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We're mad as hell

A Facebook chum pointed out this NPR program, "Angry America," about how fierce and apocalyptic the talk has gotten on the airwaves.

We’ve been there before. John Adams was a closet monarchist who was going to destroy our freedoms. Thomas Jefferson was going to turn lose the Jacobins and slaughter owners of property.

In the 1820s and 1830s, the Masons were going to take over the country. Then there were the successive bouts of nativist hysteria. If you have in your ancestry anyone of German, Irish, Italian, Eastern European, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese or Hispanic extraction, you can be assured that your ancestors were denounced as the scum of the earth and the doom of the Republic.

In the early days of the past century, Socialists took over the country with minimum-wage proposals and eight-hour workdays and an end to using children in factories and other outlandish ideas.

Franklin Roosevelt was going to destroy all wealth in the country. Harry Truman was a patsy for the Soviets (and so, depending on which flavor of conspiracy you favored, was Dwight Eisenhower).

Later, Richard Nixon was undermining the Constitution (oh, wait, that one happened), and then Ronald Reagan was going to get us into a nuclear war with Soviet Union and the elder George Bush was a pawn of some secretive internationalist group called the Trilateral Commission that was going to absorb the whole country and, well, you know.

We like to picture ourselves as a friendly, easygoing, generous-spirited folk, and often we actually are. But we have never lacked for a core group of very angry and resentful people — on the right and on the left and on ground apparently receiving signals from outside this solar system — who are confident that Bad People are involved in a malign conspiracy that will destroy everything we hold dear.

Such people appear to need this — we can’t be for something unless we are strongly against something. We could give them a lot of attention, or maybe we could suggest that they put a cold cloth on their foreheads and lie down for a while in a quiet place.



Posted by John McIntyre at 2:10 PM | | Comments (4)


Oh, I am very angry and resentful, and I wish more people were angry so that we might achieve some real change. I rattled off some of the reasons in a letter I had published in The Sun a while back:

"Suppose someone had suggested, just a few years ago, that our government would be spying on peaceful political gatherings, tapping our phones without court supervision, abducting innocent civilians and denying them judicial redress, imprisoning people indefinitely without trial, and subjecting these prisoners to physical and psychological torture.

"Such a person might well have been labeled a nut, but far from being paranoid fantasies, these are official policies of the United States, as one can read in the pages of almost any newspaper. If this has not resulted in widespread anger and fear, it can only be because most people don't know anyone personally who has fallen victim to these crimes committed by the state."

You see, conspiracy theories just aren't required. The things that are happening, that we all know are happening, and that no one denies are happening - these should be making us very angry so that we demand fundamental and immediate change.

Whew! I was afraid this was another Wikipedia post!

Also, every two weeks I see a quarter of the fruits of my labor taken by entities that treat me as a second-class citizen. Why shouldn't I be mad as hell?

Oh no, you've posted a facebook redirection link instead of the real thing!

JEM: Oops. Fixed.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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