Sep 3, 2008
fear and anger, anger and fear
Since when is anger a bad thing? It's a response all animals have to disturbing situations and it helps us, the same way that pain stops us from causing ourselves greater harm.
People who are afraid to face their discontents like to write off activists as not being in charge of their anger. Bush made reference to the "angry left" at the RNC this week (though of course calling centrist Obama "left" is laughable). What sane person wouldn't want to riot?
I think anger is an incredibly valuable response to all kinds of things, and it's one of the ways I know I'm alive, and conscious. I don't only feel anger: I (and all those other "angry activists") are driven by love and hunger and other passions.
I get weary of being asked why I insist on acknowledging my anger. Silence = Death may be an old school slogan, but Act Up knew what they were talking about. Silence and the lack of truth telling keep us in our place, keep us numb, keep us isolated and questioning our own sanity. Not speaking makes sexual abuse able to go on, allows all manner of violation to occur.
Speaking up and fighting for improvements is about being alive. I fear the outcome of numbness and complacency far more than I fear anger.
Without anger, I am as dead as one of Annette Messager's sparrows. The ritual of clothing and protecting them and treating them gently doesn't make them any less dead.