Tim Walker: Enough with the sparking, please

Tales From The Water Cooler: A quick Google News search suggests more and more outrage is sparked every day, around the world

Share
Related Topics

Jeremy Clarkson "sparked outrage" on Wednesday, according to The Independent and the Daily Mail. The Press Association said the Top Gear presenter "sparked widespread outrage", while The Guardian claimed he "sparked a storm of outrage.

A lady shouting racist insults on a tram also "sparked outrage" this week, if you believe the Mirror, which insisted the all-male shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year had "sparked outrage" too.

In fact, a quick Google News search ("sparked" + "outrage") suggests more and more outrage is sparked every day, around the world. Michael Gove sparked outrage in the education community. Reality star Vinny from Jersey Shore sparked outrage in the US. Sepp Blatter "sparked international outrage". Another search, on Google Books, reveals a steady upward curve in instances of "sparked outrage" since 1960, with a marked acceleration since the 1990s and, it so happens, the spread of the internet.

Twitter makes the sparking of outrage a lot more easily quantifiable. One need only study the trending topics, or search for, say, "Gervais", to witness outrage being sparked in real time. Nowadays, complainants to the BBC can register their outrage online the moment it is sparked, without having to talk to an actual person on a phone: thus any outrage sparked is quickly expressed, the better to be measured and reported upon by the media.

Perhaps outrage was always there, like gas leaking gently from the cracks in society, waiting to be sparked by Clarksons and Blatters and Brands. Or perhaps it's not "outrage" they "sparked" at all. Perhaps Clarkson merely sparked a fart of mild annoyance in a lot of bored Twitter users, who just happened to think he's a bit of a knob.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Telesales Executive - OTE £30,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This precious metal refining co...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Conveyancing Fee Earner

£20000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Conveyancing Fee Earne...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - £40,000 - £70,000 OTE

£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Case Handler - Probate

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Yorkshire Terrier waits to be judged during the Toy and Utility day of the Crufts dog show at the NEC in Birmingham  

There are no winners at Crufts. Dogs deserve better than to suffer and die for a 'beauty' pageant

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Daily catch-up: how come Ed Miliband’s tuition fee ‘cut’ is so popular, then?

John Rentoul
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn