Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Genre Wednesdays: [insert emotion] rant

Today's genre is "[insert emotion] rant"!

Maybe writing itself is an emotion? Jiminy-Cricket-on-a-nip-tuck, I can't believe I just wrote that.

Let me try again. Anger seems to be the default emotion of every social justice practice. Not that people are actually literally angry all the time. But if an emotion is needed, anger is high up on the list.

Anger is certainly ascribed by the media even in the midst of the most wonkish issues and motives -- "they're taking to the streets because they're furious about moderator bias in PwC's debate on country-by-country tax reporting!"

The compromise by which radicals, wannabe centrists, and reactionaries alike so easily agree to call the same activities "angry" is certainly weird and deserves more attention. (See note). But that's not what this post is for! This is New Genre Wednesdays, and the genre is "[insert emotion] rant"!

To be fair, there are probably quite a few fearful rants, paranoid rants, disgusted rants, horny rants, vigilant rants, euphoric rants, nostalgic rants, mournful rants, besotted rants and fascinated rants out there already. But other emotions tend to be neglected. For instance, what about:

Avaricious rant
Surprised rant
Trusting rant
Serene rant
Grateful rant
Polite rant
Ashamed rant
Relieved rant
Chilled rant
Amused rant
Curious rant
Embarrassed rant
Feeling overdressed rant
Bored rant
Hiccups-based rant
Knight er-rant
... and then one for every emoticon (every possible emoticon, not just every emoticon ever used)

(Are hiccups an emotion or am I thinking of hiccoughs?)

Remember, just as the angry rant is refueled by anger whenever it starts to flag, so the surprised rant must be constantly driven by surprise, and so on.


Note: Perhaps when our opponents call us angry they often mean hysterical and/or aggressive, whereas when we assent to being called angry we often mean powerless and/or courageous? Even when anger is not that neatly divided, radicals are deeply suspicious of the principle that the angrier you are, the less valid everything you say is. There is a long history of using anger -- real and/or ascribed -- as a pretext to exclude people from participating in public discussion about their own lives. On the other hand, when radical collectives reject the inverse relationship between anger and legitimacy, it doesn't mean that we automatically develop alternative versions of various integrative and epistemological advantages that come from treating angry discourse as invalid discource. So perhaps what needs attention, specifically, is whatever useful work the insistence on polite serenity is doing within enemy communities. Is such work important? Do we have ways of doing it? If not, can we dream some up?

No comments:

Post a Comment