Stop the Madness

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I have many role models, but two of them are of the negative type: people who have made mistakes I want to avoid. The first is James Nasmith, the inventor of the game of basketball; the second is Thomas Jefferson.

The reason I don’t want to be like Nasmith is not because he invented basketball. B’ball is a wonderful sport. I don’t want to be like Nasmith because he exemplifies something I want to avoid. The tendency to become oblivious to madness. Continue reading

The Beauty and the Beast

You’ve seen Disney’s version of the Beauty and the Beast. If you’ve had a toddler, you’ve seen it a thousand times. Did you know that you may be acting it out in your own life? Do you realize it might be ruining everything?

You know the story: a charming young woman falls in love with a beastly man and, through her love, he is transformed into a prince. The ancient Greeks had elements of the plot in their myths of Eros and Psyche and Hades and Persephone. In fairy tales, you have ladies kissing frogs. Then there’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and, in our own time, a variation was developed in the Phantom of the Opera. The hope it offers is intoxicating. The picture of marriage seems true to life. Continue reading

Outrage

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

If you spend any time thumbing through Facebook or Twitter, listening to talk radio, or watching the news, you’d agree we’re in the age of outrage. It doesn’t take long, going through any of those media before you’ll see someone who’s outraged about something, or outrageous. Soon, you will get outraged about something, yourself.

As an emotion, outrage is obviously related to rage and, by that route, is also associated with anger, frustration, and indignation. All the feelings in that family serve to alert you that there is an injustice afoot and you need to do something about it. Compared to its relations, outrage is, well, more outrageous. It means you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. When peasants appear at the castle with torches and pitchforks, ready to burn the place down, they are outraged. Outrage appears to be an essential ingredient in popular, if not mob, rule.

Outrage is also what you feel when you caught your husband cheating and have all kinds of names to call him. It’s characterized by feeling of moral superiority and a willingness to express yourself freely, in no uncertain terms, and to not quit doing so until you’ve completely said your piece.

Having felt outrage many times, I perfectly understand the impulse to give yourself in to its mixed pleasures. On one hand, it’s not a pleasant thing to need to be outraged; on the other hand, it feels good to get something off your chest. But what I really want to know is, does outrage work? Is it an efficient method of effecting change? Continue reading