Friday, July 7, 2017

Rahm Emanuel, the New York Daily News, and "outrage porn"

Sculpture by Damien Hirst, (Palazzo Grassi, Venice)

     The voicemail system at the Chicago Sun-Times takes messages up to 6 minutes long. I know this because some guy phones me late at night and fills up three or four messages.
     He’s been calling for years. I used to listen. Now I dump it the moment I hear his opening sneer: “Mister Steinberg, your ‘column’ is the typical li. . . .” Some people speak so you can hear both italics — a drawl dripping sarcasm — and quote marks: an incredulous stutter-step. Delete, delete, delete.
     While I’m all for hearing other perspectives, “you stink,” isn’t exactly a road map for self-improvement.
     Then again, a guy doesn’t leave 20 minutes of grumbling abuse for my benefit, but for his. It must satisfy him somehow.
     There’s a term, “outrage porn,” that seems a handy concept for understanding much that passes for discourse lately. Like porn porn, outrage porn offers up not real life but a fun-house-mirror parody of real life. Life distorted to reflect the users’ fantasies. Outrage porn serves up pat little vignettes of indignation to get the reader excited, leading to the release of full-throated condemnation. Unlike porn porn, outrage porn is not a private vice but one you invite your friends to share.

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  1. The poor widdle snowflakes in NYC can't stand when someone from another city tells the truth about their falling apart subway system.
    CTA may be smaller, but at least the signal system works & we don't have many failures of the rolling stock.
    Rahm was correct when he said you first fix what you already have before you expand the system. He's put the Far South Side extension of the Red Line on hold until the Far North Side existing Red Line is finally brought up to snuff, which it certainly isn't, considering all the slow zone north of Lawrence, with the extreme slow zone at Granville.

  2. Outrage porn: a product of tribalism in the information age.

  3. I can easily understand the appeal of "outrage porn," as I often find myself coming to conclusions about matters I know very little about -- "How can they do that shit!" is often my first response to a headline. Fortunately, I've reached an age where everything, including outrage, has slowed down and I generally find that the facts after the headline don't warrant my initial reaction. But, darn, it does feel so damned good to be so right when everybody else is so wrong.


  4. Emanuel can indeed be restrained. I remember when Rick Perry, then governor of Texas, came here to try to steal businesses. Emanuel refrained from tweeting, "Sure, go to Texas--just make sure you're not too close to any fertilizer plants!"

    1. Yes. He might have quoted Civil War general Phil Sheridan: "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell."


  5. "Outrage porn, like porn porn, is ultimately deadening, boring." True, but the worst kind of porn is eagerly being soaked up right now by so many, and I'm speaking of "Trump porn". The most vile, offensive and untruthful "reality" has become believable. Now that is scary...



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