Greetings, readers! My name is Sareeta Domingo, and I’m an author and fiction editor. It’s my great pleasure to be bringing you a Book of the Week, each week here on Morning Mari.
It feels like hardly a week goes by without there being a controversy that’s dissected, argued over and dismissed on social media. It’s often the first place I learn about breaking news, but it can also be a source of misinformation, and a stunning lack of nuanced dialogue. So my pick for this week is a non-fiction title published earlier this year—Outrage: Why Everyone is Shouting and No one is Talking by Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles, the brilliant broadcaster, who, with this witty debut, has also made a first foray as a writer.
In the book, Charles argues that the volume of outrage that sizzles from the fingers of social media users is often simply a means of virtue-signalling, or bandwagon jumping, and can divert attention from the true injustices at the heart of an issue. She even goes so far as to interview the sources of much online vitriol, for greater or lesser reasons, speaking to Rachel Dolezal, the American former NAACP activist who had been passing as Black while having exclusively white heritage, as well as renowned hate-monger Katie Hopkins. In the latter’s case, Charles makes the argument that outrage simply acts as fuel for attention, and amplification of negativity.
Despite skewering the lazy activism – or ‘clicktivism’ – that often takes place on social media, it’s heartening to see how Charles also explores the possibility for real change to come about through online activism – for example, highlighting the work of Stop Funding Hate, who successfully campaign for advertising to be pulled from the pages of publications that feature prejudiced or hateful content.
The book showcases the author’s sense of inquisitiveness, which is shot through with equally high amounts of intelligence and humour. Outrage is a book that speaks to our times, and will lead you to question how you utilise your voice on social media – and off it. That is why Outrage: Why Everyone is Shouting and No one is Talking by Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles, is my Book of the Week this week.