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The Ethics of Outrage

A new media landscape made up of opinion pieces and social media chatter is facilitating our expressions of outrage. Collectives of angry people are mobilising social movements, giving platforms to the voiceless and calling out bad behaviour like racism, homophobia or sexism. It feels good to let it out – in art, politics, online, in everyday life.

But it’s not all peachy. Outrage can be hypocritical, turning into abuse and threats, all executed under the banner of protecting human rights and decency. Online mobs actively try and destroy the wellbeing and careers those deemed to have transgressed a line. Outrage has a nasty side that crushes ethical examination. How can we channel it for good? Is outrage a useful tool for improving the world or do we need to calm down? 

On 19 October, we thre outrage under the ethical microscope for an evening of performance, analysis and discussion. 

Guests

Helen Razer is a writer and broadcaster. With a prominent media career spanning the analogue to digital shift, she is no stranger to outrage. Helen currently writes for Crikey. Her work can also be found in The Saturday Paper, Frankie, Daily Review and SBS Online. She has been an ABC radio host and columnist with The Age and The Australian.

Michael Salter is a criminologist. Outrage is a recurring phenomenon in his work as he focuses on violence against women and children, sexual abuse, victimisation and online harassment. Michael teaches in these areas at Western Sydney University. He explores online anger in his new book, Crime, Justice and Social Media. Michael works to translate research into public health practice.

Sharnay is a slam poet. The law student channels her poetic and performative talents into powerful articulations of all sorts of emotions – love, passion, outrage. The spoken word artist calls herself the “angry poet of Bankstown”. Sharnay is a literature lover who has been writing stories and poems ever since she was a young child. She is a regular at Bankstown Poetry Slam and hip hop festivals.