72 points

If you still have time to pay attention to what everybody else is saying, you might notice a pattern. There are things that everybody is talking about, and all at the same time. Social media means what everybody says, and thinks, somehow gains equal footing, regardless of soundness of logic or veracity of facts. Well, I say "equal footing", but really, it's still like the real world; manipulate the algorithms the right way, online and offline, and you'll have a platform, a megaphone, and a guaranteed audience.

The result, as you'd expect, is cacophony. When we collectively recognize one thing as the topic of the moment - or outrage of the moment, if you're so inclined - it can be pretty difficult to escape. You see squares of varying colors, with texts of roughly the same size - 72 points - and same weight - bold. Everybody wants to have a word in, a word that will get approval from the rest of everybody else, a word that will define them as someone who's inherently good, who cares about the world, who cares about everybody else - and perhaps cool, too.

A couple of weeks ago the outrage of the moment revolved around second chances. Who deserves it, and who doesn't? All right, so those who ordered the rape and murder of innocents doesn't. And perhaps those who plundered others' hard-earned money for their personal gain. And those people who have the gall to not agree with your beliefs and express their own, diametrically opposed ones.

Because that's where the battle is now, isn't it? It's about what you say now, and how what you say now will define you for all time, never mind that you have seen more of the world, understood more of it, and see things a little bit differently, or perhaps completely differently. But, what you thought then is captured in amber, forever, and that will define you. Make an ill-informed joke five years ago and people will say that still reflects on who you are, because the mere fact that it crossed your mind means you're not worth that second chance. The fact that you didn't know better then means you'll never know better now, and that means you'll never deserve a second chance.

And all that, to make you look inherently good. All to make you look like you care about the world. All too make you look like you care about everybody else. Unlike that idiot who, perhaps unintentionally, dared to say something that opposed what you hold is true. Or, perhaps, came so close to ripping your veneer of perfection off, to exposing you for who you really are: the asshole you accuse everyone else of being, the asshole you claim you'll never be.

Say that in 72 points.

And your responses...

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