So I was on the youtube this morning, looking at the most viewed videos (there's only so many times I can relive the 80's) and I stumble on this guy name Phil Defranco, or something like that and he goes on some rant for 3 minutes about how basically, everything is horrible and we all need to be made aware that everything is horribe. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world that some random stranger has the ability to tell me what he thinks about things. Then I notice, good heavens but he's angry.
My question du jour (which means "Tuesday") is, Is there more anger in the world these days?
The concept of going off on a rant could be said to be a relatively modern invention -- only since the observational comics (with Lenny Bruce and George Carlin in the lead) has it been socially acceptable to spout off for half an hour about how we're all idiots and we are in a society built on stupidity, irony and all-around uselessness. So now we have the Dennis Miller's, the A Whitney Browns and the random blogger all who spend their time bemoaning how we're all getting screwed at the drive-through, how our political tendencies reveal deep spiritual corruption and how if we deconstruct our society we reveal that if ignorance isn't bliss, it certainly is good for a giggle.
But is this all new? Is this all a function of a new breed of anger? If we go back to biblical times, what was the prophet, yelling his message from some hill top, but a ranting and raving blogger who claimed that the muse descended and told him to warn everyone that they all suck and they'd better just CUT IT OUT or god will stop this planet and turn it right around and you'll be thrown out of the house and have to sleep in the yard, Mister! Fast forward a bunch of years and you have the nutjob on the corner who is yelling much the same thing but because god has issued a statement disassociating himself with anyone wearing a sandwich board, or who claims inspiration came from a voice in a Beatles song, we consign this ranter to the role of "town drunk" (which begs the question -- maybe the prophet drinks to make the voices stop, not start), or high school gym teacher.
I think that technology has affected us in two ways -- one, it has made the angry person accessible to the masses, and handed the ears of the masses to the angry person. With all those channels and stations, there has been a need to fill airtime with something, and what sells? Passion and raw emotion. Thus, the angry people are given the soapbox because even if we aren't influenced by their pearls of wisdom, we will be amused and buy whatever toilet paper advertises during their breaks, when they take a breath and get all riled up again.
Secondly, I think technology has increased the flow of data and you know what ticks us all off most? Stuff. The more stuff we know, the more stuff we have to get rid of. In the closed agrarian society of all those years ago, the average guy could get mad at only a few things every week, and they were pretty cyclical. Not enough rain, too much rain, the 10 people I know annoy me ("and hey...what's the deal with the plague? Who was the ad wizard who came up with that?") and when no one is paying attention, how I hate god. Now, the constant influx of info gives us a chance to know and absorb and then spit out so much more. Maybe, the rants and all the yelling is proportionately the same as it ever was, representing the certain percentage of all the responses and since there is more stuff and more responses, we see more anger. Maybe, like one of the theories behind the increase in any disease, what we have is a higher awareness of it (possibly also because the bidirectional flow of information via technology makes us more able to see the anger all around us) but the overall number or at least percentage has remained the same.
Are we generally angrier? Is there more to be angry about, or are we just more in tune with all the anger out there?
And what's the deal with "tuna fish"? We don't call salmon "salmon fish"!