There is something nasty in the air. And it is catching! I am not talking about Coronasura or its continued depredations against humanity. It is hate and hypocrisy, swelling up from a bottomless well of relentless rage. Not a single day goes by without people posturing on social media to constantly express self - righteous outrage over myriad issues that are occasionally serious but mostly stupid without bothering to modulate the pitch of their infernal wailing, fully convinced that their shrill voices, affected shrieking and the almighty clamour will change the world, ridding it entirely of injustice. All I can say to that is a big BAH!
Nowadays, social media denizens feel it is their national duty to lose their minds over the myriad offenses helpfully trotted out by the click bait media. And of course, no day is complete if you have not participated in or voyeuristically ogled an ugly shouting match featuring death/rape threats, blocked trolls who made unfounded allegations about your mother’s sexual history, unfriended former friends who disagreed with you and friended the like – minded who would be a welcome addition to the echo chamber you have chosen to inhabit.
It is no longer fashionable to simply look at things be they big or small without passion or prejudice, so that we can see it for what it is. Rather, everything has to come down to fickle feelings which leads to a massive outpouring of overheated emotions and little else. It is fun to feel disgusted and vent your fury on what is perceived to be a just cause, before moving on to the next loaded topic, till you are trapped in an endless loop of expressing aggression that achieves nothing and damages sensitivity to the point where you are permanently benumbed to real evils.
Who even remembers the events that trigger this outpouring of overwrought grief and fury anyway? Will people remember George Floyd’s name a few months from now? Or the pregnant elephant that was fed or fed on a pineapple stuffed with crackers? That J.K. Rowling was mercilessly trolled and accused of being transphobic because she put up a tweet protesting a headline that was being politically correct and referred to ‘People who Menstruate’ instead of the more obvious ‘WOMEN’?
Unfortunately, it is this ‘just anger’ which is constantly incentivized with favourites, likes, retweets, follows, and umpteen shares which prompts more and more bellicosity. Let us not kid ourselves. Hashtag activism does not lead to tangible victory against oppression. All it does is distance you from real issues and people outside of the virtual space who can be helped not with runaway rage but with your willingness to actually lend a helping hand.
This article was originally published in The New Indian Express.