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We shouldn't let our anger buy off, says Samira El Ouassil

2021-11-25T17:42:07.321Z

Outrage and anger are the driving forces behind our constant stream of attention. We shouldn't let them buy from us.



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Why so angry?

Photo: Malte Mueller / fStop Images / imago images

I wrote the text that I published here last week with great, honest anger.

Because of my anger, through that anger, and for even more anger. I wanted to draw attention to one thing that really made me angry, the hypocrisy, lies and political mistakes - but of course it was also an offer of excitement for you, a kind of emotional pinata filled with frustration and swooning to hit. I wanted to offer you my anger so that you could make this your own if you wanted and we could all be angry together. For good reasons there is a difference between a journalistic presentation and an angry showing, but in times of crisis this can quickly become blurred, especially when a pandemic meets political inability tothen the boundaries between generating journalistic attention and one's own anger at what is reported become blurred.

Anger economy

Debates, discourses and dialogues are about creating and directing attention. We speak of an attention economy (a term coined in the late 1990s by the philosopher, architect and economist Georg Franck), whereby we understand attention as a valuable, limited resource. There are many reasons why we (let) direct our attention to certain content and pay attention to topics - and of all our emotions, anger is the most profitable, which is gratefully harvested by platforms, media makers and political actors. Indignation and anger are the driving forces of our constant stream of attention, whereby anger can be viewed as an independent quantity that determines which things we perceive and discuss for how long, and which we don't.But especially when in a crisis situation like the current one, our attention is demanded more than usual and at the same time our anger is particularly cultivated by us and the media, we as senders and receivers of news and discourses should question how we individually and collectively participate bypass these intangible resources; On the one hand with this abstract, comprehensive, overarching, precious main resource of attention, and on the other hand with the distribution of our attention potential based on our anger.how we individually and collectively deal with these intangible resources; On the one hand with this abstract, comprehensive, overarching, precious main resource of attention, and on the other hand with the distribution of our attention potential based on our anger.how we individually and collectively deal with these intangible resources; On the one hand with this abstract, comprehensive, overarching, precious main resource of attention, and on the other hand with the distribution of our attention potential based on our anger.

If you ask yourself the question: What should the attention currently be drawn to, at best that of all media users?

What do you have to be angry about?

And where do the two moments overlap?

I do not want to delegitimize legitimate anger under any circumstances;

this is not supposed to be tone policing here, because with regard to minorities and women in particular, there is a far too long tradition of socially desirable »disgrace«.

more on the subject

German Debates: Bad, isn't it? A column by Margarete Stokowski

The author and journalist Ciani-Sophia Hoeder, for example, in her recently published book "Wut und Böse" (Wut und Böse) has worked out how female anger should be continually devalued, shamed, tamed and captured over the course of history.

For a long time, being allowed to be angry was a privilege that emancipatory movements had to fight for.

And that's not supposed to be a let's-all-be-less-angry-and-come-down-a-little-appeal, on the contrary.

If I were an elementary school student in the current situation, I would be very angry.

As a mother, I would be really angry too.

As a nurse anyway.

As a daughter, I am almost every day.

The question is more: What do I do with my anger?

Where do i carry her?

How does it determine all of my attention?

And how can I prevent others from benefiting politically or economically if I allow myself to be too much inspired by anger in my observance of the world?

Epidemiological excitation offers

As an example, you can check this for yourself in the discussion about the compulsory vaccination. Of course, this has to be carried out, but currently it also represents a stimulus offer, as a solution is being fought out in talk shows, media and social networks that will only have an effect in a few weeks, but now catches on with the perceived anger because people refuse to vaccinate can be defined here as clear antagonists. The government benefits from the fact that our attention goes where our anger is and we deal with a group of people, rather than with a system that is in large part responsible for creating this situation. We are now discussing heatedly about a train that has already left,and would have to clarify even more resolutely how we are bringing the number of cases back down right now. In addition to the compulsory vaccination debates, we now also need the discussion about a lockdown, about the social factors surrounding vaccination, about measures to reduce contact, the protection of children, the better availability of boosters and financial support, all of whom will suffer.

Our attention has to go exactly into these cracks, because our anger alone sometimes makes us believe, through its pure articulation, that a situation can be changed - but it is also turned into a communicative commodity and subordinates us to the illusion of self-efficacy.

Anger attracts attention, we were able to experience that in the case of the angry citizens and also in dealing with lateral thinkers in the media.

In the market of constant exchange of information, talk and self-staging, we regulate, buy and sell our anger, borrow the anger of others and are happy to pass it on.

And this offer is of course absolutely compatible with the mechanics of the action of social networks and the logic of action of message cycles.

Do not confuse the uncomfortable with anger

However, if something uncomfortable demands attention from us, we must not reflexively and automatically confuse this with anger.

Not everything that is loud and urgent is angry, quick-tempered, agitated or hysterical.

Anger cannot be attributed just so that we don't have to take unpleasant topics seriously, especially if we are spoken to or even accused.

Often times, the attention drawn by determination to something is confused with being angry because we have become so used to the aroused mode of addressing and paying attention that we don't even make the difference.

more on the subject

Thomas Gottschalk on German debate culture: We were able to argue without insulting each other A guest contribution by Thomas Gottschalk

But this amalgamation happens all the time: for example in the case of the Fridays for Future movement. While one could legitimately think that these children and young people are not angry enough, I would argue that the movement was exactly the opposite of an angry movement: coordinated, organized, addressing politics and reminding of their duties and promises, it succeeded her to call attention to a vital concern. Greta Thunberg is also often portrayed as angry, and of course facial expressions, speech and appearance are accompanied by anger, but if you consider the actions she has taken, the protest, the Atlantic crossing, the speeches, then these are acts of generating attention, not offers of excitement.

The anger as the driving force behind it is perhaps a self-reflective, channeled one. In her book "The Case for Rage", the author Myisha Cherry deals with the various forms of anger and defines a certain type: Lorde's anger, named after the Afro-American poet and activist Audre Lorde, who wrote in her essay "Vom Use our anger ”also looked at the anger. This »tends to metabolize and aims at change. It is characterized by an integrative and liberating perspective "and does not exclude" cognitive reactions such as compassion and empathy. "The idea of ​​Lorde's anger is to absorb it and use it as energy.

The challenge is therefore to withdraw one's own anger as best as possible from the constant exploitation system of media anger generation, in order not to be stolen from productive anger - for a crisis discourse beyond anger and evil.

Source: spiegel

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