As I have thought more about it, the reason I reacted as I did to the Brock Turner rape story was because I didn’t feel outraged when I first heard about it. My reaction when the story came across — “Can you believe this white college jock only got six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman in a dumpster?” — was 1. “Well, that’s sh-tty.” and 2. “What are they *not* telling me?” But it was never. “OMG! I’m furious! Where can I sign a petition? What’s the judge’s email so I can send him anonymous death threats?”
Which I guess is how I was supposed to react. I recognized the injustice of the situation, but, try as I might, I just couldn’t summon the will to get that pissed off about it. And then I realized, it wasn’t just that. I wasn’t able to get outraged by anything anymore.
I wasn’t outraged by tranny bathrooms, I just thought they were a symptom of society’s ongoing detachment from reality. I wasn’t outraged when they shot Harambe the gorilla; just annoyed at the stupidity that followed. I think I was a little outraged by Donald Trump’s campaign , but then I was like, “What’s the point? Whatever.” I wasn’t even outraged when the story came across of ISIS burning the Yazidi girls to death. My reaction was, “That’s freakin’ terrible. Those freakin’ savages deserve to die. Why haven’t we killed them all.” But there wasn’t any strong emotion behind the thought. My ability to feel outrage at Hillary and Obama is long gone.
I think my ability to feel outrage is just plain gone.
Maybe I’ve been asked to feel outrage about so much so often that my ability to feel outrage is just “Pfft.”
Suppose I had been outraged by the Brock Turner case. What would that accomplish? What would that benefit anyone? What would that benefit the victim? What would that benefit me?
Is there any point to showing outrage except to demonstrate that “I am outraged by this and that demonstrates I have superior social standing over those that are not outraged.”
Maybe what lies beyond knee-jerk outrage is the place where you calmly examine both sides and reach a position that, while not emotionally satisfying, seems reasonable. Reasonable analyses are not very popular, these days, because they are not emotionally gratifying. Yet, true emotional gratification in anything is as elusive as Robert Denby. People chase emotionally gratifying conclusions; most of which do not involve resolving the issue so much as lashing out at people they didn’t like before the issue even became an issue. After lashing out, and sometimes even after punishing the people they hate, they discover they are still not happy. This just makes them more angry. And it’s easier for politicians to keep us outraged than it is solve problems anyway. Besides, social media clicks are not generated by level-headed analysis.
I don’t expect the world to become more reasonable; not in my lifetime. There’s too much crazy, and too many people willing to accommodate crazy. I’m just gonna live by the credo “Not my monkeys, not my circus.”
And next week, when whatever thing we are supposed to be outraged about happens, I’ll be ready.