Controversy is the stuff that attracts eyeballs. It is the new currency, being translated directly into the fevered accounts of tech-bubble billionaires and their endlessly grasping cohorts. It swirls around every public figure like a tornado, uncaring of the damage it inflicts. That giant whooshing sound you hear? It is the sound of us destroying ourselves, an entire culture disappearing up its own asshole.
For the canny politician or anti-vax blogger, controversy is cultivated. Farmed like potatoes, controversy drives votes and likes and tweet-storms. What you say doesn’t matter at all, what matters is collecting attention. If you cause some children to die due to lack of competant medical care, who cares? If you destroy democratic institutions and the best chance to protect the people from plutocrats, so what? For a certain character, it only matters that you drive the news.
For the more hapless among us, controversy is forced out of our hands. How many public figures have we seen self-destruct because they thought they could control the narrative? (Still angry at you, Bill, for destroying the best hope of a generation to satisfy your penis.)
What we must remember always is that despite our feeling of righteous indignation, carefully groomed from some publicist or operative or ad-man’s wet dream, we encourage wave after wave of controversy simply by looking at it. We are rubber-neckers at a car crash. Further, our attention doesn’t give insight or solutions or even the illusion of fairness. It only feeds the trolls.