Wednesday, May 27, 2009

If you're not pissed off...'re not paying attention.

**NOTE** If swearing bothers you, don't read this. Please, don't read this. Its not because I swear, but because I link to others who do swear in this post. So if you find swearing offensive, please don't read this. And if you choose to anyway, don't be mad at me. I'll delete your comments on here and won't listen to it in person if they pertain to your being offended at this post. Come back in a day or two and read my posts on Spain. But for today, I find this post necessary.

With that being said:

If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention.

I believe that... wholeheartedly. I watch documentaries, listen to the news, and read online all the time. I keep myself immersed in politics, religion and world issues. Why? Not because I want to stay angry, but because I want to know what's going on. Does it cause me to be angry often? Yes. (My wife is a special woman to be able to live with me and love me day after day.) There are some days when I'm mad at the world. There are some days when I don't get why others don't understand. There are some days where I cry occasionally because the current state of the world is so sad.

If you've ever read "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers, you would remember Jake Blount. Jake goes around trying to get others to understand what's wrong with the world, and finds himself unable to get anyone to truly understand his message. To him, there are very few others who understand. I feel like that at times. Not that people don't listen to me--because my wife and friends and family do listen. Then too, there's all you who read this blog. I guess its that I don't think enough people are pissed off. There's too much wrong and bad and evil and pain and suffering and injustice in the world to not be pissed off about it. Shielding one's self from the dirty, gritty side of life doesn't lead to a fuller life--its just leads to a life lived in ignorance and vanity.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Then Eugene Cho goes and hits it on the head.

Go read his post here.

(If his use of the word f**k bothers you, or you think its gratuitous, I'm linking some recent blogging about swearing. Jonathan Brink discusses it as a dad and Christian here. Angela Harms writes about it from a mom's perspective here.)

Christians need to be angrier. People in general need to be angrier. We need to do something about this state we're in. I don't have all the answers to those problems, but I do know two things: 1, we can do something about the world's problems together; 2, action starts with emotion. So I think if you'll get angry, too, then we can do something about it.

In the 1976 film "Network," there's a great monologue. I keep going back to it today. Running the final lines over and over in my head. It is as follows:

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us.

Now into it: We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything, everywhere is going crazy so we don't go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won't say anything." Well I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. Goddammit, my life has value."

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Things have got to change my friends. You've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

This world is not going to change unless we do something about it. I don't have all the answers. I don't know how to approach these huge changes that are necessary. But we've got to start somewhere. We've got to do something. Like Eugene Cho says, because we are aware of the issues and have been changed by love ("transformed by Christ"), we need to act. Love and anger. Together. Acting out.

These three quotes are on my lips today:

"I am a human being. G******it, my life has value!"

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

"Love your neighbor as yourself."


JD said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for your unhelpful comment. I, obviously, have deleted it.

Listen, if you want to call it humanism then fine. I call it being who God made us to be. I call it being the hands and feet of Jesus. I see nothing wrong with balancing love and passionate anger.

I'm not mad about slow traffic or mad about rising gas costs or mad about something that's completely asinine. I'm mad about the terrible injustices of the world.

So you crawl back into the little hole you came out of and continue to live in your little box...

Me? I'll live life, and live it to the full.

JD said...

PS-If you're brave enough to write a comment about me/towards me that's scathing, at least have the guts to leave your name attached to it.

Only cowards hide behind labels like "anonymous."

{Life Is Good} said...

"How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
"How blessed are those who mourn, because it is they who will be comforted!

We share others pain because we have been in pain ourselves. God calls us to feel deeply for others as he desperately hurts for us. I honestly believe that we would be happier if we would stop trying so hard not to be sad, upset, angry.

Or caring more about the dying heroin in our favorite tv show rather than the sick, poor, hurting in our own community.

I know I am not your normal reader, just a mom who doesn't get out of the house enough, but I wanted you to know that I'm just as upset as you and I'm raising my kids to be as well!

JD said...


There's no such thing as a normal reader around here! There's quite a smattering of different people who read my blog--I'm always surprised when someone tells me they are reading along. Glad you're reading and commenting though--your thoughts are always welcome here.

I agree with your comments. I don't think people hold back emotions as much as they simply don't care. People don't involve themselves with the pains and troubles of the world. They're happier worrying about their next home and next car and their 401k--those things take over lives. People don't care about the complacency of the church at large so long as they can go on Sunday, get their dose, and leave feeling good about themselves. People don't care about the evil being committed by our government so long as its not being done to them.

I just don't get it. And I can't live like that. I'm not perfect. Far from it. I'm not great at the action part of this. I don't know what all to do. I just know that we've got to start somewhere and we've got to do this together.

Christy said...

Wow! This post could not have come at a better time. Sometimes I just wake up pissed at the world, and I desperately wish I had a punching bag with the face of several unsaid individuals plastered on the front of it. We must get mad. F**k hiding our emotions and acting like they're not apart of us for a reason. I'm weary of the state of the world. I'm weary of the chosen ignorance of so many. I'm tired of nonchalant attitudes~apathy sucks! Care, dag-nab-it!! Just show an inking of love for others. Really loving someone means getting angry when they've suffered injustice. Getting righteously angry!

Anyway, all this to say...I agree with you. I wholeheartedly agree. I'm pissed now; I really do wish I had a punching bag...

{Life Is Good} said...

Hey JD-
Thanks for the warm welcome. I don't often leave comments, because I seem to get pulled in another direction without finishing a complete thought.
So here are a few more things...
First, I struggle with finding balance between being destitute in spirit and full of joy and gratitude. There are moments when I find myself experiencing both at the same time. But there are many more moments when I am at one extreme or the other.
Also, a much wiser person than myself has reminded me that we cannot judge another on their motives and aspirations because they are not at the same level of spiritual grown as ourselves. It doesn't make it any easier to express our grief or encourage others to take action, but it does put things into perspective.
... A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot. ... The man to whom much
is given, will have to give much; if much is given into his care...
I have found a lot of peace by leaving the necessary correcting and training to God-when I am able to do it! I only add this as something that I am currently struggling with myself-not a quick fix solution to your post!
I also have a thought on cursing but am being pulled away now.

emmavelez. said...

right on. was talking to stefan about this the other day. when people don't give a damn, that's when things go bad. be them social or relational. when people get angry and begin to do something about their situations, that's when things really change.