First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out. Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out. Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out. Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me. And there was no one left to speak for me.
Anonymous fanatics on Twitter have influenced the media once again. The outrage mob has struck once more. This time the victim is Chris Rock. His crime? Tweeting a link to an article (about comedy) from a conservative news site.
Chris Rock, who, as a comedian, has said his fair share of (occasionally hilarious) offensive things—in this case, he didn't say anything offensive in the slightest.
Like the Shapiro and Duplass situation, this whole outrage started with an act of comradery. The article itself is well-meaning:
"He isn't there to blow the lid off of any hot stories, or try to present his own politics as the only way," the author writes. "He simply has coffee with people he finds funny, and they discuss, well, whatever they feel like."
The mere act of mentioning this whole debacle empowers the idiocy that drives this mentality. We have to dismantle the outrage platform. How long is Twitter going to serve as the cultural gallows? More importantly, when is the power of anonymous people online going to dwindle?
How many of these forest fires of outrage have actually accomplished anything positive?
It's something I examine in Addicted to Outrage, and I think it's important that we as a culture confront the bully mentality that social media has taken, which is deeply rooted in our culture of outrage.
And, you know what, the media is to blame. If the media stopped amplifying the platform, no one would feel empowered enough to take down people, to wreck their lives—and for what? How many of these forest fires of outrage have actually accomplished anything positive? Very few. Most of them only divide our country further. And we certainly don't need that.