Conservation of Outrage
by Devanshu Mehta
Cricket-writers, tweeters and general fanatic fans of the world:
I propose a conservation of OUTRAGE. Some day something truly outrageous will happen. It likely won’t be a spirited lecture, or a deadline-driven editorial, or an off-hand tweet. It will be something that threatens to change the very nature of the game that you love.
And nobody will take you seriously, because you’re default mode is outrage. “You know the twitterati,” they’ll say. “Those rabid bloggers, always outraged about everything. Pay no attention.”
Amitabh Bachchan played Azaad in Main Azaad Hoon, the Hindi adaptation of Capra’s Meet John Doe. He gives a speech as the mysterious Azaad to much applause. And then he doesn’t want to give any more speeches, or play the made-up character of Azaad. And a journalist tells him, “How could you walk away? Didn’t you hear the applause?”
“Taaliyon ka kya hai, ai? Taaliyan to log sadak par bandar ke khel par bhi bajaate hain,” says Azaad.
Translation: What’s the big deal with applause? People even clap for monkey side-shows on the street.
“What’s the big deal with internet outrage?” they’ll say.
So conserve your outrage, dear empowered social media users. By giving it away too freely, you give those in power a reason to ignore you.
In some societies, social media have been associated with revolution: Egypt, Libya. Those same digital networks, in operation in other societies, distract people from action. If there’s ever a cricket revolution, it won’t emanate from Twitter. But there will be lots of amusing, sarcastic, plagiarising comment on it. And ‘outrage’ too. I’ll cull whom I follow to exclude the outrage, just as I do now.