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The Internet’s Principal Exports are Bullshit and Outrage

August 8th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

I came across a pretty interesting passage in “Host,” an essay by David Foster Wallace that perfectly sums up why negative news travels so fast on the Internet. The essay happens to be about AM talk radio, but the words still apply:

It is, of course, much less difficult to arouse genuine anger, indignation, and outrage in people than it is real joy, satisfaction, fellow feeling, etc. The latter are fragile and complex, and what excites them varies a great deal from person to person, whereas anger et al. are more primal, universal, and easy to stimulate (as implied by phrases like ‘He really pushes my buttons’).

In other words, the principal exports of the blogosphere are bullshit and outrage. Why? Because as a species, we are flawed creatures that gobble it up.

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