Getting angry over nothing

One of the things that really puzzle me is how people can get worked up over the most absurd things. Take the Affordable Care Act. There has been a concerted effort by those opposed to this reform to scuttle it by whipping up anger against any and all aspects of it. I find it really despicable how far some states have gone to prevent people from signing up for health insurance under the new system.

ask_annBut the opposition is so irrational, they have stooped to even the most trivial of things. Even though I have never been to the site, I was familiar with the smiling woman who was on the homepage. It looked like the kind of stock image favored by organizations that want to give an impression of friendliness and vague ethnicity that everyone can relate to, like the common one on the right that many organizations use.

But apparently people glommed on to the woman as a symbol of the enemy and she started getting attacked, with people suggesting that she may not even be a US citizen, as if that even remotely mattered. Her photo has now been removed and the woman has now given an interview describing the reaction she received. She gives only her first name (Adriana) because she does not want to be an even greater target for the animosity.

adrianaOn Oct. 1, 2013, when the ACA’s website launched to enroll Americans in health insurance through federally run exchanges, it was Adriana’s face that greeted them.

Dubbed the “enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care,” her face was soon mocked, Photoshoped, altered. She became the subject of late-night jokes, partisan hatred and intense speculation.

The saga of the photo started innocuously enough. Adriana responded to an email from someone at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, about having photos of her and her family taken for free in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law. She was never paid.

She learned over the summer that her photo would be on’s main page, but she didn’t realize it would become so closely associated with the problems of the glitchy website.

“I mean, I don’t know why people should hate me because it’s just a photo. I didn’t design the website. I didn’t make it fail, so I don’t think they should have any reasons to hate me,” Adriana told ABC News.

Welcome to the internet age, Adriana, where people don’t need a rational reason to start hating someone and can depend on enough other people joining them to fan the flames and create a controversy out of nothing.


  1. says

    Some people can be very “symbol minded” and the ACA opposition is a good example. I’ll say it like I see it, the Republicans are the party that is far more dependent on simplistic messages and symbols and need their followers whipped-up into an emotional frenzy to act politically. The are currently unable to deal with more careful disagreement as a group.

    “Obamacare” is an emotional focus. They act like it’s “the evil eye” or some other thing they need to eject from society by way of disgust instead of reasoned argument. It’s intellectual peers include rejection of “Socialism”, “Socialized Medicine”, “Commies”, and more by people who can’t actually describe the items in question. The authorities in the authoritarian power structure point and gesticulate while squawking, and the rest of the monkeys start flinging poo.

    Showing my own disgust for the behavior on Facebook while avoiding my family defriending me has been an interesting dance.

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