Is there legitimate outrage? If so, what does that look like? And what outrages you?
Well, you know what, one of the things I talk about in the book is the — kind of the destruction of fact, the elimination of actual language in favor of euphemism. So what to me is outrageous is calling the Fort Hood [terrorist attack] “workplace violence.” And I see that as a trend in the way the administration manipulates language. I mean, look at Benghazi; Benghazi is the same thing. That was called a “spontaneous mob.” Both of these things, whether it’s Fort Hood or Benghazi, were acts of terror, but people were scared to say that out of fear of being labeled Islamophobic. I call this Islamophobia-phobia, the fear of being perceived as Islamophobic. Which is basically a fear of being accused of hurting feelings. So we’re kind of in a state now where our country is scared of offending people who don’t like you.
Do you see a phony outrage industry? Is there someone who’s profiting off of this, you think?
I think it’s a great way to generate hits. It’s a great way to generate money. I know that if I say something that’s considered outrageous, a group will take it, create an email blast, and use me to raise money or to do whatever, to build their profile. I do think people use it to elevate their platform while demeaning yours. And it happens, yeah, it happens constantly and everywhere. I try to ignore it. Again, one of the meanings of the joy of hate, is that it feels good to get angry. It’s like an anger gym. You know, you go and work out your anger muscles. … I try to stop myself before I get too angry. It’s like when you sit around and you’re reading a blog and you read comments — it’s so easy to get pissed off. When you really shouldn’t, you should actually go out to a bar and get drunk with friends. That’s far more constructive than getting angry at people who are trying to get you angry.
You mention in the book that the Internet has helped facilitate this phony outrage industry. Do you think Internet has been a net positive or a net negative, considering that?
This is a good question because I think it causes you to expend a lot of psychological energy on people you shouldn’t care about. You shouldn’t care if somebody doesn’t like you, unless it’s your wife or members of your family or people that you work with. Now, the net gain from this is, maybe it reduces the actual physical hate that might happen in real life. Like if I’m online and I’m directing all my hatred at you over something you said about me, maybe I won’t get in a fist fight at a bar. It could be replacing actual hate, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s more like a Prius of hate, in the sense that it’s your second car of hate. It doesn’t replace the primary vehicle of hate. Do you follow? I just came up with that, so I don’t even know if that’s real. But I like the idea of online hate is the equivalent of a Prius of anger. Because nobody buys electric cars as their primary vehicle, so nobody uses online hate as their primary hate. Does that make sense? It probably doesn’t, but I like it.