COMMENT: Bu James Weir Everyone is so angry lately it's as if they've been trapped in their houses because of a global pandem- …
Indeed, the world is suffering from cabin fever. But this isn't the regular cabin fever we'd all usually experience over the Christmas holidays in our family homes. You know, the kind that usually comes to a fiery climax when someone flips a Monopoly board and slams a screen door.
This is bitter rage and people are looking for places to channel it.
Everyone turned on Ellen DeGeneres this week. Ellen is about as offensive as a stuffed toy. I'm not particularly a fan but there are bigger enemies to have in the world.
Anyway, she filmed an episode of her talk show from the home she shares with wife Portia de Rossi and made a joke that caused a lot of people's heads to go red and explode like in a cartoon.
"One thing that I've learned from being in quarantine is … this is like being in jail, is what it is," she said.
"It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay."
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Not the greatest joke of all time but an innocuous throwaway with the gag mainly being that her lush $24 million mansion is totally not a jail. Still, lots of people latched onto those quotes and raged on. Some decided she was literally comparing her mansion to a prison. Others were outraged she would even make a joke about jail in the first place and angrily cited the fact inmates around the world are extremely vulnerable in the pandemic. The rest then got up in arms and started shouting about insensitivities around prison rapes.
The anger spread like the coronavirus- …
It spread like things that spread fast.
I don't want to delve into the nitty gritty nuances of Ellen's joke anymore because this isn't an arts degree assignment. The point is, people are angry. Grossly angry and they're misdirecting a lot of it. They're looking for targets to take their anger out on, and they're searching for ways to twist things so they can have something new to be angry about.
I wrote a column satirising Australian PM Scott Morrison's press conferences and poking fun at all the ratbags looking for loopholes drew the ire of some of the more hypersensitive people who read it. The World Health Organisation is just days away from releasing new scientific findings that a global pandemic eliminates some people's ability to identify and understand satire.
If you're familiar with a little thing called the internet, you probably know about Karens. Unfamiliar with the Karen phenomenon? Urban Dictionary basically defines a Karen as an entitled middle-aged white woman with a bob haircut who is always demanding to speak to the manager.
I was accosted by a bunch of Karens who were not happy with my Morrison column – and you better believe they asked to speak to my bloody manager.
I hadn't dealt with that many Karens since I worked at a Sunglass Hut.
What's the collective noun for a group of Karens? A value pack of Karens.
Look, to be fair to Karens everywhere, I have a feeling these emails were not coming from them but rather their equally enraged mothers. The internet doesn't seem to have unanimously decided on what Karen's angry mum is named but we can absolutely assume she taught Karen everything she knows.
Unlike the Karen moniker, this demanding and self-righteous behaviour we're seeing in the world right now isn't exclusive to age groups or gender. This anger is more just a result of the internet and social media culture – people believing they have the right to "cancel" those they disagree with and demand answers and apologies.
All these angry people who are picking fights on footpaths and tweeting and emailing away their bitterness really need to go into their backyards, take a deep breath and look up at the sky. And then they should go back inside and read some Anne Lamott.
That's a joke but I'm also serious. Anne Lamott is my god and her books are my bibles.
She often mentions this theory her pastor has about cranky little bees.
"You can trap bees on the bottom of mason jars without honey or lids because the bees don't look up – they just kinda walk around muttering and bumping into the glass walls. Whereas, if they looked up, they could be free," she says in an old episode of the Beautiful Writers podcast.
Wait a second, this column has suddenly become far too reflective. Ugh, the sincerity is making me sick. How do we fix this?
Ooh, I know! I think Scott Morrison could do a better job at communicating coronavirus messaging by copying the PSAs Arnold Schwarzenegger has been posting from his jacuzzi while smoking cigars.
I look forward to your emails, Karens.
• James Weir is a senior reporter at news.com.au. He enjoys writing about various things that either annoy or entertain.