Whatever Things are Smarmy, Snarky and Ugly

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

The following blog  first posted two years ago. I was just looking at it and shaking my head with the realization that so little has changed. Whatever. . .

I have a serious case of outrage fatigue. Facebook posts are filled with outrage. It’s true, many of the issues discussed are worthy of outrage but with some sixteen months of politics and mudslinging ahead of us let me challenge you to follow some wise advice. It comes from Philippians 4:8. Let’s take it apart:

Whatever is true: Be careful with your shares and retweets. Is it true? If a story seems too miraculous or too farfetched, take the time to check it out on Snopes.com and other debunking sites. So many well-meaning people end up looking like fools when they post long-debunked urban myths. And news story shares. . . is it a reputable source? Is it opinion or is it true?

Whatever is noble: It may be true, but is it something you want connected with your name and with your professional persona? Comments about those who’ve famously fallen from grace do nothing but titillate. Those of us suffering outrage fatigue simply cannot stand the huge wave of outrage that we see on the horizon. I think it came to a head for me when my newsfeed began to fill with outrage about Cecil the lion who was killed by a big game hunter. Yes, it was needless and heartbreaking but we read about it for days and days. And then the backlash came– the picture of starving children from the same region with the finger wagging, “People care more about one aged lion than about. . .” There’s precious little any of us can do about any of it but feel somehow guilty.Jackson Hole

Whatever is right: And by right, we mean righteous, not a specific political stance. 🙂 I’m of the keep-your-political-views-to-yourself persuasion. Many do not agree and I’ll not judge but just remember, the closer to the election, the more rabidly partisan people become. Do you want to alienate roughly half your readership? Focus on the things that are righteous. The good being done in the world to alleviate suffering. The upstanding. Troubling world situations to help highlight prayer concerns— this too is right.

Whatever is pure: We love pure. These are the things that bring tears to our eyes. Things that are purely sweet, purely funny with no evil intended. Children dressed for the first day of school. Weddings. Old folks dancing up a storm. Little faces from around the world. Grandparents and grandchildren. All a breath of pure, clean air.

Whatever is lovely: I’m a big fan of lovely. I love it when people post pictures of their gardens, of the beach, of the food they’ve created, of babies. . . Loveliness can lift our spirits. In fact someone did a study of people who look at kitten videos. Do you know it lowered stress and increased happiness? People need to apply the “lovely” yardstick and rethink much that is posted online– bodily functions included. There’s way too much yuck factor and far too many TMI posts to my way of thinking.

Whatever is admirable: How we love to hear stories of heroes and people doing admirable things. Let’s continue with tributes to those we love. Causes that are admirable. Concrete ways we can help. So much better than focusing on the snarky, smarmy, ugly, right?

So be prepared. Heartbreaking news continues to release about wars. We’ll be hearing more and more about feet of clay, political haranguing, horrible tragedies and evil acts. Just remember—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

So what do you think?  Anyone else suffering from outrage fatigue? Do you believe one can actually change another person’s mind politically by arguing online? Does the “whatever principle” apply if your brand is an in-your-face brand? Let’s talk. . .

And a note here about when I say “let’s talk:” I love commenting along with you but I’ve been absent from the conversation for much of the last couple of weeks. I’ve been under the weather, so to speak, but am healing and will be back atcha soon. 🙂