Really interesting assessment of what is occurring, from a perspective I had not considered. It does seem that the different mechanisms of media work in tandem to capitalize on collective outrage. Setting culture ablaze by conflating relatively minor instances to a cultural crisis is a bulletproof way of getting the job done.

But I am challenged by the question you pose at the end. "Should something’s “trending” or “viral” status make it worthy of our time? What should our standard be for when something becomes noteworthy?"

This can become quickly villainized by those who desire our continual engagement. Turning away from the present iteration of cultural consciousness may evoke claims of "privilege" for instance. It is a sticky wicket navigating what it means to be informed in the digital age.

Really enjoyed this, Alex!

Expand full comment