(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
Outrage seems to be our biggest export these days, despite what the latest financial report on the United States economy might say. We’re mad about seagulls being offensive, we’re mad about the war on Christmas trees. Somebody said something using a nickname that was once used in the 1940s to describe turnips. Somebody did something offensive when they were 20-years old. Don’t buy something from a company because their CEO goes big game hunting. Don’t watch that show because the star is a member of a starfish cult.
This is momentum that has been building for several years now, but people seem to be gleefully willing to call out anyone and anything for what they feel is a perceived issue. While some of it is warranted, as seeing some real scumbags like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey go down, there have been some whoppers of calling out ridiculousness.
Now, my particular criticism doesn’t have to tie into any specific type of movement, just how we tend to operate in digital social spaces now. People seem to be looking for things that offend or drive them off the rails for the only reason being to earn some points in “calling people out.”
Being a college professor these days can be extremely difficult as if they say anything that is outside the various campus safe spaces of speech patterns, students can call them out either on social media or colleges have even come up with ways for students to anonymously report their professors to the higher ups. This understandably has created an environment of mistrust, tension and mini McCarthyism.
I myself have said multiple times “Well, when you consider a certain topic, you have to look at this factor, but you really can’t say that publicly because you will get called out on it.”
Social media has created an army of keyboard monsters ready to leap onto somebody’s back and tear them apart for daring to have a different opinion. This has gone to ridiculous lengths and craziness. Look at what some pro-wolf groups have done online in terms of threats towards Washington Department Fish and Wildlife officers for carrying out their agency’s wolf management policies. These policies were set in cooperation with wolf advocacy groups, making the whole thing even crazier.
But I guess it’s okay to threaten people if it’s for a nebulous cause, right?
This goes both ways. Despite nearly everyone in America seemingly celebrating Christmas and the Santa machine taking over society from Halloween on, we still have this “War on Christmas” where people hop online and call out Starbucks for their coffee cups. I think Christmas is alive and well, folks.
It’s a toxic environment, where you can score points for your “team” by scrutinizing every move by the other team and calling them out for the most benign of things. Political headlines are abound that show this football battle of controversy and intrigue while the things that actually affect your everyday life are swept under the rug.
We have sucked the fun out of everyone because people are so quick to point out even small flaws in other people’s actions regardless of the intent, context, actual effect on other people and most importantly, without understanding the entire story.
What bugs me the most about the people doing the calling out is usually they only showcase a small slice of the pie, framing the story in a way they can score the maximum amount of outrage points among their own peers. This is why we have such a gap between different viewpoints of people, so much that we’re living in different realities. Keep in mind that despite the perception, the people doing the calling out are a very small chunk of the overall population.
If there is a serious issue with someone, by all means let’s get that info out there, but we’ve reached a point of ridiculousness here.
Most people just want to live their lives, don’t have ill will towards others and are like the rest of us: human.
All “call out culture” intends to do is take hold of a narrative, drive it into everybody’s face and really provide no solutions. Think to yourself what real positive solutions have been presented in our social consciousness in the past 10 years? Not many compared to the hordes of outrage gremlins that we should stop feeding after midnight.