outrageIn a recent article, blogger and author Tim Challies introduced me to a term that was new to me – outrage porn.  However, my awareness that I have engaged in bitter partisan arguments and demonization of others, including political and theological liberals, Muslims, and to a lesser but real extent, gays, has increased of late, and has made me introspective.

Friends whom I admire have challenged me on this fly in the ointment of my other pastoral attitudes and duties. Why do I spend perhaps too much time posting with disdain on Islamic violence, Obama’s foibles, or liberal economic theory?

Outrage Porn Defined

This provocative term is meant to alert us to the addictive and destructive nature of our obsession with the negative, and how we might be narrowing and warping our sense of reality, and engaging in these behaviors for unhealthy reasons.

Now, there may be reasons to be outraged, but the question is, are we actually responding properly to what’s going on, based on our own use of time and resources, are are we caught in a cycle of angry complaining that doesn’t help solve the problem? More on that later in the series. But for now, here are some symptoms that we might be unhealthily addicted to ‘outrage porn.’

Symptoms of Outrage Porn Addiction

Are you often…

  1. Extreme: known for posting articles that some consider extreme?
  2. Provocative: regularly accused of posting articles that are unkind, unbalanced, or designed to provoke?
  3. Inexperienced: criticize groups that you have little direct experience or interaction with?
  4. Outside: criticize groups you don’t have membership in?
  5. Despising: despise people you are criticizing?
  6. Uninvolved: have little or no education, experience, or leadership role with the subject, group, or industry (i.e. armchair quarterbacking)?
  7. Not Part of the Solution: have no associated real-world comittment to solving the problem you are complaining about?
  8. Angry: sound angry all the time?
  9. Disintegrated: Do people notice a disconnect between who you are in person and who you are online?
  10. Reactive: notice that you overreact to certain topics?

With that in mind, future posts in this series will cover WHY we enjoy outrage porn, and what we ought to do instead with our outrage.