People have been tweeting me links to some revolting news stories lately. Whenever they do so in future, they will be referred here.
Inflammatory news stories follow a pattern like this:
- Person says or does really offensive thing.
- Thing is reported, in the name of keeping the public informed.
- Outrage follows.
- Offending person pretends to be traumatized by all the outrage, while proudly displaying all the negative comments received.
- Public is annoyed into making even more negative comments.
- Offensive person gets a book deal/gallery show/TV interview/undeserved fame.
- Offensive person wins. Public loses.
It’s really easy to find ourselves being drawn into situations like this, because most of us do our best to avoid negative attention. When someone does something that bothers us, our first instinct is to express our feelings about it. We think that the wrongdoer will be chastised and mend his or her ways. This is because we’re not trolls and we don’t think the way they do.