine for you to decide that's obviously the most important issue and that that is where you'll focus your attention and action, but there is no universal ratings system.

I notice that you picked Hobby Lobby to compare to Gaza instead of what I was clearly referring to in my post, which was OP's example of being outraged about "gamers."

Whether the Hobby Lobby issue is "worse" than Gaza is debatable. You'd have to look at a lot of factors that I have neither the time nor the training to consider, like the possible knock-on effects resulting from Hobby Lobby's victory in court.

But gamers engaging in bile-filled online interactions and Gaza are not on par with one another, one is objectively worse than the other, and to suggest that believing so is merely a personal quirk is hardly helpful to the OP.

I should reiterate my point (2), above, which is that it may be more fruitful to concentrate outrage on things you can personally affect. Gaza may be worse than another issue, but a given individual may have very little ability to do anything positive about it. In that case, it may be more helpful for that individual to concentrate outrage/energy/philanthropy/etc. somewhere else. Totally understandable.

But pretending that all of these things (and all of the other things that people get outraged about) are equally worthy of outrage is neither healthy nor rational.
posted by jingzuo at 3:13 PM on September 2, 2014

What Chocolate Pickle said. Funny enough, I first noticed it in special interest hobby magazines. A bicycle magazine's job is to make you anxious about your cycling so you'll buy more stuff to fix it. And then I realized it's the same for life in general. I believe an anxious public is one that buys more things, and if nothing else it's self-evident that the news media has to make everything seem like a cliffhanger to keep you watching so you'll watch more commercials. Stop watching.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:27 PM on September 2, 2014

And on the other hand, a voice is telling me that not engaging is equivalent to apathy and "siding with the bad guys," so to speak. There's also another voice telling me that I have the privilege and luxury to turn it off, while others don't.

Oh man, I get that, I really do. But I can't let you listen to those little voices, they are bad and they are lying to you, because I know you are a super rad person and no amount of needing to shut off the misery machine of world media is going to change that. The fact that this little voices even exist is enough to prove them wrong. Any kind of detachment anyone needs to make in order to preserve their own mental health is pretty much always going to be okay.

As for actual self-preservation methods, I personally get a lot of satisfaction from mind-consuming silliness like Katamari and Little Big Planet. Also movies where lots of things explode, but on that obviously YMMV.
posted by elizardbits at 3:41 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: For the record, I don't think the gamer meltdown and what's happening in Gaza are in any way equivalent! I juxtaposed the two as a kind of gallows humor about what's going on this month. You know - "gamers, Gaza, everything!" I think they're both worth getting upset about. Especially since some of the people being attacked and doxxed by gamers at the moment are my friends. But equivalent? No way. I have a sense of proportion, don't worry.
posted by naju at 3:53 PM on September 2, 2014

The amount of things that have happened during the summer of 2014 that are worth getting incredibly upset about keep piling up. Ferguson, Elliot Rodger, Hobby Lobby, gamers, Gaza, it never quite ends. And I think it will only get worse.

I'm going to gently suggest that you are upset about something far closer to home, something you can effect and that affects you personally. Find out what that is.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 PM on September 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Firstly, you are getting sold to by the outrage industry. With reporting, bad news sells better than good, but pushing outrage is gold. Your species characteristic is to demand fairness, so if a media outlet of any stripe can show you an instance of someone or some group being treated in a grossly unfair manner, they can package it outrage and watch the hits roll in.

Secondly, don't take the "privilege" bait. If you are white in North America, yes, you will have better dealings with the police, banks, and many employers. But "privilege" has been taken up by the lazy as a rhetorical device. Can't win your argument with fact and logic? Just chastise your opponent for their "privilege." To people who peddle that bullshit, if you are not a poor, one-legged, transgendered Native American woman, you are wrong. Only she with the maximum amount of privilege can be pure and thus correct. This is plainly and simply people's ("activists") runaway egos at work.

Be kind. Don't hurt people. Don't treat people unfairly. If it is demonstrated logically that you are thinking or doing something unfair, change it. Otherwise, don't fall for the "privilege" manipulation. The way most internet warriors use it is born of a desire to win arguments, not any semblance of reality.

Now, how to deal with the sense of outrage? Sit quietly each day for 20 minutes and focus on your physical senses (pick one you can focus on easily). When thoughts of outrage (or anything else) come up, they are not your physical senses, so don't engage with them.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 6:19 AM on September 7, 2014

Your sense of outrage is more about you than the people suffering. That's what I've realized in my work in refugee camps. So basically get over yourself by doing constructive work for the vulnerable and realize the world is a multi-faceted terrible/good place.
posted by tarvuz at 7:03 PM on September 8, 2014

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