The Doom-Cryer Industrial Complex

My Last-Ditch Effort To Save Who I Can

They want this as much as everybody else they say does.

I have wanted to write some version this article for months if not years. I have held off for many reasons: because it is not my field, because I have feared backlash, mostly because I don’t think it would make a difference. The people I’m writing about have hundreds of thousands of followers, I have at best a few hundred. And the odds the people who need to read this article will let it register in their psyche is next to non-existent. I have read too much the last few years and have known too many people to know that you cannot reason with ideology.

But I have tried so many alternatives over the years only to receive utter indifference. And since the one fundamental thing I agree with so many of these writers is that we are facing a crisis, I think it is necessary for me to write this. I know I will reach the creators of this problem, and I find it highly unlikely that I will reach the ones who need the help most. Too many people would rather drown with friends who tell them they’re swimming that risk being saved by strangers who have life-preservers. But I have to try. I feel an obligation in my soul.

So considering this my one major effort at deprogramming.

Ever since I began writing on this site — and particularly in the last few years — I have witnessed several columnists who have an overriding theme. I could take this opportunity to name them, but for years I have posted about them and not mentioned them and I see no reason to start now. Besides, they know who they are and if you’re reading this, you do too.

They have written hundreds, if not thousands of columns collectively over the years and honestly, it’s a waste of space because they are all, more or less, variations on a theme. The world is doomed. Democracy is a lie, with Republicans being evil and fascist and Democrats being just as bad because — well, they’re all unclear on that point. (For people who spend so much time accusing the media of ‘both siding’ obvious issues, it’s weird that they seem willing to do the same thing with both parties, but as you’ll see, self-awareness has never been their strong suit.). Everything we have learned in history is a lie, everyone who existed until twenty years and doesn’t share the writers values has contributed to this state of affairs. And all of the basic fundamentals of civilization — especially democracy and capitalism — are destroying the world and have been lies from the start.

Many of these articles go on to accuse the bugaboos of our current society — right wing media, fundamentalist dogma, social media (specifically the billionaires who run it) politicians of all stripes, all media basically, essentially everybody who isn’t them — for the horror show that has led to the imminent fall of civilization that will happen any day and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop it. I do not disagree, to be clear, with a lot of the basic structures of the villains in this pieces, nor can I avoid that the possibility of us climbing out of this is slim to none at best. What I find horrific about these doom-criers is that somehow they manage to be part of the problem and yet somehow worse at the same time.

Because here’s the thing they all acknowledge all of these institutions offer only the construct of a solution to the problems they face. These doomsayers don’t even offer that. Their message in every column is essentially the same: the world is messed up, it’s going to end soon, there’s nothing that can be done to stop it, read my next column when I tell you about the exact same thing in a different way. They are fine when it comes to relating the problems. They stop woefully short of offering not only reasonable solutions but solutions at all.

The most ‘realistic’ solution to saving America has been the subject of one columnist in particular who thinks the best thing would be if America dissolves in the several separate countries. This is typical in that it offers the construct of a solution while creating dozen, if not hundreds of more problems, assuming it was realistic at all. No legislation can solve the problems, no actions by corporations. And the one action that can take many of them have argued vehemently against — calling voting something they don’t to waste their time doing. While one can understand the basis of that idea, most of them will then complain about the Supreme Court taking away rights in the same column. You wouldn’t think you complain about your vote not mattering and then argue about the most obvious example of its affect, but again, willful blindness is another thing they have in common with so many of the institutions they blame.

For a long time, I pounded my head as to trying to understand the motivation behind these doom-criers: how can you argue that evil happens when good people do nothing and then make doing nothing the center of your writing? For a while, I was inclined to believe they were bad actors for an outside source — conservative websites, Russian, Chinese, all trying a subtle operation to undermine democracy on a smaller scale. This was a bit nuts, but it was easier to accept than the possibility they truly believed what they were saying to be true and had decided the best thing to do in a world crisis was urge inaction.

But then, I realized the truth was simpler than that. At its core, these doom-criers are essentially writing these poisonous articles for the same reason that the right-wing media and talk radio personalities and social media websites and everybody else does everything: they’re trying to make money from it. That’s one of things you can supposedly do at this website (I’ve never been able to figure it out, so maybe I’m just jealous.) And given just how bleak the world is looking right now and how many people in the world are making a living from outrage, why not try to supplement your income by preaching doom-crying? The fact that they are willing to use social media and capitalism to make money by writing about how these things are destroying the world would seem hypocritical, but why should they at their core be any different from the people they preach against?

And who knows, maybe some of them actually believe the crap they pedal. I doubt it, though, because like the people who serve all the things they decry they utterly lack self-awareness. In the past weeks, several have written columns in which they are angry — angry! — that other people — mostly white males have gotten in on the doom porn market. I thought it was hypocritical at first; now I think they were pissed because they view these columns from a purely capitalism. And another expressed outraged at being attack for their point of view using the exact same tenor that so many right wing columnists do when someone attacks them. It’s not them that are part of the problem, of course not; the people who point it out are jealous of them for being truthtellers.

So is there an answer to this? I actually think there might be. These columnists fundamentally earn their livings and their viewership every time one of us clicks on one of their articles. They might even earn more when we comment on them or favorite them; I don’t know the details and in this case, I’m less interested in them.

This is what I’m going to do. I speak only for myself. I’m going to spend the next few days posting links to this article on every single on of their columns I see in the comments. After Tuesday, I’m going to stop reading them altogether. I’ve already been phasing them out the past few months: after spending over a year trying to get any of them to engage or defend their arguments in the comments side or in a private email, I finally realized they don’t care to listen to opposing point of views. (They only care about positive point of views if it adds to their following.) It won’t be a loss for me: for all of their talents as writers, all they fundamentally to is write the same column over and over again. It’s the fundamental laziness of it that bothers me more than anything else. (Then again, maybe I’m envious. I’ve written hundreds of different opinions over the years at this blog and have comparative fewer followers than any one of them.) I do agree with them that the country and the world are in danger, but I think that anyone who doesn’t want to even put the effort in to try and save it doesn’t deserve any more of my time.

By this point, most of you who fundamentally agree with these columnists will have stopped reading and I expect the few of you who stick with me to the end to just paste hateful names. That’s all right, reaching any of you was always a long shot. But for those of you who agree with me — and I know that you are out there, I have read many comments in these columns in the last year with a similar challenging tone and who have actually coined the term ‘doom-porn’ — I invite all of you to do the same. Every time we read another one of these columns we are individually giving these people time we will never get back and promoting them to just keep on writing. They’re going to do it anyway — they’re capitalists and this particular business is lucrative — the least we can do is not let them take anything more from us. They are like all of the people they condemn they have no use for us outside of the funds we give them. It is our best interest — perhaps the online world as a whole — if we give them no more of our time and energy. I agree with them in that there are a lot of crises in this world, we should concentrate our energy and effort with those who want to solve them. And they’re like everybody else they blame for the world’s problems: they want to make as much money as they can before the lights go out.

I don’t pretend that even if this works it will solve anything. But I think, even in a pathetic, feeble way, it is more of a solution for our collective well-being than any of these writers will offer. I won’t deny the problems in the world are real; I’m just not going to waste any more time on people whose business model is that solving them is pointless.

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David B Morris

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.