A place for new ideas to settle.

04 June 2014

"All I know is that first, you've got to get MAD!"

This post is in response to Danny Canham's post, "The Naked Truth: Continuing a Discussion on Anger." Go read that first, and then come back here.

I.

Anger is a powerful emotion, but the use of anger in discussion, especially ones as fraught as the discussions around social-justice issues like race and gender and sexuality, can be seen as a sign of rhetorical weakness. At least, when it's the Wrong People who are getting angry. Consider the enthusiasm heaped upon Nevada rancher and sovereign citizen Cliven Bundy (pre-"one more thing I know about the Negro") by the right-wing news media, pundits, and blogosphere. Consider the Tea Party and all its derivatives.

It's okay if it's an old white guy getting angry.

Somehow anger at a Lost Cause is slightly more normalized than, say, the anger at a Utopia Denied from something like the Occupy movement. That is, the narrative that "we lost something, and we're trying to get it back" often seems more coherent than "we've never had this thing, but we deserve it, so we're trying to take it from those who keep it from us." There's probably a cognitive bias in there somewhere.