Since my reaction last week to learning that the president had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I have found that, without previously having been aware of it, I have adopted this rule of thumb for confronting any action or information that evokes a strong, immediate emotion in me, irrespective of which emotion it is.
I ask myself: Could this be The Onion?
Since becoming aware of this reaction, I have at least two observations.
First, you’d be surprised how often it really is The Onion. I spend more time online than most people, but still. Also, The Onion produces a lot of stuff, and most of what they do produce (actually, most of the time, links to it) gets passed around by multiple online acquaintances.
Second, you’d be surprised how often things that aren’t The Onion feel like they should be.
Given the generally high levels of free-floating absurdity currently at large, this approach has brightened my outlook, consequently making me a nicer person. So it’s clearly not for everybody.
But give it a try and see if it works for you.