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Sunday, March 7, 2021

What shall we be angry about today?

Netizens love to outrage over trivial issues and ignore bigger ones. NURY VITTACHI writes.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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When you see the shocking, outrageous things people do just to get attention on the internet, it’s impossible not to shake your head and think: Why didn’t I think of that?

So this columnist bought a KitKat, a snack consisting of four thin sticks of chocolate. Instead of snapping the individual sticks apart, I left it as a single unit and took a big bite out of the top.

As soon as pix were posted, outraged reactions poured in. “That’s not how you eat a KitKat!!!” said the first. “Man, that is just so wrong,” said the next. “U R one sick dude” said the third. “What is wrong with u,” said another.

This experiment, which I did some time ago, confirmed that a) people love being outraged, and b) the most trivial things create a much bigger reaction than serious but uninteresting things such as the imminent end of the world, the coming nuclear disaster, global Armageddon, etc.

Case in point: In August, police officers reported that a man wearing jean shorts robbed several shops in St Louis County in the US state of Missouri. The public reaction? I found precisely zero comments about the wrongness of robbing stores but vast numbers of angry posts about the wrongness of a male wearing jean shorts.

Police investigators joined in. “His disregard for the law is as offensive as his disregard for fashion trends,” said officer Ben Granda. His team circulated a photo of the man and asked the public (I am not making this up) to report him to law enforcement officers and “the fashion police.”

A couple of months ago, the internet glowed red hot with a report entitled “That’s not how you eat chicken nuggets.” Clicking on the headline led you to a secretly filmed video of someone eating the McDonald’s, er, “foodstuff” with a knife and fork instead of fingers. “It’s so weird,” said one comment. “People who do things like that might be serial killers.”

Reddit and Twitter, meanwhile, were outraged over people who buy hot pizzas and then carry them vertically. “Who carries pizza like that?” said one Tweeter. “I think I am witnessing a drug deal.”

Modern, liberal internet society HATES non-conformity and loves exposing misfits. Why?

“Historically, humans have always gathered to discuss behavioural morality in religious and cultural gatherings,” a psychologist who did not want her name printed told this columnist via email. “Now many are missing such forums.”

Professor Ryan Martin, who studies anger, told the New York Times that people are angry on the internet because they are hungry for group validation. When others share their shock, “they feel they’re vindicated and a little less lonely and isolated in their belief.”

The bad thing is that evil, unscrupulous media people can exploit this to get clicks on their own posts.

Mwa ha ha ha ha. Speaking of which, more responses had arrived under my image of eating a KitKat the wrong way. “That’s chocolate abuse!!!” said one. “You need help,” said another.

I need to stop here. I feel the need to go buy jean shorts. Pix coming.

-NURY VITTACHI 

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