If You’re Not Mad,

The way the phrase normally continues is “you’re not paying attention”. There’s plenty of madness to go around and not much reason to suggest a great deal more attention is being paid, so what’s the story? I’d like to present the idea of anger as social currency, a sort of genuineness that establishes the angered as human.

What’s the implication? Rage isn’t exactly in limited supply these days. Compared to nuance, rage is easy. Directed rage is even easier, it’s self-perpetuating. We’re at a surplus.

We’re also nearing the primaries in Iowa, meaning that hundreds of thousands of voters have the opportunity to make their rage substantial. Fivethirtyeight says the chances of that are respectable, but not likely. It’s probably all talk, which, incidentally, is how one spends one’s anger currency. Statements such as “I hate Trump” and “Ben Carson is a lunatic” are excellent purchases. They come with fun accessories like tut-tutting, exasperated sights, and murmurs of agreement. On the other side of the aisle, you’ll find products like “Islam is such a barbaric religion” and “Hillary Clinton is evil”. I say products because most of my day isn’t dedicated to having feelings about the US political landscape, and I come across them mainly being shared on Facebook or posted to Reddit.

People are paying their toll.