You're Mad as Hell, and I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore
Wise ones, do not befriend
The faithless, who are mean
And slanderous and cause schism.
Don’t take bad people as your companions.
A couple of days ago, I received a text from an old friend. He was angry about what he believed to be a newly contrived holiday, dubbed Juneteenth, showing up unexpectedly on his calendar. He opined the name was stupid and sounded like a child came up with it. He seemed to feel this affront was perpetrated by a corporate cabal intent on making him feel guilty for being "racist" [emphasis not added] by virtue of being white. I have known this person for a long time and can vouch he has no history of racism. I'd even go so far as to say his frustration about a freshly-minted holiday joining the ranks of such lesser celebrated holidays as Earth Day and Boxing Day are not rooted in any overt or witting racism, even though I sure make it sound that way in this paragraph.
I often come across documentaries about people who have lost their friends and family to radicalization by Fox News, Trumpism, ISIL, Marxism, Anti-Vaxxers, Q-anon, and so on. I don't know for sure what happened to my friend. What I can say is, several years ago, he became very active in the gaming community. It was around that time his personality began to change. A formerly mild-mannered and good-natured guy started to become more assertive, which was a net positive for him. However, as time went on, this assertiveness shifted into an ever more angry and belligerent personality. The things he seems most bitter about are all the same things you hear from the "angry white guy gamers" community ever since Gamergate. You could mark it on your calendar, but he will vehemently deny it, and then tell me to fuck off when I point it out.
He's not alone in this change toward the angrier. I'm surrounded by a world growing ever more bitter by the day. Frankly, you all have to stop. Well, no, not all of you. There are some things we need to be riled up about. But you can't be pissed off about every little thing (or even the most serious of matters) all of the time. It slowly poisons you, spiritually. Your own change may be so gradual you don't even realize you've been transformed. Entrenching yourself in a group of likeminded people sharing similarly unhealthy beliefs and behaviors will cause you to mistake extreme maladaptive thought patterns and practices as normal (because they are normative in your social group). However, taking a step back, it is clearly not healthy, sensible, or even okay to go through life filled with a pointless rage. If this describes you, it would be good to seek medical help to break the cycle and free yourself from unnecessary suffering.
For my part, I do not have the energy to deal with all of you angry people anymore. There are simply too many of you for me to entertain whatever outrage you're on about today. We've got some huge problems to tackle, including a deadly pandemic, systemic state violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable of our citizens, a collapsing world economy, and global warming, to name a few. Get it together, people. If you're angry all the time, you need to make a change. And if you need help, get help.
I highly recommend the Rabbit Hole podcast from the New York Times. It discusses how algorithms designed to increase engagement on YouTube (and other sites) may wind up radicalizing people. Don't think it can't happen to you! The podcast is a serial you should listen to in order.
I also think you should make the effort to read Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop in its entirety. It's an essay about some of the problems intrinsic to policing, written by someone anonymously claiming to be a former police officer. From reading the article, it seems most likely at least one or more law enforcement officers were involved in authoring the piece. It discusses issues with so-called cop culture, how police are trained, and some shady practices police commonly engage in. The author definitely has a strong distaste for policing as a system and police themselves. However, for me, the most important ideas revolve around whether an armed police officer is even the correct person to handle much of the work police are tasked with. This is something I hadn't really considered before, but he makes a strong argument that, in most cases, they are not.
- I'm well aware Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1867, for I too have the Google on my computer. If I'm honest, the only reason I know about Juneteenth is that there is a parade in Philadelphia every year. Up until last year, that parade would start from the park a half block from my apartment. That it took riots and mass demonstrations over police routinely murdering black people, along with a distasteful (or downright antagonistic) Trump rally scheduling, to inspire enough corporate guilt to get Juneteenth and the history behind it into the public eye stands as testimony to why it needed adding to the list of holidays on your computer calendar. It is an important part of U.S. history that certainly was not taught in high school back in my day.