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Daily Linksplosion: The Really Angry One

I get angry, but not that often. Or maybe I am angry a lot. But in my adult life I have always stepped lightly around my own opinions. That timorousness has helped maintain a lot of friendships that might otherwise not have lasted. My best childhood friend and I, for instance, have completely opposite, rabidly passionate beliefs. We have carefully cultivated a friendly and loving political distance. She and I understand the stakes. We know that, if we begin those conversations, we won’t stop, our feelings will be hurt, and no one will win. That is why she is my best friend. I have the same relationship with, you know, my mother.

Maybe nobody needs to know everything I’m thinking at any given moment, or how I feel about health reform or gun laws or Larry Elder (it’s complicated). Maybe there are some fiercely held opinions I’d do just as well to keep under my hat, just as I’d do well not to march up to a friendly acquaintance and scream “I hate you and everything you stand for.” No, I tiptoe, genuinely working hard to not alienate my fellow humankind. There’s no reason, ordinarily, for me to take up arms and get in your face and go THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.

But what is this, anyway? When did I lose my nerve? I think, before I became neurotically passive—you know, studying etiquette books—I was a delightful loudmouth kid. At any perceived slight I’d show up at the schoolboard meeting, a 9-year old starting some shit, a 12-year old starting some shit, a 15-year old starting some shit. I passed out T-shirts! I prepared a speech! I landed in detention! Whatever became of my girlhood’s splendid big mouth?

Opinions are like assholes, right? So where is my asshole? Is this an Internet thing, where we live so in fear of you zip it or else retaliation that we finally sit down and shut up? Or is it a broader cultural and political paranoia—that an unpopular view might get our names listed somewhere—that makes us lose our innate, obstinate, childlike temerity? Are we too overwhelmed to pick our battles? Or does cold reality, its hard knocks and reluctance to change, wear us down to its unfairness? (Oh, to be sure, not everyone shuts up. And when everyone is already on the same side, it seems nobody in the mob can shut up.)

So: High fives and fist-bumps to everyone who had a big mouth this week, who were willing to discuss things we should not even have to stop to talk about. And yet, here we are. Back to reading about Egypt tomorrow, right.

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