In the aftermath of international expressions of outrage over the situation in Syria, the Eastern DRC, South Africa, Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Honduras, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Washington D C, Palestine and Zimbabwe, the release of vast stockpiles of outrage over North Korea has been seen by many as a potential tipping-point which could plunge the entire planet into an outrage crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
We spoke to the Secretary-General of the Bureau for Observing Outrage and Judging its Ultimate Meaning (BOOJUM), Sir Cholmondeley Wolverhampton-Plumvoice, ennobled by New Labour for his services to outrage prior to the invasion of Iraq, but more recently a strident critic of outrage abuse, in his agreeable office lined with authentic Damien Hirsts (insofar as a Damien Hirst is ever authentic).
INTERVIEWER: Sir Cholmondeley, very pleased to have you in command of the situation. You have been quoted by unnamed sources as saying that the situation is outrageous. Would you care to enlarge on that?
PLUMVOICE: Most certainly. The recent North Korean outrage outbursts – supposedly planned outrage releases, of course – represent a major threat to the environment, in my judicious and well-lubricated opinion, because of rising political temperatures.
INTERVIEWER: But such releases of outrage have been made for years without anyone noticing any effect, apart from on liberal websites and talk-shows which may safely be disregarded.
PLUMVOICE: Oh, absolutely. I must point out that there are irresponsible and responsible releases of outrage. Mine were all quite responsible, as when I exposed Saddam Hussein’s plot to bugger the Queen Mother to death with teleguided dildoes of mass destruction. However, if abused, the mass release of artificial outrage can lead to catastrophic consequences.
INTERVIEWER: What is artificial outrage?
PLUMVOICE: There is a natural and ecologically healthy level of outrage which serves to sustain the proper standing of serf and lord – I mean, citizen and duly elected political official! However, manufacturing and then releasing artificial outrage has the unintended consequence of raising the political temperature, partly because the act of manufacturing artificial outrage often itself causes vast amounts of natural outrage to well up from the depths, and these, added to the release of artificial outrage, can cause extremely dangerous disruptions to the natural order of master and slave.
INTERVIEWER: But what about the workers?
PLUMVOICE: What about the workers indeed, my good sir. The issue in North Korea is that vast amounts of artificial outrage had been manufactured in Japan and the United States for various reasons, and then stored ready for use. When the North Koreans provided the opportunity, by menacingly launching a weather satellite which might be used to beam bulletins about sunny skies over Pyongyang into the entire global political context and thus indirectly undermine the whole outrage economy in the region, the outrage managers released – quite inappropriately in my view – their entire stockpile over North Korea. Not only was this a huge waste of outrage, but the sheer concentration of artificial outrage in the region is gradually bursting its borders and generating all manner of wholly unintended consequences.
INTERVIEWER: But what is the difference between natural and artificial outrage?
PLUMVOICE: Well, it is natural for outrage to be naturally generated when the natural order of things is unnaturally disrupted – say, when a group of employees attempt to seek wages higher than is healthy for sound economic management. This is particularly applicable to things seen on television programmes or in tabloid newspapers – where one may see immense amounts of outrage generated by, for instance, the antics of paedophiles not officially endorsed by properly accredited authorities, or the bizarre behaviour of governments elected by people of unsatisfactory skin-colour or eye-shape. Unfortunately, however, such natural outrage suffers from the law of diminishing returns.
INTERVIEWER: Could you outline the law of diminishing returns?
PLUMVOICE: Without hesitation. There is a law which says that the returns diminish.
INTERVIEWER: What returns?
PLUMVOICE: The returns on provoking outrage. People gradually, it would appear – of course a great deal of research has been done into this by very good bearded researchers with Conservative Party membership cards – begin to feel less outrage than they ought to over the misconduct of officially approved social enemies. Gradually this outrage sometimes turns into acceptance, and this is why it is becoming less and less easy to arouse outrage over piccaninnies pushing excrement through letter-boxes or funny Frenchmen jabbering and gesticulating. Of course this is still possible, but less reliably so than in the past. Furthermore, various people – and we know exactly who they are and where they live – are inclined to claim that things happening a long way away to people of whom we know nothing are not tremendously important to them. Such an attitude could lead to the collapse of the entire system of outrage extraction, if it were to succeed. As you can imagine, a surplus of outrage could produce a crash in the commercial value of outrage, and the member-states of the Organisation of Outrage-Exploiting Regimes (OO-ER) could suffer socio-economic meltdown in consequence, since outrage is their only source of income and social stability.
INTERVIEWER: And so where does this leave us?
PLUMVOICE: It obliges us to manufacture artificial outrage. This has to be done very carefully, in isolated areas under careful scrutiny. Some have even suggested that an international body be set up to monitor it, but of course this would only apply, in the customary fashion of international law, to countries lacking the capacity to manufacture artificial outrage – except outrage of kinds unacceptable to the civilized world.
INTERVIEWER: What kinds of outrage are unacceptable?
PLUMVOICE: Outrage over issues in the distant and forgotten past, or in faraway countries which unfortunately still exist and whose peoples have irrational grievances over such forgotten events. In these countries there are pools of glowing outrage lying around everywhere, but it is impossible to use this outrage for beneficial purposes because it seems only effective when directed against the civilized world – we technicians normally refer to this as “anti-outrage”, and possession of large stockpiles of anti-outrage is immediate justification for invasion, genocide and annexation of the offending country.
INTERVIEWER: So is this the source of the problem?
PLUMVOICE: No, we can easily deal with such countries as those. No, the source of the problem is the lack of domestic outrage management. What tends to be done is two things – to take action which accelerates the extraction of natural outrage, or to manufacture artificial outrage and add it to the natural outrage, which sometimes – not always, of course – stimulates a further outburst of natural outrage. Sometimes this leads to outrage feedback – the explosive proliferation of both natural and artificial outrage which potentially can get beyond control.
INTERVIEWER: Are you saying that outrage is dangerous?
PLUMVOICE: There are two dangers. Firstly, of course, excess outrage of the wrong kind – directed towards irrelevant or nonexistent things like supposed crimes committed by the racially superior — can lead to disaster, because it stirs up the lesser breeds. Secondly, because of the law of diminishing returns I mentioned, one can pour vast amounts of outrage into a suitable circumstance only to find that it provokes less and less satisfactory responses – indeed, as a result, more and more effort has to be placed into generating less and less outrage with less and less effect. This is the situation widely referred to as Peak Outrage.
INTERVIEWER: But surely this is not going to happen soon, if at all.
PLUMVOICE: That used to be so, but we have changed all that. Previous statements denying the existence of Peak Outrage are now inoperative, and today Peak Outrage is a legitimate talking point, though not, of course, among the great unwashed who must never know about it. If Peak Outrage is indeed a reality, we face the real possibility that outrage might no longer become an effective means of controlling the misbehaviour of the ignorant rabble.
INTERVIEWER: Good Lord! What could be done about that?
PLUMVOICE: The logical way to prevent this from becoming a problem for the lords of creation is to remove the feckless masses from the equation altogether.
INTERVIEWER: Whew! For a moment I was worried! So, how do you plan to do that?
PLUMVOICE: Obviously I cannot reveal everything at this stage, but we have all been working with great courage and tenacity, and a final solution is indeed at hand.