Outrage Overload is a podcast I started to explore outrage porn and the outrage industry. Like a lot of people, I used to retweet and share news and stories with sensational headlines, determined to change peoples’ minds and bring them around to the “right” way of thinking or to inform those with similar views about the latest outrage on the other side.
Meanwhile, I was starting to see more and more people in my life talking about disconnecting with friends, family and loved ones. I saw people were not able to talk to each other. Close friends, lifetime relationships, tossed out the window over disagreements, usually political disagreements.
I also started to become increasingly annoyed with spam email from political campaigns, spam from candidates basically “on my side” highlighting some kind of egregious acts from the other side.
One day I reached my limit; I reached my own personal outrage overload. I took a step back and started to look at all this media keeping me in a constant state of outrage: cable news, social media, emails and texts, even friends and family. I started to look at this with a new lens: outrage porn and its effects on all of us. One of those effects being our extreme political polarization.
I discovered I wasn’t alone in this. A lot of people expressed how they also felt exhausted by the outrage and stressed out all the time. Many feel squeezed out of the discussion by more extreme voices. And so, as a curious person and a one-time professional researcher, I began exploring the whole thing more.
Many papers and books on related subjects have been published over the last several decades and especially the last few years. But no one has really put it all in the context of outrage porn and the outrage industry.
One of my favorite things to do is talk to smart people about important things. A podcast seemed like a perfect way to get to do just that and to share my journey of discovery with an audience of people who are curious about politics and outrage, especially about what’s going on with us, the risks to society (and our mental health), and to learn what we might be able to do about it.
Outrage Overload is an entertaining exploration of outrage porn and the outrage industry with world-renowned scientists and other experts. My hope is that, by listening to the podcast, you will also be able to take a step back, rediscover the humanity in your rivals, and improve your own mental health in the process.