Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Hot Anger, Cool Anger

Over at Grim's Hall, Texan99 has a post about "Permission Slips" for violence, which in turn links to similar discussions beyond. Quite useful.  It is an extension one encounters in many places, of those who will not do violence themselves, but make excuses for those who do, and thus consider themselves peaceful people.  Mafia bosses don't do rubouts. They wear nice suits and expensive shoes. Yet they, at least, understand that violence undergirds their position.

My recollection in the 1960s was that the violent radicals were few, but very serious. Theirs was hot violence, with rage and getting into people's faces. Most radicalism was cooler, with condescension and humor about violence, as if not quite taking it seriously.  Though there were Days of Rage, those were elsewhere and they didn't impact most of us much. Still, city protests were worse than college protests, and I may have a false picture.

Cool rage continued to be the norm, as even peaceful liberals made excuses for those who wished violence on Reagan because well, you could understand. It wasn't liberals who were the violent ones (though they were), it was those conservatives.  We knew that because they had guns, and liked them (shudder).  And that was mostly who went into the military, so like, more guns and violence. Not so much violence at independent bookstores and NPR studios, so that proves it. Bill Ayers went into cool anger, because he thought it would be more successful. Yet there was always the subtext that some people were going to be violent, and who could blame them.?

I think the election of 2000 was a real change. I thought cool anger turned to hot anger on the left, and stayed there a bit.  It got dealt a severe blow on September 11 and mostly went cool again. It was not violent that I recall, but the rage was clearer.  They had been robbed, robbed, I tell you. I think cool rage continued under Obama, with repeated upticks in hot anger as well. Occupy had some hot rage, but was mostly that protest tactic of trying to goad others into violence.  (See also, the challenging of Trump supporters at rallies, usually by Bernie Bros.)   There was no switch this time, there was just addition. Obama was very good at cold - yet he was also the one who talked about bringing a gun to a knife fight. Leakage.

If you look at the video T99 posted, you will see that there is still cool anger, justifying violence.  But hot rage is leaking out, even among the cold people. 


Harold Boxty said...

Who came up with no-cash bail and told the police to stand down? Which district attorneys are refusing to press charges against those arrested. Who ordered the release of convicted felons? The suspect in the Portland shooting/assassination was released after being arrested for drag racing while driving under the influence!

james said...

WRT "cool anger" and deniability

"But all the same . . . was there a single doctrine practised at Belbury which hadn't been preached by some lecturer at Edgestow? Oh, of course, they never thought anyone would act on their theories! No one was more astonished than they when what they'd been talking of for years suddenly took on reality."

There's something wickedly satisfying about sitting in judgment on your opponents and fantasizing what ought to happen in a world run along more "poetic justice" lines. You wouldn't execute judgment yourself, of course--you are too noble for that (and perhaps the risks are too high)--but you could view it done with equanimity; even give permission. You could then pass lordly judgment on the executioners--"An understandable sentiment, but perhaps that was a little trop."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

An excellent reference.

Texan99 said...

When I think of 2000 what comes back is my own flaring of anger. I don't remember being angry until I saw what I interpreting as people trying to steal the election from my preferred candidate, who was Bush. I remember those Republicans bursting into the ballot-counting room in Florida and wished I was with them. It was a very strong "you've gone too far this time" feeling, whereas before I tended to take my frequent losses in elections more philosophically. I was becoming frequently angry when I noticed how deceitfully current events were covered in my Houston newspaper, and at the condescension my fellow-travelers and I encountered when we complained.

I see what you mean when you refer to the flaring of anger among Gore supporters, but I was barely able to notice it at the time, I was so angry myself. Then I calmed down for several years, not to become extremely angry again until my health insurance was destroyed.

These days I'm angry, but even more alarmed. I see things swinging out of control.