Making a mockery of mock outrage

In my role as editor of a left-leaning publication, I am very careful about drawing false equivalencies. I see this done far too often by other media outlets, and it turns my stomach. However there is one area where the left and right are equally egregious: the theater of mock outrage.

Whether it is Republicans taking issue with Hasbro dropping the “Mr.” from Potato Head, or Democrats seeking to cancel J.K. Rowling for supposedly being transphobic (which she isn’t), digging up things to throw false fits about makes me want to puke! Come on, we have enough real issues to be outraged about!

Hasbro has every right to do whatever they want regarding the names of their products because, you know, they are a private enterprise. By the way, one of the points Rowling has made is that lesbians are under no obligation to have sex with people who have penises… even if they identify as women! To cry discrimination over someone not consenting to have sex with you is ridiculous, and for someone with a penis to demand someone with a vagina to have sex with them is the definition of toxic masculinity, something liberals are supposed to be against.

I haven’t wanted to give air to these silly and all too public complaints, but when mock outrage leads to public bullying, as has been the case at many a school board meeting, I just have to say that it is time for a time out.

If you are going to talk publicly about something, whether it is critical race theory or vaccines, it might help to actually know what you are talking about.

First off, COVID vaccines do not cause infertility, do not embed a microchip, and do not rewrite a person’s DNA… if only! The people who think those things probably shouldn’t have kids, should be tracked, and could use an upgrade… by the way, I am joking!

Critical race theory has some people’s undies in a bunch, but if people weren’t getting all worked up about it, it would just be another dry chapter in a history book that only one third of the class is likely to read anyway. But some members of some school boards claim that they were taught that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery… WTF? I know these people know better. I was taught, in a public school, that slavery had quite a lot to do with the Civil War, and I know these people were taught the same thing. They are making up a tall tale to appeal to people with a proud tradition of racism. That is how some people run for office these days.

Public schools are not likely to teach Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility;” they are likely to teach the history of policies such as redlining and “stop and frisk.” These are things that should be taught. Students need to learn about how policy decisions get made, how they get changed, and how they don’t.

Then there is the issue of trans-girls participation in sports. Will they have an unfair advantage against others involved in girls’ sports? Yeah, probably. Is it discrimination to keep them from competing in girls’ sports? It doesn’t have to be. Why not allow trans-girls to play on girls teams when it is something like softball or volleyball, but give them their own category when it comes to solitary sports such as track and field. Note that little is ever said regarding trans-boys. Title IX offers little in the way of clarity on this issue, and having taught a college course in public speaking, I have heard so many other arguments involving Title IX’s ambiguity on various issues and it is all mock outrage. The consequences of any of this matter little in the grand scheme of things.

Can’t we just take a moment and appreciate the gains we have made in the arena of civil rights? To hear some people talk, you would think this is the worst possible time to be living in. It isn’t. The pandemic sucks, and it might be one of the worst times to be stuck in Afghanistan, but to ignore the strides people have made toward equality is just downright disrespectful!

I hear some of my millennial friends saying things like “President Biden isn’t all that much better than Trump.” Really? This man who has a stellar record on environmental policy from his time in the senate, and who was selected as our first Black President’s VP isn’t much better than a climate change denying old racist?! Can’t anyone keep things real anymore?! So wonder so many people are dangerously out of touch with reality.

This trend of mock outrage didn’t begin with social media, but it most certainly has been fed by it. Social media does not make good people bad, but it makes bad people so much worse, and it is unhealthy. It is designed to be addictive, fueling people’s need for external gratification.

How do you feel? Bad? Have you tried unplugging your computer and not plugging it in again? Try it. Get yourself vaccinated and start having real, in-person conversations again. Maybe go to either a gay or hip hop dance club while you are at it. You might find out that trans people don’t care as much about which sports team they play on as some of their heterosexual defenders do, and that Blacks really don’t care about how guilty some white people feel about being white. And no child cares what gender Potato Head is… it’s a potato!