I pull in my share of information about current events and geopolitics despite a practiced inattention to mainstream media and its noisome nonsense. (See here for another who turned off the MSM.) I read or heard somewhere (can’t remember where) that most news outlets and indeed most other media, to drive traffic, now function as outrage engines, generating no small amount of righteousness, indignation, anger, and frustration at all the things so egregiously wrong in our neighborhoods, communities, regions, and across the world. These are all negative emotions, though legitimate responses to various scourges plaguing us currently, many of which are self-inflicted. It’s enough aggregate awfulness to draw people into the street again in principled protest, dissent, and resistance; it’s not yet enough to effect change. Alan Jacobs comments about outrage engines, noting that sharing via retweets is not the same as caring. In the Age of Irony, a decontextualized “yo, check this out!” is nearly as likely to be interpreted as support rather than condemnation (or mere gawking for entertainment value). Moreover, pointing, linking, and retweeting are each costless versions of virtue signaling. True virtue makes no object of publicity.

So where do I get my outrage quotient satisfied? Here is a modest linkfest, in no particular order, of sites not already on my blogroll. I don’t habituate these sites daily, but I drop in, often skimming, enough to keep abreast of themes and events of importance.TomDispatch.com: Probably the mother ship of geopolitical outrage engines, carefully researched and argued posts appear roughly thrice weekly. No matter that the cast of authors are frequently shilling books on the same topics as their dispatches. Posts tend to run long, with ample citations and links should a reader wish to investigate further. I often don’t read to the end of a post, my outrage fully piqued within a few paragraphs, and I have roughly 115 unread e-mails in my inbox, dating back to March 2014, linking to unread posts because, frankly, it’s far more than I can take in even if I wanted to.

The Daily Impact: A selective, reasoned analysis of news and events coughed up in the public sphere, posts are compact and open to commentary. The author has two books out and has a page about the freedom of giving up the psychological burden of hope. The subtitle “chronicling the crash of the industrial age” isn’t for nothing.

Ben Joravsky: The only newspaper I read (for the typically 5–6 pp. of content found mixed into a sea of advertisements) is The Chicago Reader. Joravsky is its political columnist covering municipal and state beats. He provides invaluable service alerting readers to idiocy and misconduct at various levels of government but especially that emanating from the offices of the Chicago major and Illinois governor. His style is breezy and self-referential, which detracts from his otherwise astute coverage.

The Collapse of Industrial Civilization: An on-again, off-again blog that collects news and analysis of our global fate, especially environmental destruction waged by industry and empire. Posts tend to be dense with provocative images and personal rumination at how stupid we’ve been collectively to have channeled ourselves into a course of self-annihilation. I used to blog at this site, but the blog owner, for all his cleverness and accuracy diagnosing our failings, simply could not countenance dissent on the subject of conspiracy theory (which ones don’t matter) and drove away several worthwhile readers and commentators.

Zero Hedge: A group blog, mostly published under the pseudonym Tyler Durden (the alter-ego of the protagonist of Fight Club) but reblogging from other sites as well, this one focuses on financial and economic news but doesn’t hesitate to venture into geopolitics. I’ve been a market bear since 2012, and Zero Hedge provides a nearly constant stream of negative signals, yet we’re unaccountably near record-high markets. It’s anyone’s guess how long we can continue kicking the can down the road (via debt peonage) until the next major crash, which promises to be whopper.

A few others that bear mention (without links, search for yourself): Professional Left, Common Dreams, Alternet, The Majority Report, Radio Ecoshock, The Real News, Counterpunch, The Automatic Earth, Best of the Left, MoveOn, The Future of Humanity, Mother Jones, and Rolling Stone. It’s frankly all too much to track regularly, and crazy-making at that. I’m certain there are others not mentioned of which I’ve never heard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s