Saturday, June 24, 2017

Megaphones Part 2: The Unbalanced Treatment Of Anger

     I’ve written at least once before that to become genuinely powerful, the Right must harness its anger rather than suppressing it. Anger, especially when morally or ethically informed, is one of the most potent motivating tools. Moreover, an angry advocate tends to intimidate the typical “reasonable man;” sensing that violence is not far off, he will usually seek to defuse the other person’s anger, often by offering a compromise position. Indeed, there’s no other explanation for how the Left, which is now in a badly shrunken minority position, continues to exert substantial influence in American politics.

     However, I’m not the only loudmouth out here who knows this. The Left knows it too, which is why they seek to delegitimize conservatives’ anger while sanctifying their own. Their media allies are fully enlisted in that cause:

     Less than a week after [James Hodgkinson’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and others], there was a high-profile House election in Georgia—the most expensive House race in history. The Republican candidate Karen Handel had been specifically named by Hodgkinson in one of his anti-Republican Facebook rants. When I say named, I mean he called her a “shit” then exhorted his followers to “Vote Blue!” This tidbit got only the briefest of mentions outside local news, as did the threatening letters containing white powder Handel and her neighbors received days before the election. The powder turned out to be non-toxic.

     Hodgkinson’s attempted massacre was not part of media coverage of GA-6 despite his act of intimidation having clear implications there. Targeting a specific population for its beliefs usually has a secondary consequence—to cow the members of the community the murderer didn’t succeed in killing. Would Republican voters be intimidated into staying home or emboldened by this attack on elected Republicans? It seems like an interesting question in a special election where turnout is important and unpredictable, yet it was rarely if ever discussed.

     Instead, the only time the shooting came up in national media coverage of GA-6 was when an outside group ran a small, ham-handed ad tying Democratic rhetoric to the shooting. The ad was promptly, rightly denounced by Handel, but the scolding coverage of the ad went on for a day. My, how quickly we move in the news cycle from Republicans literally shot to Republican overreach about Republicans being literally shot.

     Pay special attention to the last paragraph. Not only did the media lavish a great deal of “scolding coverage” on an ad that – in my opinion, at least – was substantively correct, they targeted Republican Congressional candidate Karen Handel and conservative writer Mary Katherine Ham approved of the media’s decision to do so. That’s how deeply embedded in the Right’s consciousness the media have driven the “anger isn’t acceptable” postulate...a nonsensical notion that gets no respect whatsoever from the Left.

     This is a political auto da fe in progress.

     Asking an angry man “Why are you so angry?” is an indirect way of challenging his rationality and his priorities. The subtext is always “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” Dial it back, dude! You’re harshing our mellow. There are better ways to expend your energy, Bubba, so take a chill pill. Gotta go with the flow, y’know, Joe?

     How anyone could imagine that he has the necessary stature or perspective to rule on the validity or the appropriateness of someone else’s emotions is beyond me. Yet it happens too frequently to bear enumeration – and the media are involved more often than not.

     (Full disclosure: I, a lowly software engineer, once chased a vice president of marketing out of my office while screaming at the top of my lungs that he was wasting my time. Not only did I get away with it, the head of my department complimented me on being so forthright and my group took me out to lunch to celebrate. There weren’t any media around at the time, though.)

     Consider the wildly asymmetric media treatment of Islamic terror events. Immediately afterward the media are all over us, counseling us against “disproportion” while donating endless air time and column-inches to Muslim mouthpieces to wring their hands about “backlash against Muslims.” But who’s doing the dying? Whose children are being cut down by jihadists? And when has anything a hundredth as bad as mass murder ever been visited upon Muslims in America, England, Europe, or Australia?

     Disarming a populace ready to rise in righteous fury has often seems the highest priority of our media. We ought to tell them to stuff it where the moon don’t shine...but so far we’ve done nothing of the sort.

     The greater part of the problem can be credited to two factors:

  1. The general delegitimization of anger as such;
  2. The Left’s superior skill at treating its causes as moral issues.

     Two recent movies will serve to dramatize the matter.

     If you haven’t seen the Adam Sandler / Jack Nicholson tour de force Anger Management, I strongly urge you to do so. Sandler is underappreciated as an actor, and Nicholson, of course, is one of the immortals. Though the movie is billed as a comedy, it’s practically a sermonette on the unwisdom of our society’s contemporary attitude toward anger. It depicts how ordinary pique, fully justified by circumstances and in no way threatening to anyone, as something that deserves to be sentenced to mandatory therapeutic remediation. Today we’re practically no allowed to be angry. The natural censoriousness of Man has seized upon this new excuse for criticizing others and turned it into a social crusade.

     Did I say that “we’re not allowed to be angry?” Why yes, I did...with one categorical exception: moral issues. But they must be the Left’s moral issues; the media will not permit the Right to have any such.

     Time was, Americans got angry:

  • At obscene public demonstrations by homosexuals;
  • At sexual indoctrination in the public schools;
  • At having their taxes go to foreign satraps;
  • At having to fund abortion on demand;
  • At being lied to by the media.

     Virtually all such anger has “gone underground.” No one wants to be castigated for “letting his emotions run away with him.” Unless, that is, those emotions have been harnessed to a media-approved cause.

     A recent example of great importance is Cassie Jaye’s remarkable documentary The Red Pill, about the Men’s Rights movement and the Left’s attempt to silence it. Not one of the men’s rights activists Cassie interviewed allowed himself even a trace of visible or audible anger. Yet the Left has strained to demonize the movie as merely agitprop for “angry white nationalists” who have no right to have any grievances...nor to receive any attention. A recent interview of Miss Jaye on Australian television highlights the media’s alignment:

     As difficult as it is to endure that clip, I hope you’ll steel yourself to it. Miss Jaye is an honest documentarian: her film presents both sides of a painful social division as plainly and as factually as I’ve ever seen done in a video format. But the “interviewers” in the clip above are openly determined to slander the film, despite their admission that they hadn’t seen it. How Miss Jaye maintained her composure is difficult to imagine...but had she allowed any anger to surface, it surely would have been highlighted and used as “evidence against her.”

     That makes me furious...but how would the media treat my anger over their deceitfulness?

     There’s a great deal more to say on this subject, but I’ll close with one final exhortation: If you believe you have a just cause for anger but feel you’re not allowed to be, ask yourself who did that to you, and how...and why. The answers point the way forward not just politically, but for many who suffer countless depredations and humiliations in silence, personally as well.


mobius said...

Story of my life, until I learned to laugh in their faces.
They don't like that. It frightens them.
Insidiously evil bunch.

Isn't she great? I can't wait to watch the movie.

JWM said...

I'm 65 years old, and I've been here in So Cal since 1963. I have seen way too much change, and none of it for the better. To quote Tom Waits: "No one speaks English, and everything's broken." We always seem to have the front row seat for whatever trend will next affect the rest of the country. I'll resist the temptation to list my pet annoyances and outrages. They are legion. I've watched the crown jewel of Western Civilization fundamentally transformed into Soviet-fornia. Like marrying Gidget only to find yourself bound to a fat, nagging, social justice pig. The anger is real. It gets to me in a thousand small ways every day. I do not like anger. I find myself engaging in a sort of selective denial, wherein I deliberately don't turn my mind's eye to certain topics. The list of certain topics is rather unwieldy at this point, and I haven't been able to erase any entries so far. So what do you do? There is no shelter, only prayer.


furball said...

JWM, you've expressed my frustration much better than I could have. I'm 66, have lived in the Bay Area all my life, but now avoid going out as much as possible because it is almost always depressing, scary, frustrating or anger-inducing.

Tim Turner