Tiger King is one of the most spectacular examples of a type of entertainment where we just can’t stop watching, no matter the quality of the content.
And the more we watched and talked about this crazy show, the more it was amplified across the media in the world. It became a force of nature. In this case, it was fairly innocuous – after all, Tiger King didn’t actually have much of an impact on our daily lives. Yet it demonstrated, plain as day, a flaw in our human operating system. The inability to look away, no matter how weird or disgusting or morally bankrupt the content.
I’m convinced that the same flaw in the human operating system is at work with politics in America today. It’s a constant stream of shock and awe at the latest Trump story. We don’t look away at disgusting stories – we look harder and we tell everybody we know about it.
We cannot stop talking about it. The news can’t stop reporting on it. Social media cannot stop amplifying it. It just doesn’t stop, because it exploits this flaw in us. And the less we’re able to control our natural instinct to amplify it, the more power it gets.
For so many people I know, the latest up-to-date political scandal (everything is a scandal now) receives an equal amount of attention and reaction as the latest and greatest Netflix special.
How can we as a society respond more appropriately? How can we short-circuit this flaw in ourselves? How can we foster a culture that shock-absorbs instead of amplifies? How can we collectively refuse to succumb to the Tiger King mentality?
How can we rob the disgusting of power when we are the source of its power?