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February 16, 2006

Rage Management

On any given day, I alternate between a variety of distinct emotional states:

1. Rage

2. Outrage (the extroverted version of Rage)

3. Vexation (a classier version of Rage)

4. Anger (similar to Rage, but includes the letter "n")

Obviously, I'm a very complex guy. Actually, I'm even more complex than it seems. You see, within each of the emotional states described above, there are different levels; I like to think of them as "gears". On a good day, I may only get up to 2nd gear on the Rageometer. On a bad day, maybe all the way up to 4th.

Then there's 5th gear.

I don't shift into 5th very often - and for good reason. First of all, every time I do, I end up destroying some piece of consumer electronics. Fax machines, plasma TVs, etc. This can get very expensive. Secondly, spending time in 5th gear - a state of "Maximum Rage" - is incredibly exhausting. I just don't have the energy to sustain that level of pissed-offedness for an extended stretch of time. The third reason why I avoid my 5th gear of Rage is the most important one... but it demands an explanation.

Yesterday, a series of new Abu-Ghraib images surfaced, revealing unspeakable acts of prisoner abuse: cigarette burns, forced sexual acts, brutalized corpses - really sick shit. If ever the Muslim world had a justification for going batshit crazy, this would certainly be it. Yet... it hasn't really happened. Why? Because, at the time these images were released, the Muslim world was already in a state of Maximum Rage. And what were they so mad about?

An insulting political cartoon printed by a newspaper in Denmark.

THIS, my friends, is the real reason I don't always drive my Ragemobile in 5th gear; it's because I'm trying to avoid THIS VERY SITUATION. Don't get me wrong: I admire the ability of Muslims across the globe to sustain peak levels of anger for months at a time. I admire their ability to generate searing fury based on an insult so slight, most religions would have scarcely noticed it at all. Their commitment to indiscriminate, pointless and self-destructive Rage is an ideal I can only hope to live up to. But, it is clear to me that the Muslim world needs to keep something left in the tank for those situations in which Rage is ACTUALLY JUSTIFIED. Otherwise, they risk the worst kind of cultural impotence - the inability to demonstrate righteous anger when it really counts.

Also, you come off looking like a complete fucking idiot.

Posted by Joey at February 16, 2006 03:53 AM

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