MATT LABASH SUBSTACK:
’ve been an avid news consumer for as long as I can remember. Yet I don’t recall being this agitated all the time in years past. I watch the news or read the internet for a few hours, and my skin prickles, my blood boils, my spirit withers. But mostly, I’m just angry as a m*****f***** all the time. Is it me? Is it everyone? How do I make it stop?
Barney in the Rubble
No, it’s not just you, Barney. It’s something like half the people I know anymore. And more like 90 percent of avid news consumers. I don’t see a Barney Rubble on my subscriber list, so perhaps you missed a column I wrote last fall on anger, titled “Our Anger Problem is Making Me Angry.” In it, I very much counted myself among these unfortunates, and I found it cathartic to write. For me, it was better than my usual release valves, like punching the wall or kicking the dog. (JK, fellow dog lovers. I’d rather coldcock my dear, saintly mother than lay a hand in anger on God’s favorite creature. Especially if Mom kept begging for table food.)
In my defense, I am half-Sicilian. One of my great grandfathers hailed from Corleone – Godfather country. So by blood and temperament, grudge-holding and revenge culture come naturally to me. Therefore, I’m often halfway triggered before anyone pulls mine, willing to find offense, real or imagined, wherever it may lurk. In fact, I find people who are easily offended particularly offensive. So I have my internal work cut out for me these days, since just about everybody is.
But I have some bad news for you about all the bad news you watch that’s making you angry: no matter how much of it you consume, they’re going to keep making more of it. You’ll never catch up. And so, if it’s throwing your system off-kilter, you’re faced with a dilemma: how many shots of poison can you drink in good health per day?