Anger, Rage, and Stupid
LC Van Savage
Have we always been so bloody angry? I remember people getting ticked at each other, yelling sometimes, but that was generally aimed at acquaintances, neighbors, us kids, and it hardly ever happened. I don’t recall people getting so livid at strangers though, the way they do today. It must have happened sometimes, but if it did, people usually ranted privately at home and not in public.
I think I’ve figured out why we give ourselves permission to become furious whenever and wherever we please, to spill our daily piss-offs on everyone with absolutely no effort to hold back. It’s because the media tells us it’s OK. Talk show radio guys mainly. Not all of them of course, but a great many.
What is with them? (And yes, it’s mostly guys.) These men are so filled with anger, rage and venom it’s stunning. They scream about everything and mostly at people who call in. They go on and on about all things---the administration, global warming, people’s attitudes (like they don’t have any), traffic, airlines, food, TV, language---name it, and they’ll spew their uncontrolled outrage at both callers and listeners.
I’m not a fan of Limbaugh but at least he rants quieter. He makes colossal mistakes in judgment and reporting and never thinks it’s his responsibility to apologize or explain to his listeners, but he doesn’t scream. Unable to debate, he simply cuts to a commercial when a caller with a contrary opinion gets through. But no screaming. Imus gets angry, but rarely raises his voice to a fevered pitch.
But other radio jocks do, and because so many of us believe media entertainers are omnipotent gods who know everything and have the right to advise, guide and correct us, when we hear all that fury steadily hammered at us, we just go and imitate it, because after all, they do it, so why shouldn’t we? Because of their perpetual, irresponsible invective, these morons lead us to believe that losing control is a right, that we can shoot people who cross us, that we can leap from our cars and grab someone who cut us off accidentally in traffic and kick them to death, that we can shove and knock and curse and bellow at anyone on earth whom we perceive as having done something “wrong” by their exalted standards.
We see this kind of behavior in nearly every motion picture, play, and newspaper. Our friends and acquaintances brag about people they’ve put down, insulted, pushed around, squelched, beaten, mocked, humiliated, belittled, even killed, and many of us cheer and clap these low-lifes on the back and praise them for their big, mighty, macho dunceries.
I often wonder why people actually call radio talk shows. They must know they won’t get a chance to express their points of view. Don’t they know they’re simply fodder for these shallow, often poorly informed radio bellowers, none intellectual giants but simpleton gasbags with simpleton, dull-witted opinions? No matter what, no matter how intellectual and informed their callers are, no matter how much scholarship a caller may have on a subject, the furious, exploding radio talk people won’t listen or budge. It’s a matter of “don’t confuse me with facts, idiot,” and the callers are cut off.
Radio talk jocks are also allowed to curse, and what they have the “decency” to not say, they use initials. I thought that was supposed to be stopped, but apparently not. They are also permitted to blaspheme whenever the mood hits and that has got to be intensely offensive to listeners with strong religious beliefs.
I hold these guys accountable. I honestly believe the dreck and cant they vomit 24/7 pulls out the very worst in us and affords us permission to do the same to others. These viciously enraged radio pundits (they wish) think they’re entitled, and they let us think we are too, and we are not.
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