Present Tense

Geez, why so angry?

Do you find yourself swinging into the ‘angry’ zone more often than before? We flawed humans tend to run the gamut of emotions from day to day, or even minute to minute, depending on hormones. It’s all part of our wonderful humanity, but I’m wondering about what’s going on with us lately.

Turn on the news, you see angry mobs…everywhere. Not that unusual I guess, since cable news’ bread and butter is conflict, but the anger and hostility aimed at everyone who doesn’t completely share your viewpoints, whether friends, family, co-workers or complete strangers has become distressing and for me, overwhelming.

What’s with all the anger?  I like to pull a good Buddhist quote out of my butt every now and then and here’s one:  “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.  Anger ain’t healthy for you or for the target of your anger and yet,  anger has become pervasive in everyday discourse.  It seems to have become a requirement in ANY and ALL conversations about current events, politics and even stuff that’s not really that important, like sports or pop culture.

I have a pretty intense personality and am usually game for a good argument.  I’ve been described as angry or hostile or mean over my many years of yapping on the radio, but as I observe modern media, via TV, radio and the internet, I look and sound like “Little Mary Sunshine” compared to not just other media types, but the ‘common folks’ who opine via chat sites and Facebook.

It got so bad recently, that I pretty much gave up on my ‘public persona’ Facebook page;  I couldn’t abide the nastiness that has become the norm.  It’s not even the hostility that got to me, but rather the ignorance and total rejection of any facts or opinions that might contradict or give clarity to the posts.  There seems to be an epidemic of groupthink on both sides of the political spectrum and in my experience, things are never so black and white on major issues and philosophies.  Using anger as your filter can greatly cut down on your understanding of other opinions, people and yes, facts; it can also be very bad for your mental and emotional health.

Maybe my perspective comes from being in the media for so long.  I’ve had to publicly state and defend my opinions for so many years, that I have developed a pretty thick skin.  Most people who enter the fray, mostly on the internet, aren’t used to being publicly challenged or argued with and I notice that they immediately start in with the nasty stuff.  I find that a rational, challenging debate is fun; pissing matches are not.

Perhaps it’s purely the passing of time; we heard it all of our young lives:  “I’m older and wiser than you and one day you’ll understand”.  Everyday that passes does give me a bit more to go on in the wisdom department.  Life is short and once you pass 50, that road ahead looks like a cul-de-sac, rather than the superhighway that was laid out in front of you at 25.  Hot, burning anger is a waste of my time.   Although I do admit to a fairly constant, low-level annoyance with people, I am much more willing to try and see their side, unless they’re trying to shove it forcefully down my throat, while calling me names.

So, lots of you have found a passion or a purpose in anger of late and I’m certainly not in any position to talk you out of it, but try a little tenderness instead, along with some deep breathing before you speak or hit ‘send’. Oh, and think about puppies and hot chocolate chip cookes; that always puts me in a better mood.  Simple, no?

March 19, 2011 - Posted by | Musings | , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Jane –

    So true. Hostility is running so high these days. The wheels have come clean off the civility wagon. It is so very disturbing and down right frightening. I don’t see how we can have a rational conversation in this country anymore with the sentiments now so deeply polarized.

    I don’t want to start a war here so I will try to come at this as benign as possible. I really think what is happening to us is we are seeing a dominant force in our politics, policy making and governance for the last 60 years or so starting to lose power. There is panic in the ranks and not a whole lot for them to hold on to. The current has shifted and the panic is setting in. They never expected such a huge push back. Terra firma is shifting and the status quo is no longer on solid footing.

    I think we all know that anger is rooted in fear. And those of who feel threatened are very fearful for it looks to them like their world is coming to an end. That is a very scary place to be. And, sadly, anger and acting out in dangerous ways cannot help but emerge. Because the psyche was never prepared for this shift.

    I think it is going to take some time for these raging tides to recede. Let us pray no one ends up seriously hurt as we sort all this out.

    Comment by Greg | March 19, 2011 | Reply

  2. Try some Ben and Jerry’s new Jimmy Fallon Late Night Snack ice cream, it will get rid of any emotion except pure delight.

    Anger does seem pretty useless but then again, I don’t think the people of Egypt wanted to send Mubarak cookies.

    Comment by Jessi | March 19, 2011 | Reply

  3. Goooood stuff. Go Buddha! We were just talking about this the other day. Fear and ignorance usually manifests into anger. Sadly the mob mentality takes over quite quickly in even the more passive states;) Ommm

    Comment by Margie | March 19, 2011 | Reply

  4. I think anger in the political arena comes more often with age. Probably because we have more time and interest in knowing what is going on in the world. We were too busy when we were younger to notice the things that annoy us now. I know I was!!!! Us older folks don’t let things slide like we did when we were younger and are now more concerned about the happenings in world
    around us. I guess you could call it more of a “fear factor”.

    Comment by Marsha | March 21, 2011 | Reply

  5. OY! Don’t I know this. I did let a ‘conversation’, which was filled with anger, go on on my facebook longer than it should have. But there was a point to letting it go and that was to let that angry hurtful person bury themselves. I’m sure that they are still licking their wounds. I deleted the entire post eventually and several more after that…I don’t understand the anger and hostility…especially in the name of religion. For God’s sake! Can’t we all just get along? 🙂

    Comment by kandis | March 22, 2011 | Reply

    • The angrier that we allow ourselves to get, the stupider we become in our decisions. I also agree that most of us are not as comfortable telling others that we are feeling afraid, uncertain, frustrated, abandoned neglected. These feelings are not as popular to express as “I’m pissed off, and I’m not gonna take it anymore”.

      Comment by Tim | April 2, 2011 | Reply

  6. Let’s revive the hippie movement. Don’t laugh! I searched the internet to listen to Santana’s Woodstock gig about a month ago and I tell you, Mike’s long-winded drum solo put a biiiiiiiigggggggg silly grin on my face. I’ll have another listen to it tonight. It never fails to bring back good memories to mind. Try it, you’ll feel the weight temporarily lift from your shoulders and it will make you feel “young and free again”, if only for a few moments. Go on. DO IT! GO BACK IN TIME FOR A FEW MINUTES. ENJOY!

    Comment by DJ | May 27, 2011 | Reply


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