Ryan Holiday says our culture, driven by the Internet’s dynamics, has become addicted to “outrage porn” — events that give us reason to satisfy that itch to become morally indignant, and relish the pleasure in hating. Excerpt:

With the exception of Valleywag, very few sites practice the art exclusively but every website, including Betabeat, knows it’s an easy way to get traffic. As Jezebel—a purveyor of the technique themselves—put it, 2013 was the year of “shaming.” Catching someone being racist or homophobic or misogynistic (or more likely, just old and dumb), accusing someone of being unfair, filming a mayor driving over the speed limit, and pointing out privilege are all great things to be outraged by or to “shame” people for. And that’s why they’re staples of the current media scene.

Let’s run down some of the big “outrage” stories of recent months: Vogue—a fashion magazine—did some minor photoshop on a  Lena DunhamPatton Oswalt was a bully after joking about the KTVU news prank on the Asiana Airlines crash.  The Obama’s got another dog of the same breed, instead of rescuing a pitbull. Steve Martin was racist for a silly Twitter jokeThe Onion doesn’t take its satire about rape seriously enough. A crappy horror movie is somehow one of the “most effective right-wing Christian films of recent years.” My favorite: Getting outraged over Gawker’s outrage about white privilege.

Are they really that upset? Or are they reaching? The topics are serious enough. There’s nothing to laugh at when it comes to rape or racism. But is that really what was going on here? Or do we wish it was so we can be upset?

Here’s a test: Say Alec Baldwin was a friend of yours, or a friend of your parents. If he’d said what he’d said in his farewell essay at dinner, in the course of a normal human conversation, would we have been this pissed off? Would any blogger have been outraged this way in person? Of course not. But blogging makes it possible—no, necessary—and the public follows along. (Ask Justine Sacco).

If you noticed, those links above are mostly from Salon.com—a site that’s grown addicted to outrage. So much so that they get outraged about basically anything, up to and past the privilege for white terroristsIt used be that sites like Salon.com had the moral high ground compared to right-wing pundits and demagogues like Rush Limbaugh…now they traffic in the same garbage.

Read the whole thing.  He goes on to say that this phenomenon is like the boy who cried wolf, in that it obscures things that are truly outrageous, and legitimately merit our passionate attention.