Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Angry Belle Mobilizes Her Rights

Actually, right now I'm not angry. I think I may have successfully diffused the difficult situation I was in, which is good because I was getting homicidal. Right now, I am full of happy, warm love, like a puppy rolling in the sunshine. I made chocolate pudding (which is awesome) and licked the bowl and spatula, I have sent off two parcels to TL, and and am waiting for TD to come home for dinner.

But what's wrong with a little anger, anyway? I know a law prof who is an awesome guest blogger, but thinks that he's never invited for a permanent spot on popular law blogs because he comes off as "a little hot-headed." Oh, and most permaprofs don't? Keep in mind, this is a dude, and he would be regarded as "boldly opinionated" and "assertive," whereas most women bloggers would be derided as "bitchy" and "emotional."

I guess that's one of the reasons I am still nominally pseudonymous. I don't ever do ad hominems or engage in vitriolic outbursts I would not be prepared to back up in public if called upon to do so. Most of what I rail against are abstract, general social ills: racism, misogyny, discrimination, etc. Still, it's enough "intemperateness" and enough personal anger seeps in that I am glad it's not under my own name.

But really, given the violence in our popular culture, why is anger so devalued as an emotion? Anger is often the first stage in legal consciousness and the mobilization of rights. It's an agent of change and revolution. I know, as a techinical Buddhist, I should be all for pacifism and feel-goody shit like that. I come from a college city where peace signs abound everywhere, and people sign off emails "peace," or "pax," or whatever kind of hippie language they speak (paz? paix?). But really, I think anger is devalued as an emotion.

I tend to be "too nice," such that I can barely confront something that is wrong, even when it is done to me. Granted, I may come off a little hot-headed here, but in real life, it is hard (and socially unacceptable) to express anger and tell someone that they are wrong. It is that Oprah-effect. But I will tell you, that finally getting angry enough to end draining relationships, be they romantic or platonic, is a saving grace. Being angry enough to "do something about it" and start up some campaign or social/political/legal movement is awesome.

Anger is awesome. Sometimes I have frightening levels of anger, though it creeps out passive aggressively on the blog (all the anti-French sentiments have nothing to do with France or its people, mostly one French person I would like to see impaled with blunt spears--yes, this is an actual fantasy, I am that scary and angry--and maybe two other French people whom I would like to see get paper cuts repeatedly). But if I didn't have anger, I wouldn't feel so viscerally a wrong, and I wouldn't desire so strongly that it be righted, and I wouldn't be be so grateful for something that is its opposite--something good. I think of it not unlike knowing a good law because you know what a bad law is, and have lived under that law.

Anyway, here's to anger, and here's to something good, who should be arriving in a couple of hours. So, in the interim, back to some reading on the mobilization of rights.