Digital Tantrums

There are two ways to get attention in this digital wonderland called the internet: do something worthwhile, or do something absurd. Rant, rail, and throw the kind of temper tantrum nobody will ever forget, and you gain an audience without even needing to achieve anything positive. Throw tantrums every day and you’ll soon be infamous.

Every two-year-old knows that foot-stomping wins an audience, and some people have never stopped putting that lesson into practice.  It’s little wonder that outrage culture is usually aimed at the top 10 list on K&P. If your goal is to gain attention, why rage at a post nobody will read when you can do it on a public platform already being watched by thousands of readers?

Anger is healthy, but if your default setting is outrage and offense, forgive me for hitting the block button. I’m not that kind of sycophant. I’ve no interest in turning your digital venom into notoriety. My fandom of one belongs to Mr_Cocky alone.

Consent activism and advocacy is admirable. I have the utmost respect for the people who engage in this kind of work.

Advocacy is not mockery and rage, though. That silences the very people it claims to support.

mirrormask

I’ve seen self-titled consent activists attack rape survivors and shame them for the way they spoke about their trauma. I’ve seen them overstep the limits of harassment law and break TOUs. All our fundamentalists do it under the guise of anything from feminism to men’s rights activism. This is not authentic advocacy. It’s an attempt to win infamy, and when this kind of outrage is pointed at trauma victims, it has incredible power to gaslight and silence people at a time when they need support the most.

I doubt there are many people on this planet who’d consciously use trauma victims as pawns in an ego game, and yet it happens constantly. Spitting fury online is so effective at gaining an audience that marketers use it to increase their profits.

I’ve stopped giving my attention to such people. I spent half of 2015 swallowing every word they typed, but these days, I question whether the anger I’m looking at is authentic or just a faux play for attention.

Outrage culture silences the most important cultural voices in our community. Offence is taken so furiously and consistently that writers lose the freedom to take creative risks. Satire? What’s that? I think it’s a genre that used to exist before people started spewing hate at it. Vulnerable writing by rape survivors and the like? We’re quickly learning not to bother with anything that risky because the thought police are out in full force waiting to pounce on the next poorly chosen word.

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