Why we're addicted to online outrage

But I’d suggest tentatively that there may be deeper trends at work. The desire for this kind of participation in the drama of public life may be exacerbated by the decline of civic participation, and a quiet despair that our precious franchise amounts to a mere 1-in-100 million say in the affairs of the nation. Constantly minded by others above us (managers, landlords, creditors) and feeling rather powerless as political actors in the real world, the virtual mob seems attractive…

Holiday is right to be concerned that our capacity for real outrage is dulled by the sort of “outrage” that we perform, or fake, or convince ourselves to feel in our self-regard. But we should consider the possibility that fake-outrage is popular precisely because it is an indulgence that requires so little from us. Fake outrage allows us to hide within the mob, to feel righteous without doing much of anything, to suffer like martyrs from words not spoken to us. If we subtracted all the outrage porn tomorrow, most of us would continue to do what we already are doing about the Syrian refugee crisis, or faraway famine, or unjust war: nothing.