Lost in all this noise

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

While browsing through headlines earlier this week, I saw one about a Keurig boycott. Wondering why anyone would randomly boycott a household coffeemaker, I clicked the link. The article told me the tale of a few angry people, specifically people who are fans of Sean Hannity and his show on Fox News.

It all started when Hannity made some comments on his show in defense of Roy Moore, the Alabama politician in hot water after his alleged previous sexual relationships with underage girls came to light recently. Hannity later took back and somewhat clarified his questionable comments, but not before a few advertisers decided to remove their products from appearing during commercial breaks of his show.

One of those advertisers was the aforementioned Keurig. If they didn’t agree with statements defending Moore, then they are well within their rights to remove their advertising. It’s a simple way to show disapproval.

But things then got weird, in my opinion, when a few angry Hannity fans started smashing their Keurig coffeemakers and posted the videos to Twitter for proof. They said they were “boycotting” Keurig (which honestly doesn’t make a lot of sense since they’d already purchased those machines well before all the controversy). In the end, they’re not accomplishing anything other than removing their easy source of coffee in the morning.

I’m left here scratching my head, trying to understand. In fact, I’m often in this position here trying to understand all the outrage our society seems to produce these days. It’s always like this: something happens, some people react with anger, other people get angry about angry reactions, and then the ensuing noise drowns out the initial action and any hope of solution.

Most of the time, it seems like people are getting angry just to get angry. Not because they really care about what’s even going on.

For example: how many people even cared about GQ Magazine’s Person of the Year award until they named Colin Kaepernick the recipient?

Answer: they probably didn’t even know it existed.

And yet, social media this week was filled with angry people naming alternatives who would have been a better selection, as if GQ’s proclamation was law and not merely an arbitrary article in a magazine (which these angry people probably never read before this week).

I could continue on with more examples, but I think you can probably think of several on your own.

Sometimes I feel like we focus on the anger and outrage because it’s easier than actually discussing the problem. It’s so much more (temporarily) satisfying to smash a coffeemaker to tiny plastic bits than listening to another viewpoint, isn’t it? If I shout loud enough, I won’t have to hear your argument, right? It’ll get lost in all the noise, won’t it?

None of the big topics we discuss these days—sexual assault, racism, sexism, police brutality, etc.—are easy to have a conversation about. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of the discussion, and all this emotional rage gets in the way of finding productive solutions to the problem.

We get stuck on the anger part of the cycle but never go further. By next week, we’ll have all moved on to something different to be outraged over.

So, in the end, I just ask if we could all take a step back and consider for a moment: why are we so angry? And when we figure that out, let’s look for a more productive way to fix the problem instead.

Cut out all that angry noise.


Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or by phone at 252-332-7206.