Chris Brecheen

We’re All Living in the Outrage Cycle. This Is What It Looks Like.

Being angry on the internet, or at work, continues to be a part of our lives. However, stepping back and gazing at it, the pattern is obvious.


Get up.

Read about bigotry on the rise in the news; more hate crimes yesterday – someone is in the hospital this time.  

Read about deaths.

Learn that the so-called alt-right makes up more than half of domestic terrorism yet are never labeled as such.

Carpool to work with someone who is vocally worried about their kid sharing a bathroom with a trans kid.

Try to point out that trans folks have assaulted fewer children in bathrooms than cis folks have; get made fun of for using the word “cis” and told that “cis” is obviously a reverse slur and to shut up if this carpool is wanted.

Carpool goes on to talk about why giving scholarships to black students is the real racism.

Be the only person who isn’t a white guy on the team at work and one of only three in the whole department.

Work in proximity to three misogynists and two racists – plus one person who is both and is the boss, so best just smile and laugh.

Sit at lunch and listen to a loud person at the next table explain why southern immigrants are stealing jobs; am asked to stop making a scene for glaring.

Boss goes on “all lives matter” rant on the way back from lunch.

Back to work – HR has determined that a formal sexual harassment charge is unnecessary; he has been “talked to;” the issue is to be dropped.

Am forwarded a “funny” e-mail by family where the “joke” is that the woman is really a guy.

Before leaving work, have to call the IT guy who calls everything that doesn’t work the R-word and laughs at the very idea of ableism.

Get “talked to” by boss on the way out the door and told to lighten up and be a team player or maybe this isn’t the right fit.

Leave work, watch a group of children go by calling something they don’t want to do “gay.”

Pick up dinner from a restaurant where only conventionally attractive women are servers or hosts.

Drive home, called several gendered slurs for missing that a light changed.

Come home, turn on the computer – see private message from a sock puppet account of a guy accused of rape (regular accounts blocked) saying that it was out of line to believe the accusations, and legal defamation actions will be taken if the whole thing isn’t recanted.

Discover several online communities engaged in “open dialogue,” which today is excusing fascism as a legitimate ideology in one community and is a bunch of white guys explaining why there is no racism or sexism anymore and the gender wage gap is a myth in another.

Get banned from a page for suggesting that there is no comparison between open bigots and those who get angry at open bigotry.

Friend of a friend’s screed shows up on the FB newsfeed (because of a friend’s comment on it) wherein feminism is declared fundamentally sexist and the person is going to be a humanist/egalitarian starting by declaring war on the word “feminism.”

Several arguments on several friends’ FB walls from everything to abortion access to thought experiments about why a 37-year-old dating a 16-year-old isn’t technically pedophilia. 

Libertarian atheist high school friend posts an article suggesting that marginalized groups are all playing the victim card and have chips on their shoulders; then blocks anyone who pushes back.

Have to give up on a lovely community where like-minded socialists post pictures of pug dogs with silly captions because it has been overwhelmed by trans exclusionary and sex worker exclusionary radical feminists.

Go to my own wall, my sanctuary of friends and family who support me.

See a slur.

Ask friend gently not to use slur, to please edit comment.

Friend insists they didn’t mean it that way, that it’s a perfectly acceptable word the whole world over – even though it has splash damage to unintended targets and whole communities have asked for its retirement.

Friend insists that this is over-sensitivity.

Get up.


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Chris Brecheen

Chris Brecheen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He pet sits and chases a four-year-old when he’s not writing. He’s been grinding away on a novel for a couple of years now, but blogging pays the bills.

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