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America's Anger Problem?

Some of the several hundred "Tea Party Express" protesters who demonstrated in Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. (AP)

Americans sure look angry. Sometimes, lethally. The IRS attack in Texas. Campus killer Amy Bishop in Alabama.

And then there’s media pundit rage, and Tea Party rage, and anti-Wall Street rage, and the slow boil anger of the broke and out of work.

There are reaons. And it’s not the first angry season in American history. But it sure is vivid — in a time of 24-hour cable magnification and the easy rant on the web.

The anger can, and does, come right into our personal lives. It imbues our public arena. What’s the effect?

This hour, On Point: Anger in America, and where it’s taking us now. 


Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars and a  former professor of anthropology at Boston University. He’s author of “A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America.”

Paul Starobin, staff correspondent at National Journal and contributing editor at The Atlantic. He’s the author of “After America: Narratives for a Global Age.”

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  • cory

    I would like to nominate the woman in the red hat in the photo above to be the poster child for the tea bag movement.

    She is stylish, well groomed, tasteful, and the scarf represents a certain understated patriotism. I love it!

  • Patricia Della-Piana

    I don’t believe we are any angrier than we have been in the past. We just say so more often, louder and in places where we can be heard.

  • Wait one minute…


    You know what makes people angry? When they listen to your show, namely yesterday’s show, and they are treated to callers who seem to think the end of Apartheid in South Africa was a not such a great thing. Why would that make people angry? Did it make you angry Tom? If it didn’t, then there is something worong with you.

  • Stacked

    You know what makes me angry? When liberal venom-spitters start making comments on the show before it’s even been aired. It shows you, point-in-fact, that a fight is the only way to deal with some bullies.

  • Wait one minute…

    Hey Tom,

    Why not do a show on what Apartheid in South Africa is all about?

    Hey Stacked,

    I would of thought that ending Apartheid would not be a liberal/conservative issue. guess I was wrong.

  • Wait one minute…


    What about all us venom spitting Anti-Apartheid liberal types? Aren’t we just terrible awful people? Imagine, condemning Apartheid! Who the hell do we think we are?

  • Wait one minute…

    Us Anti-Apartheid bullies need to get our noses bloodied Tom. Listen to Stacked!

  • Stacked

    Until Tom decides to do the show that focus’ on how Apartheid may have been bad, but the communist ANC is far far worse, start educating yourselves. Here you go Wait on minute…, defend this!


  • Ellen Dibble

    American has its set of chosen neuroses, misconceptions that liberate us and empower us in our approach to life. Presently a lot of those neuroses are getting challenged, those of the rich, those of the disempowered, and those of the steeply-squeezed middle class. I suspect therapists know very well that abandoning cherished ways of thinking has a price: anger. Well, denial first, then anger — the five stages of grief.
    As to this forum, if the poster of a thousand names, the many-headed robo-poster “stacked” is going to stand in for ALL angry Americans, I think that is a disservice to the many colors of anger.

  • Mark

    Stacked, you’re a textbook fascist. If you see the world in such a light that Apartheid, which is a form of fascism, is better than any group you claim to be communist, well, there buddy, that makes you a fascist. Remember WWII?

  • cory

    So Stacked,

    What happens after you “beat me up”? Do you think it will change my definitions of right or wrong and intelligence versus stupidity? You aren’t very persuasive that way. Try making your point without jingoistic shouts or threats of violence.

  • Mark

    We seem angrier today because we have 25,000 channels to watch all of the anger on. Without the rise of instant and in your face media, we wouldn’t seem as angry.

    Think about the year 1968. That was anger. We live in a cake walk today compared to 1968, for example.

  • Stacked

    Ellen Dibble, this isn’t a funeral, it’s a revival, so you can put up your Psych 101 Book on grief now. And I don’t claim to speak for anyone other than myself and those I know. Your words remind me of all the white University Professors that head African Studies departments and sit in front of throngs of students required, or enticed by the promise of “extra credit” to be in attendance at their yearly Black History Month speeches. One sits in wide-eyed amazement as people of color cheer on these mostly white men and women who are telling them their history, and the glazed, and automatic call and response of the white students who run through the motions, as we all pretend that this isn’t what it really is…a complete and total farce!

  • Brett

    “I suspect therapists know very well that abandoning cherished ways of thinking has a price: anger. Well, denial first, then anger — the five stages of grief.”

    It’s all about loss…real or perceived..

  • Stacked

    Cory, I never and never would seriously suggest or carry out physical violence against you or anyone else. That kind of stuff gets one arrested. I’m a law-biding citizen. I just reserve the right to express my opinion, and I will, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. No Cory, I would never try to persuade you. You’re the enemy. One destroys the enemy. I of course mean, at the polls, but the fact that you probably think I mean physically says more about your mindset than mine.

  • JP


    What a joke!

    Try racism and uber-gullible, infantile fear and ignorance.

    That’s a bit more “on point” than letting these boneheads get away with “anger.”

    … after all, these are the same Bushies who stuck us with the entire mess our country faces.

  • Brett

    Judging by the ages of most “Tea Partiers,” at least as seen in photos and at rallies, their place in history will be brief.

  • EIO Boston

    This is the same sort of incitement you have in developing countries, were people who are in the leadership class through access to media etc. incite people against their neighbor. It serves the interest of these people in this country because they become instant millionares and can claim that what they peddle is entertainment.

    It is sad to see. We are so busy fighting each other and other countries are busy developing both their citizens and economies. Tom “No tree is so stupid, as to allow the branches to fight each other” Old indian proverb

  • jeffe

    Stacked nice try. But you have commented plenty of times about using violence about how you are ready.
    You also use language that is filled with subtext of hate, intolerance and violent overtones.

    Now you try to back track. It wont wash.

    Why are people angry? For some it’s fear, others it’s malice, racism and the sense that they can’t control the outcomes of the world around them.

  • http://ncpr stillin

    I think anger can be good, road map to where you are being wronged. With this country, people are so stressed out over how hard it has become just to live here, that they are angry. That it used to be one parent could be home if they wanted to to take care of home, and family, and now that isn’t even a choice. Some people working 2-3 jobs and still losing their homes. The rich get richer, and quieter, it has now become a crime in this country if you don’t have enough money. and THAT makes me very, very angry.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Where is the switch that turns this one sad/blue — “disappointed” and regarding the offending institution/individual as pathetic, “poor baby,” whilst the other turns red hot angry, warpath divisive? Perhaps it is genetic, the shy versus the outgoing. Perhaps it is experience wherein those who enlist their anger to solve a problem have seen this to be effective, in their homes, in their schools, where bullying is the norm… Personally, it took years, decades for disappointment to ripen to where I didn’t mainly blame myself for everything. Then I look towards sparing others the long useless years. Then I look towards solving the problem, and no, I don’t think name-calling and mud-slinging is the answer, even if I know exactly what I’m talking about. If I know exactly what I’m talking about I get a whole lot more crafty.

  • Brett

    I agree with JP: less anger but more ignorance; I also see the mindset among “Tea Partiers” to be more of a characterization of what is happening in the US; some elements of it have some basis in reality, but the perception is distorted. Like Ellen mentioned earlier, it has to do with their perception of losing something (whether real or imagined). “We are going to take back our country” means we have lost our country; “I want my freedoms back,” and so on.

    What is interesting is the responses on the part of either “Tea Partiers” or their sympathizers. There is nothing wrong with wanting to organize to get people to vote a certain way; that is a positive act and may help to restore peoples’ sense of empowerment, but they have struck “threatening” tones in saying they will get satisfaction at the “ballot box.” I suppose this is intended to intimidate politicians; at least in that part, in terms of a “threat,” it makes sense. It’s when this gets directed at other citizens that is the problematic part. Because then it becomes a mentality of “I don’t care what other citizens, who don’t think like I do, want!” And, “when my group acts, the group who doesn’t think like I do will be sorry!” Two messages inherent in this kind of mentality are: 1) “I don’t care about the majority or about people who don’t think like I do” And, 2) “My way of doing things will be punishing to other Americans.”

    Either way, it has some basis in a distorted view of history, what is happening now, what others want, and the nature of our country.

  • pw

    Anyone else associate anger with (among other things) the rapid population increase? Don’t many Americans see their slice of the pie getting smaller every year?

  • Stacked

    Jeffe, what you say is a slanderous lie. Show me an example of where I have attempted to incite, or declared a credible intent for violence. You’re reading your own psyche into my words Jeffe. I have never, and would never make any call or action towards illegal violence.

  • Carrie

    We seem angrier today because cable news shows love anger — they gravitate toward it, stoke it, and treat it as entertainment. Get rid of Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann and I’m sure we wouldn’t seem so angry.

  • JP


    I couldn’t agree with you more… the wealth gap and the socialization of corporations is indeed what people should be angry about.

    … of course, the tea-baggers (the ones on whom I assume this show will mainly focus) think big business is the answer to all problems, and nothing should check their abuses. I also see nothing in their rhetoric to suggest they are concerned about ever-widening income gaps.

    No, they want guns, no government, and no one who doesn’t look like them in any kind of prominent position… the same tripe that has dominated the Republican platform since Reagan and the subsequent “Republican Devolution.”

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t know whether the anthropologist views humanity over the millions of years or over the hundreds, but I do think that a State of Irony is well symbolized by the original Boston Tea Party. Colonists came here because England was a land where you lived twice as long (40 not 20 years) if you were rich. There was enough of an entrenched aristocracy, the House of Lords, that people didn’t see a fair shake actually anywhere in Europe.
    However, once the people in New England got their houses built and the Indians less of a threat, they began to emulate the British, to demonstrate that the “class” they couldn’t achieve in England could be well replicated here. In Boston, they carefully KEPT the British accent, the non-rolled R. You can still hear it. And people established parlors in their homes, wherein they had TEA PARTIES, with the best china that could be obtained, imported from the continent if possible, and TEA.
    We aspired to have a privileged class. We set up universities to enable some to have the same “advantages” in terms of “classical” education as could be had on the continent.
    The more the Angry Masses seemed to rise up, the more people wanted to establish Privilege, get away from having to shout back, so to speak. We have wanted to be “gated” and “above it all” for centuries. I think “privilege” is beginning to look like “corruption” under another name. The Silver Spoon in the Mouth, the Trust Account Baby, those are not badges of honor. Well, were they ever?
    When people go to get themselves educated, do they choose the University of Chicago? Or an Ivy League institution? It seems to me the former is more rooted in Common Soil, and Ivy League schools are seeking the same rootedness, or so it seems to me. I have no idea how Cambridge or Oxford in England are morphing.

  • dave

    The public anger is a direct reflection of the anger they see coming from the cable news pundits. The calm and level reporting of Walter Cronkite nas been replaced by the screaming and crying of Glen Beck. It’s not really news, it’s propaganda. It’s inflamatory, irrational and it works.

  • Stacked

    Ellen Dibble, privilege is really a metaphor for safety. Life feed on life. It always has, and always will on this planet, the more people you can put between your self and the wolf, the more safe you are, and that’s what we really mean when we say privilege.

    What you see as ideal is called Communism. It failed. It was a nice idea, but it failed because it did not address the one unstoppable human trait…lust for life. The reality of the world is: If you are camping, and a wolf comes to hunt, you don’t have to be faster than the wolf. You just have to be faster than the slowest camper to live, and the further away from the perimeter of the camp that you are, the more of a headstart you will have when the wolf comes. Savvy?

  • Mary

    I’ve definitely noticed more anger in the world I’m exposed to (both nationally as well as in my personal sphere of acquaintance). It seems to me that people are angry partly because they don’t feel they are being *heard* by others. This got me to thinking . . . we’re all great at speaking our minds, but how many of us are skilled at listening? We don’t all have to agree with one another in order to actively listen and show one another that we *hear* one another. Perhaps, through the skill of listening, we will feel less of a need to yell at one another in a desperate attempt to feel listened to.
    I, for one, have made it my goal to develop my listening skills. It’s hard work, but it is absolutely worth it.

  • JP

    Oh yeah stacked,
    and capitalism has proven the great savior of humanity!

    … a race to scarcity in a few generations of man, a race to the bottom, forcing crisis after crisis, and always behind the curve, solving any problem whatever only when it has reached a self-inflicted crisis level.

    You certainly have all the “right” answers.

  • JP

    … rather, I should say “attempting to solve…”

  • jeffe

    If there is to be true racial peace, then the time spent on minorities must now be spent on those that gave them consideration. Being white is not a crime! Pride in ones race is not a sin! Benevolence has been shown from the former majority, but it has yet to be returned in kind! And keep in mind, white people are STILL the majority. You treat us badly, after all we have done–more than any other dominating race has ever done for others, and look to Africa, Mexico, Asia, would you get as fair a shake as you have gotten here…HELL NO YOU WOULDN’T HAVE–and there is still time to push WAY, WAY back. The message: deal in good faith, all Americans, and be Americans, or actions can be taken. We are not fools. This is the test! Have we been foolish? You tell us. This isn’t over by a long shot, so choose wisely; choose as fairly, overall and in historical context, as you have been treated. If you think you got a raw deal here, then get the hell back to where you heralded, and try that smack there! It’s equal for all or bust! Time for whites to be considered as well, hell, we’re only the builders and STILL the majority afterall…

    You posted this Sack. It’s full of threats. You say I’m slandering you? Are you kidding? You have a very warped view of the world, it’s as if all non whites owe people like you gratitude and alms. Amazing, this is the height of gall.

    You turn things around to make it seem as if whites are the victims. Pathetic.

  • Rex

    Hey, let’s all argue online. That should fix things.

  • Tom from Boston

    To answer the main question, of whether Americans are angrier, just read the posts on this thread. Case closed.

  • Todd

    “…after all, these are the same Bushies who stuck us with the entire mess our country faces.”
    Posted by JP

    Uhmmm, in case you haven’t noticed, the “entire mess” that Bush helped create has continued—and indeed deepened—since Obama took office.

  • JP


    Who would have ever thought the mess Bush and the Republicans created could have ever lasted a year and two months beyond Bush’s departure?

    … must be someone else’s fault.

  • Stacked

    I’m glad you quoted that, because this is exactly why I feel that you are a violent person. Not anywhere is there a direct, credible threat of physical violence in that statement. I happened to be referring to POLITICAL “push back”, but you didn’t see that did you? You only saw threats. It takes a violent mind to see that. You’ve got issues jeffe.

  • JP

    … and who would have ever thought it was far worse a mess than anyone could have ever imagined?

  • RBP

    As I see it:
    The USA has for most of a century effectively (and often judicially) banned genuine leftist thought. As a result the American political system ranges from the center to the extreme right. We have a political monopole.
    Human beings need to have a group (“we”) to belong to; to define itself such a group must have a “they” to hate. Therefore America has become polarized into liberals (in a sane system, the center) and fascists (the usual suspects).
    To make the situation worse, we have a punitive educational system that teaches students to avoid, at all costs, thinking or questioning, and a money-driven right-wing propaganda system that must bring joy to Goebbels in hell.
    I am not pleased with this state of affairs. Neither should you be!

  • jeffe

    Stacked if you’re going to use wolfs you should at least understand how they hunt. First off they mostly hunt in packs and sense the weakest elk or deer, then they take it down. Lone wolfs mostly hunt small pray. A lone wolf would never attack a group of campers. He might steal your food however.

    What you did show in the you’re analogy is how you think.
    Instead of helping you’re fellow campers you run hoping that the weakest in the group will aid in your escape.
    This says a lot about character.

  • jeffe

    Stacked you are amazing. You like to turn things around and you think by making a statement that “I was only talking about politics”. Then you try to turn me into the person who has “issues”. I’m not the one who is posting race fulled diatribes am I. You are.

    Do you understand what a subtext is?

  • Stacked

    jeffe, The wolf was in itself a metaphor for “forces beyond ones control.” I can see that you do not understand metaphor, myth, symbolism, or maxim. You’re a teacher dude? Seriously? You simply MUST be fired!

  • Scott

    Funny how america didn’t have an anger problem when it was liberals complaining about how president was taking the country for a ride and comparing him to various dictators.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the “angry Americans” we are talking about are the Tea Party, the “front” for the corporations and their power, the “conservative” status quo ante (ante the two crumblings — Enron et al circa 2000, Lehman Brothers et al 2008 — brought about by their excesses but anyway), that is the anger of change, but where are the corporate execs on the battlements? How did they enlist the religious right, etc.? Oh, play on their fear, says the Republican PowerPoint.
    Hey! What about MY fear??? What about MY anger?
    This is so confusing.

  • Gary

    Anger is the outward face of fear, which comes from the loss of control over ones environment due to outward forces of change. It is a primitive emotion that is expressed by children, and those who have failed to mature into adulthood. The loss of security (fear of change, the unknown and denial of faulted ideology(s) ) is the prime mover of anger in those who refuse to adapt, accept, evolve, or mature.

    The opposition to such failed ideologies and beliefs are given as the proof that they are valid…enter the reinforcing feedback loop, used to divide and conquer a populace for power and profit.

  • JP

    … Yeah Scott

    … and what’s even more funny is how the parties managed to operate with relative civility for the fifty years Dems ran Congress before the “Republican Devolution.”

    It seems Republicans had to get in power and ruin the cooperative spirit of Congress before things could get this bad.

  • Stacked

    Gary, I can only speak for myself, but I was no fan of Bush. I also see no difference between him and Obama.

    The failed ideologies you speak of, could you expound upon that. The ideas of the Founding Fathers and indeed Capitalism are still sound. What we have endured in this nation for the last 40 years has nothing to do with what this nation was founded upon in my opinion. So please, do tell us what “failed ideologies” you are referring to, and please be specific and broad in your outlook. I fear that you too may be a “forest for the trees” type liberal. I hope that I’m wrong.

  • jeffe

    I understand metaphor, it was a bad one.
    You also should your true self, you would run and leave people behind.

    What is interesting is that you seem to think you are smart. That you can twist things around, make derogatory statements and then cry wolf, oh, oh I’m using a metaphor… you use this to change the subject, which is your warped world view.

  • Joe

    Are we angrier? Farm riots in the Depression ran bank attorneys and government officials out of town on a rail, and the rhetoric in our politics matched, one GOP Senator criticizing FDR’s Agri Adjustment Act as vague, in part to do with “the translation from Russian.”

    Our anti-war movement is nowhere near as vociferous as the Vietnam era, the backlash against civil rights preceded that, and even contemporary accounts of WWII show that things were not quite as copacetic as history would have us believe.

    The further back you track, you come across the Depression, the Civil War and the 12 years of contentious in-fighting that followed the revolution and preceded ratification of the Constitution. Angrier? No. But, our anger is much more well-documented and the conflict is stoked by both our media and political cultures.

  • jeffe

    Typo, I meant showed your true self, a coward.

  • Stacked

    No jeffe, you have no reasonable tools to tell me more about myself than I know. Your arrogance is showing. It’s a road of folly that you walk. I will tell you what I mean, but you will not tell me what I mean. You see how that works jeffe? I am a free, and independent, person. If I tell you that my words mean XYZ, then I am the final decision maker on that, not you. Here lay the crux of your anger I think; you can not control others as you wish to, you may only control yourself. You do notice that you are infatuated with me, right? It’s always you coming at me, and me only fending you off. You are the constant aggressor.

  • Wait one minute…

    Nat Turner?

  • Wait one minute…

    John Brown?

  • A Patriot

    Those we have entrusted with managing the moving parts of our complicated society have proven themselves untrustworthy: government on every level, banks, our churches, the food supply, our jobs, our roads, medicine and health, the environment, the whole sorry planet.

    It is a visceral experience not being done justice by egghead, theoretic discussions.

  • Dean

    I think that American anger comes from a petulant national personality. We are an overindulged, frankly spoiled nation that, individually and collectively, domestically and internationally, is no longer getting its way, and we are acting like a bratty three year old.

  • Wait one minute…

    Did not the colonists ATTACK Thomas Hutchinson’s HOME?

  • John

    I’m disgusted by the teabaggers claiming the legacy of the Boston Tea Party.

  • Wait one minute…

    Ben Franklin’s wife armed herself in her Pennsylvania home when word spread that her husband was collaborating with England on the stamp ct.

  • Arturo

    Some of the reasons for anger are legitimate, but narcissistic anger cum ignorant bigotry? If so, the latter could be a pretty toxic mix in the making.

  • jeffe

    I’m not angry at you. I think you are very foolish.
    It’s not about control. I’m telling you up front that your comments are offensive. Not only to me but to anyone who is a non-white. You post these things and when people react you are upset when you are called on the rhetoric.
    Then you try to turn it into this thing about me. Which is funny because I’m not the one who is posting racially charged comments.

  • pw

    Yup. Narcissism plays into the “look at me” nature of current protests. If the Tea Party has Sarah Palin as its idol/leader, they’ve chosen perhaps the most blatant narcissist on the American scene in decades.

  • http://ncpr stillin

    I disagree with your guest that anger is worn like a badge of honor. The working class in this country, what’s left of them, HAVE HAD ENOUGH. There’s nothing “flamboyant” about being angry that with a masters degree and a good position, I cannot buy toilet paper this week, I cannot help my kid with college, i cannot pay the plumber, I cannot pay the plumber, I cannot get a vehicle. I cannot refinance. I cannot collect the overdue child suppport due to me. I cannot buy food by the end of the week. It is not due to spending, I don’t spend much, I don’t drink, I don’t drug, I don’t go out…I think it’s right, to be angry. I think it’s MY RIGHT, and it’s due to the fact that economically in this country, like I said before, If you don’t make enough money, you are treated like a criminal. That’s the truth, and THAT makes me angry. Oh, and for the record, I have a 40,000 house that I cannot afford to fix up. My six yr. degree got me a position teaching…I KNOW how to budget.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I am angry at people whose anger gets manipulated into political movements that derail the real issues.
    We have to get past — way past — this sort of distraction by Angry Sorts in order to focus on what really needs to be done.
    Oh, I’ll ignore it. But how about you?

  • Stacked

    John, the US Revolutionary War was supported by only 13% of the Colonial Population, and was seen as a “Terrorist Movement” by the British, who were then the sovereigns of the land.

    Your “disgust” is duly noted, and understood to be meaningless. The dirty little secret of not only the US, but all societies, is that the smart, motivated, and tough, minority of any population rules over the passive, simpleton, majority. The US just had very benevolent Founding Fathers. That is what makes it so different here. Believe me, everyman serves a master. If you are lucky, they are nice ones. If you are smart and tough, you may even be able to create enough luck for yourself to pick your master.

    This world is not about good or bad, right or wrong, it’s about “as good as it gets” and the US is that.

  • john dickason

    sure we’re angry, on the left we got shafted again, just like with carter and clinton, and the great irony is that the right wing anger is fed largely by the ridiculous policies of the bushes and reagan which obama continues at his great peril. in either case the country appears to be becoming ungovernable without an almost martial state, and which will only worsen as amercians ever in denial about their ability to maintain their lifestyle without enslaving half the planet realize the ethical dilemma in maintaining the empire

  • Jacob


    I recently re-read King’s Letter from a Birmingham jail, in which he details his justification for disobeying unjust laws.

    The angry right have a lack of unjust law. Their anger is a deeper reaction to a country and a culture that’s confronting the realities of a new era of austerity. To compare the modern Tea Party to the just actions of America’s founding patriots is ridiculous.

  • Deb

    Zen master says:Anger is energy that can motivate you to act.
    On a personal level:
    Within the last 6 months I have lost my job, experienced the death of a parent, and am now forced to declare bankruptcy. I am so pissed off and have occasional angry outbursts (nonviolent), which sometimes alarm my family members. But I’ve chosen to truly feel my anger, examine it and then channel the anger into positive directions. Instead of pionting the finger of blame, I need to change my life, so this is the fuel that will get me where I need to be.

  • Tom from Boston

    I think our anger over 9/11 showed up in our decision to invade Iraq. Iraq was a defenseless country with no plans to attack or threaten the U.S.

  • Chris McEnroe

    I recall bits from American History containing public hangings by mobs in Manhattan (down around Wall Street ironically), all out labor battles, beatings, etc., Fire Hoses on Civil Rights protesters. Americans are always anger ready.

    What I resent is the rhetorical device of “The American People,” as in “The American People don’t want us to do this” and “The American People are saying that.” I don’t mind anger, but it is useless if we, the American people, allow extremists to claim the energy of our anger and put the face of their own myopic self-interest on it.

    I’m angry that Social Security has been in dire need of attention for my entire life and Congress has mismanaged that crises by playing the American People off of each other. I’m angry that our entire public debate is about bluster.

  • Zach Silvia (Providence)

    Isn’t this type of anger a usual manifestation throughout social history? When people feel pushed by some authority they respond through communicative means. Today we happen to have more methods of communication than before so the same social and historical outcome is being expressed through new means. In American history (and just about everywhere else) we have has race riots, civil rights marches, labor riots and strikes in the 19th century, women’s suffrage, popular socialism in the 19th century. All of these movements utilized all available resources to express their anger to the broader public. What we see with the modern tea party movement should be deamed as no different. This is not an American institution, it is reflected in all societies that experience strife with an authority figure. This is a very popular and very typical response to power structures as a whole. People get pushed far enough and they just go for it.

  • Stacked

    jeffe, obviously, I don’t give a rats behind if my comments are offensive to you, or anyone else. I have the 1st Amendment to back me up. There is no law against being offensive. You offend me, but I don’t try to tell you that you can’t say what you want. I only tell you that what you think is wrong in my opinion. You’re offended? GOOD! I want people such as yourself to be offended. You have no experience in hearing what you don’t want to hear. I’m helping you grow, and to learn the true meaning of freedom for all, not just “protected classes.” What’s good for one side is good for the other, and now all minorities are about to learn that. I hope you had fun, manipulating white guilt, because it’s over now, and whatever tools you used to advance yourself, will now be used for us as well. After all, fair is fair, no jeffe?

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Right. I’m hearing all the wrong “insights” into the anger of today. Check out Rush, Thompson, Glenn and Mark Levin. What’s your answer to the inciteful conservative talk radio trend? That’s right … inciteful (not misspelled). Who cannot hear the “stoking” going on with Levin, for example? How did John Patrick Bedell just happen to decide to head off to Washington D.C. and try to kill two Pentagon guards? … answer me that. Then check out my latest post on Lit.org — “The Fan of Mark Levin.”

    ~~ Anti-Government Rants ~~

    Within the last couple of days or so, on Thursday, March 4, 2010, a Northern California man, John Patrick Bedell, drove cross-country to Washington, D.C., then shot and wounded two Pentagon security guards before being downed by return gunfire from a third. In the press he was repeatedly characterized as a “troubled individual.” It was quickly learned by investigators — according to news reports — that the man in recent months or years seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time posting anti-government rants on the Internet.


  • Julie Grower

    Anger is a reaction to fear. There is a lot to be fearful of today. Especially when so many are out of work and there the middle east is so unstable.

    I think there is also a lot more widespread mistrust of those who make the decisions in government. Many more have realized how much the major corps. and the rich control our lives. Lack of control over our own live is something that makes people very fearful – thus, anger.

  • Marilyn Murphy

    It seems to me that these new “angry” people are the wrong people. They seem to be the “haves” wanting to have even more and railing at the “have-nots” and those who would help them. Why aren’t the “have-nots” angry?

  • yar

    The American dream has dissolved for many citizens. We are also in a generational civil war. Many baby boomers will never be able to retire. We are a country that is based on hope. “With hard work anyone can achieve the American dream.” It is now obvious that the dream will not possible for many people. We can’t survive as an open society if the dream is dashed for a generation. Iceland just rejected paying for the sins of their bankers. Americans are rejecting paying for the debts of our fathers. That is the root of our anger.

  • Lorie

    I feel anger is not productive or healthy; it belies a spiritual hunger and the resulting inability to see the big picture in terms of how to live a life with dignity and meaning that can be a model for our children and their children.

  • Cathy Schulbaum

    Bush divided us because of his beliefs and his very being; Obama divides us because of his political ambitions and calculations.

    BO is playing a dangerous game. Americans are more divided now than since the civil war, and Obama throws fuel on the fire dividing us by race, class, left/right, and demonizing selected segments of the society. Today it is the insurance companies.

    The world is heating up and people everywhere are angry and in the streets. This is not a time playing political games.

  • Wait one minute…

    Shay’s Rebellion?

  • christina

    Anger that informs is interesting; it is especially interesting if the person with the informative anger is also able to listen to opposing views. I see the anger of the last decade (plus some) as too often SNARKY: sarcastic in tone, with no nod toward listening, and narcissistic in its flamboyant delivery. SNARKY, SNARKY, SNARKY.

    This snarkiness is practically being taught thru TV — lots of the shows are nothing if not training programs in How To Be Snarky, and Look Good and/or Formidable While Being So.

    AND, too many people seem to think that the First Amendment was about the Right to use the worst of the swear words.

  • Dean

    Right on, McEnroe! This kind of anger is not new. We did have a little burst of anger in the 1860s that some of you may remember, no?

    We have always been quick to anger and blaming someone else when our group’s position of privilege has been threatened.

  • Julie

    What’s going on in Washington D.C. and Wall Street is corrupt and unacceptable. Of course we are angry! We have senators and representatives taking money from lobbyists and getting the best health care money can buy, courtesy of the taxpayers. Wall street is spending millions on trying to prevent a Consumer Protection Bill. What the heck are we supposed to think?! From where I sit, our government does not give 2 hoots about its citizens. Actions speak louder than words.

    Welcome to third world politics and goodbye to the middle class.

  • Gary

    @Stacked – “I fear that you too may be a “forest for the trees” type liberal. I hope that I’m wrong.”

    I don’t exist at the risk of your acceptance.

    Obama and Bush are identical in action, but a world apart in intelligence and diction. Unfortunately, this changes nothing because the republic is not under the peoples control.

  • adia douglad

    anger is not wrong or bad. it is how and when it is expressed that is the concern. part of being mature is self control. however, anger is important because it tells us when a boundary has been crossed. it lets us know that something is wrong and needs to be corrected, but we need to be masters of our decisions about how we react. i have not mastered this myself…:>)

  • http://none Jack Acme

    You should point the facts out to that fellow who thought that President Obama appointing “czars” to head up various posts was evidence of communism socialism. The title Czar or Tsar is about as far from communism as possible. In terms of our own recent history I think it was Nixon who appointed the first “drug czar.”

  • Karen

    The discussion has focused on government. The difference between the “founding fathers” and the anger then is the incredible power in private industry and the inability of government to create a fair, regulated environment for commerce.

  • Manoog in Providence

    The anger we are experiencing is saturated with hate and fear.
    Indeed rationally is being trumped by the world’s oldest commodity, ‘hate’
    Scripture reveals God’s greatest gift to man is discernment
    With media provocations enveloping the nation’s agenda, individual thinking is suspended especially by countless outlets (Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Fox, Cheney etal) to do our thinking for us. So do not mistake even true ‘anger’ with regurgitation.
    AND now the main stream media feels compelled to even bring aboard and sometimes give unearned equal voice to even the opposition lunatic.
    Sound proposals, and the advancement of the human condition is goal all failure to see the light of day in this sea of darkness,

    Now freedom of speech needs to be balanced with freedom of thought (to think.

  • Lini

    Hi Tom
    i was listening to your show and felt compelled to jot down few lines. I think anger about “me”.. my problems, my life.. what happened to that good old patience where people used to wait for things to turn better. you know people are so used to having got everything they wanted they no longer want to wait for it. everyone is capitalising on anger. even the TV shows, video games for children.. everything sells on anger.. where is humor? take everything in life with a pinch of humor and we will feel that we are better of than we think.. I hope sense prevails..

  • jeffe

    A caller mentioned Czar’s in context to being proof that the country is becoming socialist.

    A Czar in context to Russian history was the emperor or king and has nothing to do with communism. The Russian revolution was about removing the Czar.

    Czar has been used as a metaphor for positions of high authority in modern politics.

  • joe

    Sounds like that last guy who made a comment about communism and czars is looking for some communist relief and protection, but seemed against it. He was complaining about not getting any stimulus money. Why not go pure free market and lose everything, then he can be proud! Was he not complaining about what he wants?

  • Todd

    “Who would have ever thought the mess Bush and the Republicans created could have ever lasted a year and two months beyond Bush’s departure?
    …must be someone else’s fault.”
    Posted by JP

    True; but for the fact that, within the past year, Obama has let pass numerous opportunities to undo the damage caused by Bush.

    And, actually, it IS someone else’s fault. The likes of Bush and Obama aren’t running this mess; they’re only political puppets. We don’t elect presidents anymore, we elect actors.

  • anonymous

    I’m angry, but, more accurately, sad that our nation has lost its moral compass, yet radical groups press their morals upon the rest of us. The corruption that money in politics has created is the root of our nations problems. We care more about the bottom line than what’s right for our country and our freedoms. Keep corporate and special interest money out of politics then maybe we can get back to what made this country a great and respected nation in the first place. Right now, it seems we are not much better than the most corrupt developing nation.

  • Karin Round

    I don’t think that the problem is about external causes. There’s always reasons to be angry. The difference is that we are no longer constrained by any hesitancy to express it. More of the extended adolescence of the country. The concept of civic responsibility that requires civil discussion, even when we disagree: that’s now the foreign concept.

    There is a total lack of respect for others and a sense of enlargement of the self as all-important, a typical attitude of teenagers.

    Exactly as your guest, Richard, just said.

    However, its interesting that with more and more ways available to us now to communicate, the widespread anger suggests that people feel less and less heard…

  • Mike

    Hi Tom,

    The anger that people are feeling seems to be brought on by this mass hysteria that is created by our media. Our politicians especially the republicans have learned how to use the media as a tool to push this fear on to the public so that they can shape policy to what suites them and their “sponsors” the best. You keep hearing the same terms over and over from the people in the media and the people who buy into it. “Most of America doesn’t want this healthcare bill” and “The Dems are cramming it down our throat” People need to turn off the main stream media start watching C-Span or READ and make up their own minds instead of just thinking whatever Glen Beck tells them to.


  • George Waterston

    Anger is a loss of nerve. Anger, the acceptable kind, is anger that does not rant and rave but takes constructive action calmly and cooly when the situation justifies it. That anger, the good kind, would be undetectable since its hallmark is that it doesn’t express itself except cooly and calmly. Maybe our President with his patience, his coolness, his calm, his patience in the face of Republican obstructionism, deceit, etc. and his constructive action to push an agenda that serves the people epitomizes this good anger, which in effect is simply energy that is harnessed to action which corrects a problem.

  • joyce johnston

    I have gone from a glass 1/2 full to a 1/2 empty person. When a person experiences injustice with no recourse to correct it, one begins to notice the bad things a little more. My eyes have been opened to the sheer greed upon which our society operates. No one is willing to step up and do the right thing if they think it might cost
    them a dime…especially people of means and power. When I heard about the man who flew his plane into the IRS, I realized that I could totally understand him. If I had a plane and a pilot’s license, I would fly it into Gillette Stadium in a heart beat (not during an event).
    Anger comes from hurt and frustration. There is a lot of both out there.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Thanks, Richard. You and lived through the very same experiences. These guests on today’s program obviously did not. What I hear from the guests today is what comes from the mouths of millennials — those who think things today are simply the way things have always been … cars stacked up bumper to bumper on freeways … loud music (?) blaring from cars with kids roiling about on drugs of every type and description … people eating the food while they shop at supermarkets (plus the long lines at checkout) … it’s impossible to go on.

  • Karen

    Possibly for me another source of the anger is that I feel I have been working most of my life for a progressive move forward. Instead, I feel I must cover that ground again and again. One step forward, and two to three steps back. Starting with Goldwater and culminating in Reagan, a constant, oppressive nay-saying, selfish current continually knocks back every progressive step forward. Over 50, I feel I must yet again stand up for minority rights, for environmental integrity, for a fairly regulated market, for a progressive educational system. I have no choice but to “fight” because I feel that selfish current would return us to a non-nation state.

  • Jay Greg

    On Anger

    When the Right Wing had control of all elective branches of government, they did pretty much what they wanted. While those to the left, did not like this, they expressed their anger verbally.

    Now that the Right Wing is out of power, I think they are a) feeling a large loss, to some a loss of their entitlement, and b) projecting – - what you in power are now doing is what we were doing to you when we had it.

    Next are Americans from all over the political spectrum who are feeling disenfranchised by the loss of their jobs, homes and businesses while Wall St thrives on their misfortunes.

    Finally there are the funded lobbyists whose fortunes continually grow, especially when differences are sharpened by anger or whatever else.

  • Glenn

    People are no longer ashamed to be angry. TV producers have figured this out, and learned that there is money to be made on promoting anger as a spectator sport.

    The Internet also provides an easy way for people at the fringes to broadcast their voices to thousands of like-minded individuals, forming a virtual community of the seething and unhappy.

    The essential ingredient in all this is the increasing ignorance of the American public. The caller who mused that the title “czar” implied communistic leanings of the Obama administration is emblematic of what is happening.

    Anger is easy, while understanding is hard. Hard always loses.

  • Greg

    Things I’m pissed off about:

    - Where my taxes are going.
    - My government treating me like I’m stupid.
    - My government’s refusal to do a real investigation of 911.
    - The incestuous, corrupting relationship between government and industry.
    - Installation of photo red lights without a commensurate give-back in personal responsibility. (3 o’clock in the a.m.? GO AHEAD!)
    - The fact that the Federal Railroad Administration has recently started enforcing “safety” regulations on commuter rail here in Boston. The one conductor per car rule means you have to cram everyone into a few cars while the rest of the train is vacant. Jesus!
    - Feeling like I better watch what I say over email or telephone.

  • John Brandes

    Where were the angry tea-partiers 12 months ago or 8 years ago when the Republican controlled House and White House spent like drunken sailors, diminished the American image abroad, suspended Habeas Corpus, spied on Americans, created the current financial crisis, presided over the largest terrorist attack in American history and on, and on, and on…

    Why now? I suspect a lot of it has something to do with deep seeded racism and fascist tendencies that have become socially unacceptable to exhibit overtly, so they turn to blaming anything they can on Obama, and the Republicans and Fox News stoke the flames. But the source of their anger comes from a whole other place.

  • jeffe

    Stacked did I say you should not post? No, I only said I found it offensive.
    I said you hide behind the 1st Amendment and I still think you do.

    I know you don’t care what I think or anyone else for that matter. However that does not mean anything in context to a political discourse. Your attitude points more too a disdain towards people how do not think like you. It’s interesting how you turn this around and try and make it look like I’m the intolerant one. I don’t have any issues with people who are not like me. You do.

  • Ken Tebbetts

    My take on the anger we are experiencing as a nation is directly related to our grieving the events of September 11, 2001. Elisabeth Kubler -Ross in 1969 outlined a grieving process that included anger. As a nation we are fully engulfed in that anger. Al quaeda set out to create economic chaos and they succeeded and we are just beginning to come out of the denial stage and have moved fully into anger. The collective anger can be scary.

  • http://onpoint ruth heller

    The anger that I hear comes from frustration caused by the inability to fix all the wrongs that are going on in this country. Our representatives care more for their reelection then investigating the ramifications of the bills they sign late in the night. They do not seem to care what will be the results in the future and will sign anything that they think puts them in a good light. Problems are not being solved. Our country is not being protected. Education is not good. Food protection is not good. Health protection is not good. The people have been promised the world without paying for anything. Good grief, Americans have every reason to be angry.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Where is the anger of the have-nots, someone in this thread asked. For one thing, they probably are working out-straight and not blessed with computers and on-line service.
    I sometimes suspect that the most difficult anger in this society is indeed those who have had it good, too good, for the last couple of decades.
    I can recall when purchasing an item was a huge decision. Now I look at say a two-dollar pair of shoes and wonder what nation anywhere was able to create and ship and market those shoes. I see this and think petroleum, cooking of the planet. This won’t last.
    So the person with a lot of cheap goods can have lots of vacations and other things that another century wouldn’t have been serving up as a Human Right. It’s a huge shift in perspective, I’m sure, for anyone born about 1985 forward — am I right?

  • http://ncpr stillin

    Lorie, you cannot have a “life of dignity and meaning” if you cannot afford to eat, feed your children EVEN WHEN YOU ARE WORKING A GOOD JOB!!!! Lorie, noone can be a “model for our children and our childrens’ children” if they CANNOT AFFORD TO LIVE. The tone of your choice of words is nauseating to me. It’s that view from one who , let me guess, has more than enough money coming in, is sooooo sacharin in a culture where MANY are suffering. Get a clue. Your words make me sosooooo angry!

  • http://aledadigginsart.com Aleda

    The anger that I find threatening, frustrating, and discouraging is the kind I hear in the right-wing media that is misinformed, ignorant and non-factual. This type of anger often results in displacement of blame and and the targeting and demonizing of those who don’t deserve to be blamed.

    On the flip side, I’m disgusted (angry?) that the Democrats and liberal leaders pass up opportunities to turn up the volume on their arguments and visibly show their righteous anger on behalf of their constituents. Liberals should be pushing back more effectively against the inaccurate assertions and callous and punitive attitudes of social conservatives who block needed government reforms and vital funding.

  • joe

    I think we need to channel all this anger to a final revolution of change, not just a hope for bit by bit evolutionary change. Will we lose out on this opportunity? I think, Americans are too much about “me me me” and we won’t revolt to get all the changes we want and eventually will squander this opportunity. Sad, but I think it’s true.

  • manoog in Providence

    What could demonstrate a turnaround in our nation’s integrity and morality can be seen tracking HR 252 to recognize the Armenian Genocide, which just squeaked out of the House committee on Foreign Affairs 23-22 amidst the heaviest lobbying imaginable by Turkey and the U.S. Defense Industry.

    This battle of our conscience is shaping up the greatest moral struggle on the radar for our Congress and President Obama. The final vote and/or the President’s pen will tell a nation and the world much about America’s character today.

  • Amy

    I think this could also be epidemic of chemical imbalance – people are eating too much processed foods, getting little or no exercise; the combination which fuels the body with sugar ups & downs.

  • Lorie

    People around the world have lived lives of dignity and meaning in all kinds of circumstances for millenia. I like what the recent caller said about feeling and thinking through and channeling her anger; everyone can do this. We all have challenges and frustrations and awful things that happen to us: our legacy will be how we respond to these things.

  • Daniel McKillip

    The best name I’ve heard for my generation (currently in college) is “Generation Whatever”. It seems that we’re watching all these people on TV, people protesting, etc. about so many different topics that we just get weary of it all, sigh and say “whatever”.

    How on target is this and what does it mean for the future of us college students?

  • Helen

    While waiting in an endless line at the post office behind at least 50 Hispanic people getting money orders to send “home”, a woman of my age (late 50′s) standing next to me summed it up: “I’ve never felt so powerless.” For the first 45 years of my life, if I got angry about something, I felt I could DO something about it. Americans used to get angry, then roll up their sleeves and ACT to fix it. And fix it, we often could. Today, we are all disfunctional. Our hands are tied by fear of lawsuits, of the IRS, of over-legislation of our lives by government, ignorance of WHAT CAN WE DO that won’t get us thrown in jail, bankrupt or hurt. When I asked a friend whose days were spent forwarding hate mail about the government to get off the computer and start DOING something about it, he went ballistic. Life never has been “fair”, but it does seems less fair now. Illegals and able-bodied non-workers get free health care and government subsidies. I’ve worked all my life and get nothing. My husband’s job of 35 years went to India. My elderly mother (who worked for 60 years) gets less Social Security because she fell into the “notch” created to pay for the Vietnam War. But what can we do? What can we do? Our legislators should be leading us, but they’re out to lunch. Literally. With some bimbo. Or their aide. On my dime.

  • Eddie Doss

    I am irritaated (not angery) that no one in the US, citizens and politicians, do not take responsibility for anything, like the War in Iraq.

    If you want nicce things and want a safety net you must pay for them.

    There is anger only because the “Free Lunch” hasn’t happened. Some liers (Fox News) are still promising the “Free Lunch”.

  • MTS

    Why is it that the louder the voice, the worse the grammar?

  • Stacked

    Jeffe, you mis-spell my handle in insulting ways all the time. You constantly say that I’m violent and insinuate that I’m some kind of home-grown you know what! You refuse to ever admit that maybe I have some very valid points. And you dog me constantly. Everytime I say something…there’s jeffe, like some kind of stalker! Just say something constructive to me, or let it go bro.

  • ThresherK

    How the media views “anger” resembles closely how it decides to label someone who attacks a federally-protected institution.

    (Hint: It helps to be white and not elitesy. The Bobos of the mediascape have ritualized their courting the approval of RealAmerica™.)

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    There’s the problem — caller Jason. Here’s the Limbaugh listener who couldn’t “make it” on his own if his life depended upon it. Jason just hasn’t been tested. Wait, fella. Your “examination” day is getting closer every day.

  • Victoria

    I don’t think my mood can be reduced to something so simple as anger. Think back to when Obama won the general election. I felt that we, as a country, had elected a president that represented the best representation of ourselves. More than a year and half later I feel crushing disappointment. I feel we’ve failed to live up that vision.
    To dare to hope and have that hope crushed leads to sadness and disappointment.

  • Stephanie Patrick

    I completely agree with Peter Wood. I see the culture and society glorifying anger and angry behavior, reality t.v. shows, women fighting vebally and physically, sports such as hockey where refs. let the players fight while the fans cheer then replay it on the screen, politicians constantly battling at the expense of getting anything done. The result, nasty emails in professional settings, increased bullying and cyber bullying in schools, road rage, self-righteousness. It goes on and on . . .

  • Wait one minute…

    National Association of Scholars?

  • Gordon

    I think Jason’s call summarized so well what is wrong with his county – people are forgetting what makes civilization civilized. It is NOT competitive self-interest, it is the balance between that and civil institutions that protect the rights and welfare of individuals.

    I never took a handout! What a lie! There isn’t a person in this society who hasn’t benefited from civil institutions like the interstate highway system, social security, and a basically well-functioning society where the rules work and the laws are generally obeyed.

    I think John Dean analyzed this well in his Conservatives Without Conscience. The appeal of the bully has very much to do with the authoritarian style of personality which is attracted by this kind of idiotic rage.

  • kathleen troope

    To me the biggest difference these days is betwee having feelings of anger vs. our expressions of that anger. Too often we feel that if we’re angry (even at very minor things), we not only have a right to express that anger, but have an regardless to do so, regardless of how it affects those around us.

    Generalized belligerance is extremely unhealthy. Constant focus on how angry we are is detrimental to our health & our general outlook /sense of well being, not to mention our relations with other people.

    I think it’s true that those who focus on the good in their life, however small that may be, are happier , better adjusted people.

  • Wait one minute…

    Existential anger from Florence?


    Peter, you are just too smart for your own good.

  • http://ncpr stillin

    he “feels” her pain! Give me a break, after this show you will most likely go out to lunch in a nice resturant, drive your nice car to your nice home, write it all off on your taxes….YOUR life is not the life angry people live. It does not touch him. That’s the point. He does not feel the pain of the many people who cannot make it. Who work hard, who do it all right…I “feel her pain”. Please, someone pass me the pepto bismal.

  • William

    We Americans seek out things to up set us. Shock Jocks like Rush make their living off angering people. And the same people tune in to be outraged.

  • N Doan

    Congrats TOM! I think this show broke all previous records. It was another fantastic, thought-provoking show! Keep ‘em coming…

  • MTS


    OK. Yes, things are tough for you. I sympathize. But, why do you find the need to detest hard-working people who are trying to make it here in America – as your ancestors undoubtedly did?
    You say that you’re angry because you find yourself behind “50 Hispanics” – why is that relevant? The word “Hispanic” refers to language and to culture – not to immigration status. Do you know their immigration status? Did you ask them?
    Unless you’re a native american, you have no – zero – right to “claim” this country – especially on the basis of language.
    The founding fathers were worldly and would have had nothing but contempt for that kind of provincialism.



    Even if they are “illegal” – they are people who are trying to make it just like you!

  • Leah

    Wow, Boomers have a corner on anger? News to me. And since when is anger such a bad thing? Doesn’t it indicate involvement instead of this cool intellectualizing heard from this guy on the show?

    What should Americans–or anyone–do, sit back and wait for the world to notice the issues we ALL should care about, like equality and corruption and the social safety net?

    I’d rather have an angry debate than none at all.

  • jeffe

    Stacked well I see you’re getting angry, how appropriate for a show on anger. You are correct, refuse to see any validity in anything you say. Constructive? Well you just posted you don’t care what I think. Now you seem to be all hot under the collar about it.

    I say this again, I’m not the one posting rhetoric that is offensive, you are. That you find my calling you on this, well I’m only voicing my 1st Amendment rights. Which for some reason it seems you think only apply to you.

  • Chris McEnroe

    I can’t believe Peter Wood would respond to the woman who has worked for 76 years and wound up with nothing (Florence) with ye olde “Life’s Tough.” Wow! There is a sense in America that if you play by the rules and work hard you won’t end up living hand to mouth. Florence sounds angry that this has proven untrue. Is she right or is Peter Wood?

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Peter Wood is also indicative of the problem … the ivory tower speaks of society needing to “mature more.” Well the exact opposite is happening, and it’s happening not because the human genome is changing, it’s happening because we are eating, breathing, drinking and despoiling our way out of a planet on which to live together.

    Nine billion people is the number. Anyone who thinks that “maturity” is the answer doesn’t have a clue into the problems that no food, no clean water, no fresh air and no safe place to live will do to his so-called, “mature mind.”

  • Ray

    I think that the attitude that Jason expresses is a cause of some of our problems. The idea that we totally sink or swim on our own is a fallacy. Are you telling me that a kid born in Greenwich, CT has a equal shot in life to someone born in a ghetto or a rural slum?

    Workers in America are willing to cut each others’ throats to get ahead. My brother is a farmer, and he’s been losing his shirt because of the milk market, where every farmer tries to produce as much as possible, and it will send him to an early grave, yet he is the hardest working guy I know. Farmers just over the border in Canada, though, work on a quota system, and they can run a small business, treat their animals well, and they don’t have to work 18 hours a day to do it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Say Jason, in this sink-or-swim world, sees a brick wall in front of him and takes responsibility and jumps off the highest bridge in his state. Some Good Samaritan comes along and finds him washed up and still breathing. Said Samaritan pulls out a cell phone and looks in Jason’s pocket. No insurance card. Woops. Leave him here. He obviously was trying to end his life anyway. Well and good.
    Say Jason is attacked by robbers in his house, is shot right through with a handgun in the process. He calls 911 and they come apace. They find him bleeding by his safe. Where is his insurance card? No card? Okay, next question: Do the robbers have no fault insurance to cover their victims? Nope. Okay. We’ll move on then.

  • Daniel Krasa

    It’s always easier to mobilize the populace against something tha to mobilize them to support something.

    It’s always easier to foment anger than to foment contentment.

    It’s always easier to highten feelings of fear than to highten feelings of security.

    In good times content and secure people credit themselves for their accomplishments,

    In bad times people are looking around for where to point the blame.

    There are always people and institutions ready to further their own agenda and interests by guiding people towards targets to blame.

    It requires having a population that is informed, and skilled in analytical thinking to have the tools to resist vested interests who are well financed, and staffed with experts in advertising, public relations and the science of manipulating our edmotions to block or side track any thoughtful tendency.

  • Todd

    “There’s the problem — caller Jason. Here’s the Limbaugh listener who couldn’t “make it” on his own if his life depended upon it. Jason just hasn’t been tested. Wait, fella. Your “examination” day is getting closer every day.”
    Posted by F. William Bracy

    And you deem yourself qualified to tutor for such an exam?

  • Gary

    The difference between socialized government health care, and socialized corporate health care, is one of these has no legal obligation to give ANY care when you require it.

  • jsp2

    Anger is an easy go-to emotion. Those who are truly angry (and not just riding the MAD wave) should really focus on what kind of solution they want to create.

    I understand that there is a housing crisis; people are losing their jobs and health care issues.
    However I look at it this way, “how can I help my own community?”

    Sign up for CSA so your local farmer won’t have to close down for the year, live on less than you make, don’t use credit cards and save more.
    So if you are down sized you can live like a college student until you develop your purpose.

    Instead of looking outward at who is the problem, look inward on creating solutions. We as Americans are resilient, let’s dig deep and look for solutions.

  • Stacked

    jeffe, offense and even racism are not illegal. Slander, Stalking, and Violence are. Where did you get your degree from? A crackerjack box? These are the basics my-boy. You’re not going to make it if you can’t disengage and realize that everyone is entitled to their opinions,and actions are the measure of a man, not words.

    What worries me most is that you can’t seem to stop coming back to me. You can’t let me speak my mind, disagree, and move on. You’ve got to take care of yourself, and your behaviors, and stop getting so angry that you can’t control others.

    Are you from South America? A Banana Republic perhaps? Look deep into yourself, and find out what has influenced you to believe that you have the right to control others thoughts and opinion’s and feelings.

    This “Anger” that was the subject of todays show, could really all be sorted out by everyone sorting out their own lives, and minding their own business, not their neighbors. Of course, to achieve that would require fair enforcement of the laws of the land, and that’s not being done.

    Illegals have to be charged with the Federal Crimes they’ve committed and thrown out.

    Racial based groups, like the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, and LaRaza must be banned.

    Obama must work to create jobs, not push though, illegally, Health Care Giveaways that only serve his ego.

    If you want a fair, just and equitable society, everyone must play by the rules in good faith. That’s not being done, and it starts with attitudes such as yours that believe that they have the exclusive handle on the truth, and are allowed to bully others who don’t see things your way.

  • Christina

    I agree SO MUCH with the woman who called from Montreal! THANK YOU for your call.

    I absolutely DISAGREE with the caller who called in immediately after the woman from Montreal. The only time that America worked like his version of life/the economy (& then only for free whites, especially males) was when there was free or dirt cheap land for settlers because land was grabbed from the Native Americans and when land was cleared by slave labor. The gentleman would be well advised to fear American corporations more than government!

  • jeffe

    Stacked, how am I stopping you from speaking your mind?
    You say I slander you by calling you out on your offensive beliefs. You say I’m stalking you because I am home right now and responding to your remarks which are directed towards me. You insult me on top of that, but for some reason in it’s OK for you to do this and if I return the favor I’m committing slander. Hmmm… very interesting.

    How am I bullying you? Have I called for your posts to be removed? Have I said you should stop posting? No, I have not. You know why? You do a good job of making a yourself into a fool without any help from me.

  • Ellen Dibble

    References to the status of anger in the 1960s has gone both ways: We were way angrier with way more cause; or just the opposite. And I hear that the baby-boomers are the main angry ones. A college student posted, “Whatever.”
    Looking at the photo up top, I’m seeing a generation that came of age AFTER the Vietnam war, AFTER the Civil Rights movement, toward the end of the Women’s Lib movement. The social activism (and anger) of their big brothers and sisters, those a decade older, would have seemed like a missed opportunity, in a way.
    Am I saying maybe the baby-boomers are Wannabe Human Rights protestors? Do they want the opportunity to create the change and earn the respect that others did? One of Tom Ashbrook’s panel referred to worrying about a national funk, a decade of something like depression, referring to the 1970s. Nothin’ to fight for, just an economc downturn up till Reagan came along promising Hollywood Dream Fulfilment.
    The American Dream — don’t let the Government Steal it from You. It’s Your Money. And away we go.
    In the late 1960s, college students who came together to stand up against racism, who came together to stand up against American involvement in Vietnam, they pored over newspapers, and had unending pow-wows, both among themselves as well as with professors at the various institutions and senior potentates within their communities. They weren’t coming at the situations uninformed.
    I’m not so sure about the reincarnation of the Protest ethos among the current loudest voices. Remember baby-boomers cover those born across a 15-year span. Those at the leading edge were the protestors in the late 1960s. Maybe we’re a little burnt out. We don’t have the time and the organizing potential of college campuses to foster the purposefulness that was had then.
    If students are saying “Whatever,” I’m sad. We need their anger, their understanding, their, dare I say it, leadership.

  • http://bruceguindon.com bruce guindon

    anger about what is going in the world is a mote point as long as the news cycle is controlled by a a staff of writers instead of people who report the news. at one time not so long ago the news was the energy behind the cycle not people with something to gain and in a way all outlets are at fault

  • Jennifer

    My laid-back toddler son’s personality just took a turn toward anger – full-on tantrums, hitting, throwing things. I notice it flares up whenever he makes the realization that he sees how things should work, how things should be and does not have the power to make them so. This is not “righteous anger”. This is frustration about momentary impotence.

    Similarly, the Tea Party not voicing righteous anger, but thinly veiling an honest, intense fear of impotence – the anticipation of the loss of a position of dominance that any step toward true social justice would certainly bring.

  • Dave Wasser

    I think anger is a perfectly normal emotional reaction when reality doesn’t conform to our expectations and assumptions. What is important is how you express it. People are not childish because they get angry, but the ways we deal with our anger reveal our maturity or lack thereof.

    So, I don’t know if we are “more” angry now than at any other time, but it does seem that many of the ways anger is expressed in our society are quite infantile and should not be tolerated. More importantly, our nation needs to be educated to more appropriate expressions of anger.

  • JC Cabell


    We are angry, because
    1.) We are often ignorant and bad at reasoning things out, especially now that we have had a few generations raised largely on the Image and the reptile-brain–encouraging advertisement,
    2.) We don’t have the things to which we think we have a right, such as a good living without working half as hard as any assembly-line worker in China, and getting extra respect for being male and pale,

    …but most significantly
    3.) We value and respect anger…. People treat anger as a sign of the strength and virtue of one’s intent, and will in fact criticise some Obamas for not being angry enough. I consider this utter dribble—I consider anger an impediment to real knowledge and/or victory—someone at whom one is angry seems neither fully human nor as weak and fallible as they actually are.

  • Brett

    “If students are saying “Whatever,” I’m sad. We need their anger, their understanding, their, dare I say it, leadership.” -Ellen Dibble

    That’s the most sensible statement I’ve heard all day! ;-)

  • Tom Cantlon

    We get shafted by an unregulated economy tailored to high finance speculators, then the rest of us end up holding the ball, fighting each other for scraps in arguments about whether to raise taxes to pay for, say, child health care, or that we’re all broke and can’t raise taxes, while the high rollers go back to their games. We SHOULD be angry (constructively), but we’re angry at each other when it is this economy of, by, and for big banks instead of workers that is the problem.

  • Todd

    Initially, the Tea Party WAS a legitimate grass-roots movement, with sound ideas—until it was hi-jacked by Right-wing money and media. As usual, whenever a potentially successful attempt to organize and unite people for a change that “threatens” to put the power of government back into the hands of the People, the corrupt Left-Right political establishment neutralizes the effort, by infiltrating and polarizing it into just another partisan issue of contention.

    As long as the big money politicos can keep the Left-Right illusion alive, and keep the fools on both “sides” fighting amongst themselves, then nothing will ever change for the betterment of the People. Funny, how the self-proclaimed independent thinkers on both the Left and Right, who claim to be so immune from the influence of big money politics, are the very ones who are most easily manipulated by it.

    Wake up people.

  • Matt from CA

    Fittingly, I felt angered listening to this program about America’s Anger Problem. But it’s because I’m angered by a number of the callers, and I wished I could debate them on air.

    One caller rang in and asked, “Whats the government doing with these czras? Isn’t that communist?” And another chimed in with, “I want the government off my back…free market…”

    Normally, when a lot of people are feeling certain sentiments, they’re based in something that is right. But when all their feelings are based on complete lies- those people are wrong. Listening to programs like FOX News and Rush Limbaugh have brainwashed a loud chunk of this country. These people have no knowledge of what is actually going on in the country, past or present.

    Ronald Reagan had czars- and that title is just a nickname. They were widely expanded under George W. Bush.

    If you don’t want to buy into the government option (not like were getting one thanks to you) then you don’t have to. That’s why it is an option.

    Look at the facts here: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/finalmarch-day1

  • Stacked

    The Tea Party only has one real power…to wreck the future for those that will live in it. It’s advisable to listen to them, because while they are indeed mostly older, they are legion, and can do so much damage if not heard, that long after they have all passed on, the damage will be felt. Stop insulting them, and start talking with them in a respectful tone, even if you don’t agree with them you morons! They read this stuff. It’s what fuels them. You’re feeding their fire with your insults and dismissals.

  • Stacked

    Lets try something more simple here:

    Lets say you’ve just spent the last of your capitol to buy a new house and furnish it. It’s moving in day, and you’re arranging your irreplaceable furniture. You look up, and notice a 800lb. Gorilla, literally going ape-sh*t in the middle of your living room.

    You don’t save the house or the furniture by poking it with a stick or screaming at it. If you shoot it, it will fall on the furniture, and then you have an 800lb. body to deal with. What you do is run to the kitchen, and start laying a trail of bananas out the front door.

    Does that make it through some of you guys skulls? You have to GIVE something the gorilla wants to get rid of it in a fashion that doesn’t destroy a large part of your investment! DUH!

  • Greg Giordano

    Peter Wood and his NAS is a well known Conservative-financed organization. I’m not surprised to see a person of his ideological background dismiss the pain and anguish of a hard-working struggling person like the elderly lady with an attitude of essentially, “that’s your lot in life, deal with it.” The ivory tower of conservative thought has a clear enough continuity from its pre-20th century privileged class origins to now with a mouthpiece like Mr. Wood. All this cyclical anger will ALWAYS be a measure of haves VS Have-nots.

    It will always be regressive greed-based ideals that will push the ordinary person against their neighbor fighting ideological wars instead of attacking the source of the problem- the minority percentage that rules the roost and owns the marbles. We should be investing this anger into that fight- or in this case, the representatives of the people(congress/Gov’t.) who COULD fight for them if not for being in the pocket of the same minority percent. “Let them eat cake”, eh Mr. Wood? Shame on him for such a callous response.

  • Greg Giordano

    BTW, JC Cabell, Dave Wasser & jsp2- Right On!

  • http://onpointradio Jean from MA


    I listened to part of the show in the car. Hard to get the entire hour when getting in and out. It did, however, bring to mind the news in the Boston area this week about the entire staff – teachers and administrators – in a few towns who have been fired as of the end of the school year. Each may re-apply for a fall position.

    Well, guess where I’m going with this! Let’s fire Congress – yes, all of them – and let them all re-run next election! I’m sure we can get some new folks to apply.

  • Gordon

    I think Matt from CA hits the nail on the head:

    “But when all their feelings are based on complete lies- those people are wrong.”

    A large percentage of the present rage in this country can be traced directly to deliberate misinformation by Fox News. They, Limbaugh, and the Republican Party seem to have forgotten that stoking public rage is playing with fire.

    Yeah, you can get the crowd to get out their pitchforks and torches, but God help all of us when those people become our policymakers.

  • onpointlover

    You don’t want to see me angry! you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry! *Flex*

  • gina

    Catherine’s call from Montreal confirmed something I’ve felt on the occasions I’ve visited there. Although admittedly only a tourist, nonetheless I felt everywhere a palpably friendlier, less confrontational atmosphere than in a comparable American city. The most noticeable difference came in interacting with employees in stores or cafes. Every clerk was pleasant and relaxed, with neither the snark nor the simulated my-job-depends-on-it cheerfulness that I am accustomed to. These Canadian service workers were clearly more content in their jobs than their American counterparts. I concluded, as Catherine has, that being assured of human necessities like health care makes for a happier, emotionally healthier population – even for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Canada realizes, like most every other advanced nation, that protecting the least of its citizens benefits all of its citizens – as well as tourists like me, who get to enjoy the anger-free ambiance!

  • Scott

    @JP I haven’t listened to the program yet but I thought it was about anger in american culture generally I find the way coverage of extremism has made it sound like there were never angry extremists 1. Before the tea party movement and 2. On the left. More than a little absurd.

  • cory

    Much of the anger from the right, left, and center arises from the unspoken yet undeniable fact the the U.S. is in steep and permanent decline. I’m 40, and if you look around at the loss of wages, benefits, education, national prestige and esteem it is patently obvious. We are helpless against this decline and it makes us want to lash out. Yeah, I’m angry too.

  • fredericc

    GRRRR!!! ahhh…. Validation.

  • Jim in Omaha

    I think there was a lot less anger about financial and employment matters when marginal income tax rates on the highest incomes were close to 90%; we had usury laws making it illegal to charge the interest rates commonly charged today; CEOs made 30 times more than the average wage earner, not 300 times more; we had strong unions in the private sector and elected officials willing to back them up; when most businesses were locally owned, not controlled by a public company serving the wants of distant if not foreign officers and shareholders; the financial sector existed primarily to serve the rest of the economy, not the other way around. Frankly, people ought to be angry. I know I have been for the last two-plus decades of “trickle-down” economics that has transferred almost all the gains from everyone’s increased productivity to an increasingly smaller number of people. Unfortunately, anger today is usually directed at the wrong target: the ones people are told to be angry at by the ones they should be angry at.

  • twenty-niner

    Personally, Bush’s and Obama’s bank bailouts did it for me. I’m still fuming.

    I imagine that I’m more of a free marketer than most of the posters on this board, but for free markets to work, bad ideas and practices need to fail.

    The notion that bailouts were necessary to prevent systemic failure is bunk. The same formula that was applied to Fannie, Freddie, and GM could’ve been applied to the banks: Wipe out the shareholders, leave the institutions intact while bringing them under government stewardship. The account holders could’ve been kept largely whole. Default-swap and other debt could’ve been renegotiated, and the employees could’ve kept their jobs at significantly reduced salaries and no bonuses. Once the dust settled, the banks could’ve been re-IPOed to the benefit of the tax payers with new owners and hopefully smarter and prudent operators with hard lessons learned. Unfortunately, the only lesson learned with these bailouts is that when the gambling debts come due, the Fed and Congress will come to the rescue. We’ve also learned who’s really running this country.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Oh, I agree with Jim out of Omaha and twenty-niner (and so many others), but it doesn’t help much take note and agree. There are a few sort of death spirals that seem to be going on, and simply appreciating that is not enough. Voting is not enough, when the people “put up” for election or re-election are part of that death spiral.
    Some here say oh, this too will pass.
    What’s that, the United States as an arrogant SOB? The United States as a moral force internationally? The human race as inhabitants of the planet?

  • Tad

    That one guy said “We think this is the kind of anger that burns itself out” and to the elderly caller “She should learn to live with more stoicism.” Man, I’d like to give him a piece of my mind. How about this kind of anger burns itself out by burning up everything you won and have worked for. What a callous SOB! I think just to spite him we should turn up the volume on the anger. His kind of “they’ll never be a real threat” attitude is why we are where we are. Maybe it’s time guys like him got a little taste, just so they know that sometimes when you crap on people, they crap back on you later on, and yes, they really will do it!

  • http://wbur.org Kathyah

    I most surely have to come back and comment.

    Stacked (and all your alter personalities) – if no one challenged you on your words and thought you’d presume there was no disagreement with your thinking which would widen your net of those who convert to your thinking.

    Ellen Dibble – particularly loved your 10:13 perspective.

    like i said, need to return later.

  • jeffe

    The Tea Party only has one real power…to wreck the future for those that will live in it. It’s advisable to listen to them, because while they are indeed mostly older, they are legion, and can do so much damage if not heard, that long after they have all passed on, the damage will be felt. Stop insulting them, and start talking with them in a respectful tone, even if you don’t agree with them you morons! They read this stuff. It’s what fuels them. You’re feeding their fire with your insults and dismissals.

    Stack here you go again, using threats. Calling people morons (is this slander or when you do it it’s OK) telling people that damage will be felt. I for one will not be swayed here. I find most of the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement to be based on fear and a political ideology I do not believe in. They have the right to do what they want, march around in clown suites for all I care, but I also have a right to oppose this.

    Maybe I should join the Coffee party movement at least they are talking about a collective will and discourse for positive outcomes and not spewing hate and screaming at people.

    The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.


  • Bush’s fault

    What’s the opposite of angry? Happy? Content? Placid? Pleased? Optimistic? Grateful? Whatever…I’m not angry.
    Every day we kill more islamist dirt…that pleases me. Obama followed Bush in rescuing the financial sector and saved millions of retired people from destitution…for that I am happy. I have much to be thankful for…that makes me grateful. My children have flown from the nest and are meeting the challenges of life for now, but can always return if they need to…that makes me optimistic. I never hit the big money, but used what I was given wisely…I am content. I gave up anger long ago.

  • Stacked

    Jeffe, again, I’m not Tea Party. Your memory is short, and memory is intelligence by most practical measures. I am not trying to save anything. The die is cast. I plan to survive, but in the meantime I enjoy pointing out how all sides contribute to the end. It passes the time. Britain was truly the modern “Rome.” We are the Byzantine Empire. Once the whites disappear, the Empire will fall, and centuries of dark age will prevail. It’s the way of things. Nothing will stop the violence of unhingment. I have no plans to participate. I will sit upon high and watch.

  • cory

    Bushes Fault,

    It is sad that killing pleases you. I’d rather be angry than a sociopath.

  • http://whilewestillhavetime.blogspot.com/ John Hamilton

    One of your “experts” used Bode Miller as an example of celebrities who exhibit uncontrolled anger. So much for “experts.” I wonder how much NPR paid this “expert.”

    This segment misses the point. The problem is rage. It is best exemplified by road rage, which can be used as a hologram for the entire syndrome. Driving has become more hectic with increased population, higher congestion, the relative higher cost of owning a vehicle, paying for gas, repairs, insurance, state fees, and various taxes. Because of the speed and stress of modern-day driving, the poor driving skill level of, really, most drivers, mutual rage is increasing in a synergistic manner.

    Here in the Midwest we have the added factor of passive aggression, drivers being so overly careful and slow that they actually increase the likelihood of accidents. Add to that the fact that many drivers are impaired by alcohol, drugs – both legal and illegal, mental illness, declining faculties, and lack of basic driver education – and you have what we have, a pressure cooker.

    I notice more and more drivers tooling around town at night with their bright lights on. There is no good reason for this other than to be an annoyance to other drivers, to express antisocial hostility and personal power. If you expand driving behavior to the cultural milieu at large, you have an entire social system that is in decline, tearing itself apart.

    This is an important discussion. Shedding light always has the potential to guide us towards correcting what ails us. This is at least a start.

  • Ellen Dibble

    There are some 2.5 billion Muslims, and not all are terrorists. Actually, there are also non-Muslim terrorists.
    And speaking of ad hominem attacks, I don’t see how that last remark is anything but. I mean, it is pretty ridiculous, given that for all we know “why don’t you pick up a rifle” is exactly what Cory has done for his country. There are commenters here in law enforcement and in the military, current and past.

  • http://wbur.org Kathyah

    I was angry when everything caved sept – nov 2008.

    From my perspective, here is who ‘benefitted’

    -investment banks who received excessive bonuses year over year (sometimes/often w/o performance to justify)

    -banks & mortgage brokers who made huge profits off the subprime mtg market but who were now reaching bankruptcy and labeled ‘too big to fail’. They were bailed out.

    -pervasiveness of the unregulated derivatives markets that also necessitated bailout (read: AIG)

    -Auto makers who refused to address their entitlement programs before then and also needed a bailout

    -Those who lived beyond their credit, either on credit cards or, unknowingly, those who purchased the subprime mtgs, interest only mtgs, option arm mtgs, etc.

    The way I saw it, I was punished in the following ways:

    -my retirement savings lost vast amounts of $$$

    -I was one of the ‘responsible’ ones who had no credit card debt & lived within my means.

    -I did not have a McMansion. Our house lost value surely (along with everyone else’s) but we were still ‘above water’.

    -Now, creditors will lower credit limits. Ding on the credit rating. Huge ding.

    Now, I think I’m resigned. I do not believe change is possible (in terms of politicians working together). The gridlock in washington disgusts me. People need to become more involved in local government at a minimum. Individuals can express the need for change till the cows come home but until there is collective action, I don’t have high hopes.

    One thing that does irritate me to no end is obesity. Because I take care of myself, I will be forced to pay into a pool to cover those that do not. And it won’t matter WHAT kind of health care plan is in. Reality is, hips and knees were not BUILT to support the weight put upon them today. Then you have heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and more. Genetic predisposal is one thing. Blatant disregard for health is another.

    The media and reality tv have vastly contributed to increased anger. When you have talk show hosts like Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush, Keith Obermann (sp) and (having evolved into this) Chris Matthews – of course you’ll incite firecracker reactions.

    Another large contributer is parents who refuse(d) to set appropriate boundaries for their children AND tried to be their ‘friend’. Now, these children – most in their 20′s – can’t think for themselves, can’t use logic to solve problems, and basically don’t have the skill set to endure financially tough times.

    Add to that, the era free floating $$$$ when people could go out and get bigger & better and could throw things away sooner than they might be worn out, only to replace them with ‘newer’ equivalents. People had to haved the latest & greatest technology – ipods, cell phones, houses, cars, etc.

    Bring all this crashing down, especially after the gap between rich and poor is barely measurable, yes, people feel angry. Anger in younger generations is a result of lifestyle being pulled out from under them, usually by coming out of school (college perhaps) with no hopes of a job & laden with debt. They know no other tools BUT to get angry.

    Anger (if that) in older generations is recognition of how much longer they will need to work/that the golden years won’t be so ‘golden’.

    Ellen Dibble – yes, we have to stop letting external forces manipulate us, educate ourselves where necessary, and take back the control.

    john dickason – you make an interesting point. corporate america feeds, supports & uplifts the religious right. how much is obama catering to corporate america?

    Chris McEnroe – I’ve been saying since the early 90′s social security needs to be addressed. Bush actuaries raided it to fund the Iraq war. That angered me big time :)

    Zach – absolutely agree with your point.

    Cathy Schulbaum – it takes more than one person to divide people. Corporate America & the republicans contribute too. The ego of any individual in either major party precludes them from benefitting the country as a whole.

    Karen – 11:33 – bingo.

    MTS – including ’50 Hispanics’ in a story where being Hispanic has no relevence TO the story is like my mother ALWAYS commenting when a person is black at some event when the color of one’s skin bears no relevence to the story.

    Daniel Krasa – ah, but you assume we have a population that is informed and skilled in analytical thinking.

    stillin – even me without a job, I cannot fathom your situation. Many people with jobs still do not appreciate what they have. Lorie obviously didn’t read your post between her two.

    joe – 11:47 – i fear you are correct and hope you are wrong. really hope.

    Jim in Omaha – well summarized.

    Twenty Niner – having been in the industry at the time, no one could decide proper value FOR the credit default swaps. Traders didn’t want to give them up for too low of a value for fear of a bigger loss than necessary. The gvt didn’t want to overpay.

    Stacked – again. You say your words mean XYZ. Then, you say you are the final decision maker on that. Sorry to tell you, perpeption is reality. How people perceive XYZ is reality. Not you saying XYZ. Concretely, if I say I’m a black person, is that the final decision because I said it? See, I’m as caucasion as they come. So, even though I said it, it’s not reality. Probably more in the context of your intent, if I say homosexuals are sinners in the eyes of God, yet I’m in a same sex relationship and attend a Roman Catholic church, does that mean homosexuals are sinners in the eyes of God? Not really.

    Hardly anyone in this country, when in a face-to-face environment, has the courage to call a spade a spade. Unless, perhaps, they’re racist idiots.

    One thing that truly scares me – how many gun carrying AND angry people in this country are there? The more organized, quiet, and flying ‘under the radar’ they are, the more likely they are to do something like fly a plane into a building or shoot guardsman at the pentagon.

  • peter nelson

    First of all I don’t know why anyone here is even engaging with “stacked” or whatever his nom-du-jour is. He obviously has mental problems and the fact that he doesn’t even realize that he’s made statements which anyone else would understand to incite violence only reinforces this. There is nothing to be gained by interacting with him. He’s looking for a reaction and by responding you’re reinforcing his behavior.

    WRT the topic “anger” – I do not think that Americans are any angrier than in the past. We are a nation with a history of riots, lynchings, tar-and-feathering and other outbursts but we’ve seen nothing like that recently and FBI stats show that violent crime has been falling over the last decade or two. In the 1960′s and early 70′s we had massive race riots and antiwar riots, but nothing like that recently. Nor have we ever had anything like the barricades which have historically arisen in the streets of Paris in times of protest, or kristallnacht or the storming of the Bastille or similar outburts in other countries.

    I think we’re seeing a journalistic phenomenon: we live in an age of zillions of competing media sources and lots of overstimulation from our cell phones, the internet, hundreds of cable channels, and so forth. So increasingly what we used to call the “news” has to SHOUT to be heard – it needs to focus on ever more loud, colorful, bizarre or lurid behavior to have any hope of attracting an audience for its advertisers to get the almighty buck. So it’s not that there’s more anger, it’s that angry people attract a bigger audience.

  • cory


    Not sure how you came to the conclusions you did based on my comments. Don’t think I expressed any preference for our “enemies” over our own people either. Don’t think I referred to anyone as gutless or boy. In my experience those with no or poor arguments raise their voices and call names.

    Thanks Ellen. I have served in uniform and carried a firearm during my life. I don’t advertise or parade it. I don’t need to in order to make an argument.

    Falken, I’ll stick with my statement. If you enjoy killing, even your mortal enemies, you aren’t quite right.

  • Matt Cara

    I really enjoy it when folks get upset about “czars” being communist, and “Barney Frank was dating ‘the guy’ running Freddy Mac.” (Did he mean Kellerman, and did anyone inform Mrs Kellerman?)
    Nothing says “ignorance” like getting upset about nonsense.
    These are obviously facts that they teach in school South of the Mason Dixon line.
    There, get angry about that!

  • Larz

    I am angry because NPR has hardly covered the story of how the banks have destroyed Iceland through the same derivative boondogle that went on here, goldman sacks criminals are still at large ..

  • Ishmael

    Ken Tebbetts mentioned that a lot of the anger may be linked back to 911, and it probably is not only that but all the frustration involved with finances. People are taking it out on other people and on ideology.

    Psychological trauma may have behind Bush’s irrationality and delusional thinking in the aftermath of 911, incidentally.

    Severe stress can do odd, strange things to some people.

  • Michele Swanston

    I think Americans are angrier – more entitled, louder, boisterous in their anger due to the closeness of issues that are now affecting each individual personally. In the 50 and 60s they handled it – today we do.

  • Ishmael

    Great insightful comments from two of the callers: from Canada, and from the Irish-American, the latter pointing out the media saturated with stupid, incessant anger.

    There are whole organized groups of people who have decided it’s somehow a great idea to display odd emotions and deliver florid, public tantrums. Fueled, no doubt, by a great deal of stress indeed, almost a decade of mishandling an economy that finally blew up, taking peoples’ retirement incomes with it, shadowy criminal syndicates like AQ attacking the country. Incredible amounts of stress, and the media is there with instructions about what to do with it.

  • Janet

    I think people are becoming more upset due to the failing American economy.

  • Stacked

    I think peter nelson makes a somewhat valid point. Yes, anger sells, probably second only to sex, but what good does that realization really do you? I mean, he actually was so drawn to my sometimes angry sounding diatribes, that he started his entire post, on a show focusing on Anger in America, on me, and why nobody should pay attention to me. You, of course, see that simply by doing what he did, he violated his own tenant, and also proved that even he is a slave to his own observations.

    This brings us to another question; what difference does it make? You may analyse, and be correct, yet be powerless to make any usage of your observations. Why is that? Could that be a cultural meme? And if impotence is recognized to fuel anger, could this just be the beginning of a spiral to anger transmitted into violence unseen? The bottom line is: I think it’s really too early to tell, and it’s entirely possible that when the anger, manufactured or real, finally does become a self fulfilling prophecy, it could explode with such force as to sweep aside any semblance of law and order, like the hand of God brushing aside wind.

    hehehe, analyze that peter. P.S. The God ref. was to screw with your rubric. I’ll give ya’ that one.

  • Gary

    The reality of a system as a rigged game makes people angry because they are forced to continue playing with the knowledge of the risks. We are continually victimized by a corporate plutocracy that laughs at the losers as they are made to pay the thieves for the blatant theft.

    Anger results from a few of these injustices but rage is the result of many. I think there is a simmering rage out there.

    The BIG causes of anger due to lack of choice to leave the game are.

    -Wall street pumping and dumping the world economy, and then being a double down reward for their crime by the taxpayers.

    -Public Health care being derided as a ineffective boondoggle for taxpayers by millionaires who use public health care funded by taxpayers.

    -Wars being fought for the sole purpose of laundering even more tax money to the corporate oligarchy and an unlimited number of mercenaries.

    -Deregulation (lawlessness – AKA Trickle Down) being sold as a solution to lawlessness (AKA – Self Correction – AKA Bailouts).

    -Free Trade ( AKA – The massive off-shoring of jobs), and we are told that unemployment is not important, its “Markets” that are important. I heard a politician say that we are going to just sell services to each other as a basis of a national economy.

    -The divide and conquer game played by the media to ensure that “the right” and “the left”, (AKA red, blue) will never pull together as Americans and really take control of the country.

    -Ineffective government controls over food, finance, safety, environment etc. All engineered by corporations as the benefit of “smaller government”

    -Visibly rotting infrastructure, yet we are told that this is normal and good enough.

    -The terrorist myth, and the other irrational fear mongering which the media uses to assault the population with 24/7 for huge profits.

    -Educational system that is utterly shameful for an industrialized nation.

    Add all of this and more to the many little assaults we undergo each day and people are getting very angry. I was almost killed by a guy driving on my side of the road (completely over the line), and yes he was on his cell phone. There is a simple fix for this, and every programmer in the world knows it. One line of code at the cell tower receiver:

    If GPS coordinate is > 8 MPH then discontinue call.

    Simple solution to a national safety problem that kills way more Americans every year than 9-11.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Gary, your post should be required reading for anyone before they go in a voting booth — before anyone runs for office might be better. You lost at “terrorist myth.” It seems to me that copycat troublemaking, pumped-up rage, has ever greater “opportunities” for causing huge disruption. The emotional disruption (the media attention and overreaction) caused by terrorism is way out of line with reality; I’ll grant you that. I heard yesterday that in the United States we have achieved a 55-year-record in the LEAST deaths per mile driven. We’re down to something like 360,000 DEATHS per year. I calculated 100 a day. OMG, that would be 1,000. I misconstrued. Maybe it was 36,000 deaths last year. In any case, if you add all those maimed for life, the costs to all, that is a lot more than than “terrorism.”
    Cutting off cell phone calls over 8 mph is interesting, though apparently accidents have been going down not up, and if I were in a runaway Toyota I would want a functioning cell phone.

  • Kimberly Swanson

    Try this on…I’m 37 and will spend some unknown period of time caring for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease using her limited resources. Which will be far more than I will ever have available to me (i.e, no SS or 401K for me since I’m not working). Yeah, I am angry. Once my mother has passed on, I will likely never want to do another thing for a baby boomer. This group has crafted an America that was to cater to them. Enjoy your retirement by yourself….

  • jeffe

    Peter you’re right, don’t give the people who post racially charged diatribes the time of day. They are looking for attention and a reaction.

    I also agree with about the anger and rage in the historical context. There was a time not long ago that racist blew up Black churches, burned crosses, and lynched people. Now we have the cross burners online ranting.

    However I think we can see rage in some individuals, such as the Andrew Joseph Stack IRS incident, that will be extreme in the amount of violence perpetrated. What intrigued me was the missed placed anger, the IRS does not write the laws it enforces them. Joseph Stack should have been angry at congress.

    In hard economic times people will look for scapegoats.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Kimberly, I hope OnPoint addresses the situation of older Americans. Boomers who do have retirement assets need to direct those assets not where they maximize profit but where they enable further prosperity for America and the planet. Some of hold some of the purse strings.
    Aother point to address in this regard, depending on the outcome of health planning is the way families fall apart under inequities extant. An uninsured or underinsured individual surely cramps the familial fabric. How many extended families are open about finances? Or health. It seems to me the norm is that we mind our own business and take responsibility.
    Provisions in my state I believe allow for remuneration for family members to be caregivers for people like your mother. I understand long-term care was one of Ted Kennedy’s issues, and that the Senate has a plan for $50 per day to be paid directly to nurses for at-home nursing. This, according to budget-planning types, is totally untenable for the national budget. And also, it is totally unreasonable to think $50 a day would go far enough in medical costs. There is private insurance available (was; it’s now been backed out) that will pay directly to the patient to choose their own choice, to manage for themselves, which would not help you (again).
    There is really no good plan for you or your mom, it seems to me. You are both trapped, she by her condition, you by her needs. I hope there are groups that you can join on the Internet to brainstorm on this.
    Years back I met a woman about your age as I was going around Europe, as I was, via youth hostel and Eurail pass, who was about your age. No, a decade older. She had a son who had broken his neck, and she had spent her life tending him day and night. So she was hoofing it around Europe on who-knows-what shoestring. It was as if she had been launched into paradise. An old Australian fellow traveler who apparently spent whole years seeing the world like that looked at me as the railroad rattled along and said, “What a person,” or words to that effect. I don’t know what lucky star had landed on her. I think she had actually planned it somehow.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think it’s good when people who know this forum – like jeffe in this thread – can be seen to be “handling” the more distracting individual/s. If someone visits and sees a flood of unanswerable stuff, it’s quite a turnoff (contrary to what a certain someone seems to think), at least to anyone seeking a posting place where a thoughtful comment might be valued. On the other hand, if they see that the red-flags are being clipped, so to speak, the discussion can go on sort of around that process.

  • jeffe

    Ellen I think Peter is right, but I also think when people make statements that are extreme and are designed to bate people it’s good to call them out. I think not answering every come back is a good idea.

    I guess some people need to place blame on others who have done nothing to them. The define themselves by defining and debasing others.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think “someone” was trying to derail the productive nature of the forum by distracting a lot of us into — well, I don’t think a certain “someone” knows how to have a useful exchange. I’ve never seen it. It SEEMS to be dialogue, but then the layers of dishonesty come out, that “someone” is just toying with us, playing with us in mean ways.
    I tried to let visiting people know up top that we can recognize this and live with it, that it would be better to talk about “the many colors of anger,” and not just one attention-getter. And I think we did it. I think jeffe did the red flag clipping and did it very well, so thank you. If none of us answered, there would be floods of provocations, and others who have productive things to say would be side-lined in trying to deal with it or would simply pass up the chance to discuss. Jeffe is imposing a time-out, was my impression, in a curious way.

  • Stacked

    Ellen Dibble, what’s productive about this forum? Do we have legislative power here? Is this the same as writing your local, state, or federal representative? I what is spoken about here even read by the majority of people who visit this site? No…No it’s not. It’s a liberal clique where a few regular liberals regurgitate supporting evidence back and forth to each other, and then do what with that? Nothing. You’ll find the same dynamic at work on conservative sites. Over there, I’d be a hero. Here, I’m a “racist cross burner.” None of you guys get it yet. Not one.

    Btw, the FBI shows that Blacks attack, rape, and kill whites at 8 times the amount whites do that to blacks, even though whites are a far larger portion of the population. When whites attack blacks, it’s news, when 8 times that number do it to whites, it’s a “dirty little secret.”

  • ruralcounsel

    Historically, Americans could move to the frontier when they disagreed with the status quo or the legal and social restrictions imposed on them. No more. That relief valve no longer exists.

    Over the last 2 centuries, government has become more intrusive and restrictive. The frontier is gone, so there is no escape. We formed a government based on individual liberty, and it has grown cancerous and corrupt as it morphed to accomodate bad social theories, powerful special interests, and grasped for more and more control over the individual.

    The federal income tax sprang up in 1913, and has grown ever more manipulative, trying to coerce certain behaviors with incentives and punitive aspects. Congressmen sells their votes, no longer even ashamed, calling it “closed door negotiations”. Folks no longer see their tax dollars as a fair part of supporting a common good, like national defense, but as extorted under threat of force to fund certain favored “charitable” social programs. Government is no longer “ours”, but just another dangerous special interest group.

    Many folks now feel backed in to a corner, and attacked by authorities, with their own money. They see a government that doesn’t know how to stop spending what it doesn’t have, putting their futures and those of their children ever more at risk. People having trouble paying their mortgage aren’t going to want to pay someone else’s health insurance. People struggling to find work aren’t going to want to bail out bankers, or give special deals to unions with cadillac health care plans.

    The system is disfunctional, not because it can’t function, but because nearly everything it does accomplish is destructive to individual freedom and liberty. Our leaders are ignorant of the real world, and make proclamations based on theories and dogma. Foreign adversaries see our ignorance and blindness, and prepare against us without fear.

    The illuminati and politically well-connected sneer at the common folks, even as they gorge at the public trough. And the public trough is being filled with borrowed swill from China, mortgaging our futures. The elites live by ideas alone, and are judged by self-congratulatory peers who also only deal in ideas, ideas that never meet the hard anvil of usefulness and the hot forge of reality. Big corporations interests no longer track with our national interests, and they export valuable manufacturing employment overseas to cheap labor for better profits. Government works hand-in-hand with them to open borders hoping for a cut of the profits and tariffs.

    Anger was useful when it might have made a difference. That time has come and gone. Now is just time to arm, dig in, and hunker down.

    A judgment day is coming. And it will not be pleasant for any of us. Americans have always held strong opinions, spoken strong words. It has brought us to the brink of civil war many times, and at least once full on. It will do so again.

    “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.”

    Ayn Rand
    Atlas Shrugged, page 413

  • ruralcounsel

    This is perhaps a better encapsulation of what I was trying to say …

    “At the heart of the American idea is the deep distrust and suspicion the founders of our nation had for government, distrust and suspicion not shared as much by today’s Americans. Some of the founders’ distrust is seen in our Constitution’s language such as Congress shall not: abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, violate and deny. If the founders did not believe Congress would abuse our God-given rights, they would not have provided those protections. After all, one would not expect to find a Bill of Rights in Heaven; it would be an affront to God. Other founder distrust for government is found in the Constitution’s separation of powers, checks and balances and the several anti-majoritarian provisions such as the Electoral College and the requirement that three-quarters of state legislatures ratify changes in the Constitution. The three branches of our federal government are no longer bound by the Constitution as the framers envisioned and what is worse is American ignorance and acceptance of such rogue behavior. Look at the current debate over government involvement in health, business bailouts and stimulus packages. The debate centers around questions as whether such involvement is a good idea or a bad idea and whether one program is more costly than another. Those questions are entirely irrelevant to what should be debated, namely: Is such government involvement in our lives permissible under the U.S. Constitution? That question is not part of the debate. The American people, along with our elected representatives, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, care less about what is and what is not permissible under our Constitution. They think Congress has the right to do anything upon which they can secure a majority vote, whether they have the constitutional or moral authority to do so or not.” –George Mason economics professor

  • http://www.bahaiperspectives.com L

    I have just listened to this podcast and found myself nodding along with Peter Wood.

    There seems to be a view that the rising tide of anger in America is justified in light of tough economic times. But has anyone seen “God Grew Tired of Us?” The young men who traveled countless miles on foot to escape being killed in their homeland, only to end up in a refugee camp for ten years, were nonetheless filled with a sense of joy that is rare among Americans.

    I’m 26 and only know the past two decades of American life, let alone since World War II, but the “look-at-me” anger seems to grow year by year.

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff

    Hello, Those of us impoverished by the mortgage fraud/foreclosure crisis have every reason to be angry. And without financial compensation, it hurts even more. This is not supposed to be happening in America. Eugenia Renskoff

  • Alan

    This is an important discussion, but let us distinguish between two kinds of anger. One is justifiable anger on the part of mature individuals. This sort of anger is generally sublimated, resulting in directed action to a solution to whatever prompted the anger. Unfortunately, this appears to be the behavior of a minority of citizens. The majority demonstrates the second kind of anger, which is familiar to any of us who have raised children through middle school. Our country is awash in juvenile behavior, and self-absorbed anger, upon which your guests touched, makes the headlines. It is time for the “grown ups” to bring some order to the playground, for clearly there are quite a number of people who need a “time out.”

  • Philip

    Alan, that kind of paternalist viewpoint is part of the problem. These are adults, and whether you agree with their anger, or more importantly, understand it is moot. They are adults. They are voters. They are angry. We should try to listen to them. They also have guns.

  • http://WBUR Monique Greilich

    I didn’t hear all of the anger management show but I would like to weigh in. I am a 60 year old woman,old enough to have observed trends in social behavior. Americans are becoming angrier and ruder with every passing minute. I don’t think that it is about the government or the economy because even when times were better,the rudeness index was rising. I think it is about “entitlement”.People think that they are entitled to scream at government officials, (witness the town meetings on health care)public employees in post offices,parks, schools etc, and at anyone who serves the public.It seems that anyone is fair game for wrath. Part of this is fueled by talk radio and the low level of expectations that we now have of ourselves.We need to begin having a different expectation of acceptable decorum for all social strata and in all media , including radio, print and tv.Let’s bring back
    civility and respect and bury the Me generations. Frankly, I am tired of “ME”.

  • FrankDillo

    Bring back spankings. Everyone needs one. Children, Adults, Political Leaders, and especially the Babyboomers. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

  • jeffe

    Gee Frank lets tar a few generations with one brush.
    That’s like saying the generation that fought WW2 are all the “greatest generation”, which is not really the truth. Some were and others were not.

    Life is complicated and corporal punishment does not seem to me to be a panacea.

  • FrankDillo

    The boomers are the folks who set all this up. Each man lives under his fathers rule. The boomers inherited a strong nation. What have they done with it? And now the’re mad that that their leadership has lead to this? I know this, I won’t be paying for their retirement. They should have saved, rather than bought that bass boat or vacation house in the 80′s and 90′s. They should have held their parties feet to the fire more, and achieved something for the nation, instead of “living now, pay later.” Well, the bill is due, and nobody want’s to hear how they’re mad about that. And as far as “paint with a brush” well, that’s the way the world works because there is no time to give everyone individual attention. Marketing firms do it. Political parties do it. And anyone who say’s they don’t is either a liar or totally ineffective.

  • jeffe

    Frank I understand what you are saying. However plenty of non-boomers over extended themselves as well.

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say here, that all of this is on the shoulders of people born between 1946 through 1964? What you’re not going to blame FDR and the New Dealers as well?

    The economics of this melt down were on part created not by boomers but by Reagen’s generation based on the ideas of Milton Freeman who is hardly a baby boomer.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I remember the playbook from the turn of the century. I have 5 cases of canned peas, 5 cases of canned tuna and mackerel, a few can openers, and plenty of soap. Also guns and butter. Now I will hibernate until the Himalayan glaciers have melted and the people are done fighting for the rather undesirable remains of the planet.
    Actually, I am trying to participate in a great organizational demonstration, and some of us are trying to use Roberts Rules of Order. Others are burning the books, including the Roberts Rules, and are trying to out-anger the angry masses. They say they have rage; we have anger. They say they are diffident, because they tote guns, and are Totally Free. Someone else says no, those are depressed and in a funk, the kind of funk that imposes itself on as many others as possible; scornful of anyone’s purpose.
    Others are sick and tired and hungry. I am sicker and tireder and hungrier than thou, says someone. I was stolen from, ruined. And billions of women in Africa and Asia look on and say, Americans, you’ve got to be kidding; you’re fighting over cream.
    And others grandstand on the diving board, bouncing high, saying, suck it up, pal; no one gets in my way; see my muscles flex and watch out. In this house, at least, I am The Man. Here I stand.

  • Joal Morris

    The majority of people who called in during this episode are what makes me the angriest. These people rail mostly against big government. But if you look at the individual issues that rile them the most, the REAL culprit is not big government. It’s big business. Question: What is the only entity that could possibly wield the power to curtail the unbridled, predatory greed and exploitative practices of mega-corporations? Answer: a large, powerful, central government that is not in the pocket of big business. I think the Teaparty folks are entirely justified to be as angry as they are. Americans are being tied over a barrel by “the powers that be” perhaps more than ever in U.S. history. But these people are aiming their anger at the wrong villain and they want to take down the one thing that can keep that villain in check.

  • http://wbur.org Kathyah

    Portfolio traders are not baby boomers. If they are, at the MAX they represent 2-5% of the traders. Having worked with traders, they are roughly in their 30′s, with greener ones being MAYBE in their 20′s and the upper echelon PERHAPS in their 40′s. These are the people who invested in the swaps that brought everything down. The chief muckety mucks at the firms – yeah, maybe they’re older. But the ones with their shirt sleeves rolled up in the trenches are not the boomers.

    I realized yesterday that those boomers who are now parents with kids nearing or in college have parents who had a different set of rules growing up than they did. Boomer parents tended to work at companies who provided a pension plan in retirement. This allowed them to save $$$$ for their kids to attend college. Over the past 15-20 years, pension plans gradually became a thing of the past. Very few non-government sector jobs provide this today. This is what complicated boomers’ lives – they didn’t realize they should not be paying for their kids’ education because they needed to be saving for retirement. Those currently in their mid 20′s – 40′s realize they need to save for their own retirement. If they have not, they should now. As such, the boomer parents who did pay for their kids’ college and now have nothing in retirement are befuddled.

    Joal – read gary’s post. big business needed government to expand their power.

  • Joal

    I think it’s interesting that you don’t speak to the actual content of what I wrote. You seem to think that simply throwing pathetic insults is some sort of a rebuttal. The big media corporations tell us what to think. The big banks control our housing and our money. The for-profit health care and pharmaceutical industry decides whether we’re going to live or die based upon how much money we give them. Monolithic agribusinesses decide what’s going to go in our foods. The list goes on. And none of them cares at all about anything but profit no matter who it hurts. If there was no one to put limits on corporations’ obscene greed, there would be no stopping them at all. What is a government for but to see to the welfare of its citizens? The Tea Party folks are basically saying to Washington “please let Big Business do whatever it wants to us without any limits”. The worse thing about big govt is that it’s walking in lockstep with big business. We need strong government that’s an adversary to big business—rather than being its puppet. So let’s hear you say something intelligent this time, Stacked, instead of silly meaningless insults.

  • Scott

    Thanks for a good hour, I guess I must apologize for prejudging it, it was considerably more nuanced and interesting than similar hours about media anger have been in the past.

  • Ellen Dibble

    We are remembering the Town Hall rage-in’s last August where members of Congress had to come home “on vacation” and be escoriated for their efforts right, left, and center. Come Easter week/Congressional recess, with a vote for health insurance reform dangling around their necks like a scarlet letter of shame, Congress again gets the “opportunity” to explain themselves — if not now, then in the fall before elections.
    I mention this here because I am hoping Joal keeps his points sharp: Is Congress the puppet of Big Business, or the profit-at-all-social-costs part of the USA? The Supreme Court seems to want to encourage that by their vote in United whatever it was, where corporations were decreed to be People, something like that, and as such able to consider a Dollar the same as a Voice.
    I think that’s where it all hits the fan, so to speak: Can Congress run On The Merits? Or are they going to fly under the moneyed talking points that Pew and so forth deem will “fly” them on to election.
    That is the infuriating situation, NOT whether they get tagged as subsidizers of Big Insurers, which it seems likely inevitable, and in our best interests in some inexplicable way.
    Can the media shape up our choices so that we are not helpless against smoke and mirrors of campaigning but have honest brokers (media) letting us participate? I think the congresspeople running would appreciate that vastly.
    Campaign by rage underwritten by Big Money? Or campaign by Best Interests and reason? Please help us, media.

  • Ellen Dibble

    That would be “Excoriated,” a fine word if spelled right. Sorry. Scratched at.

  • http://ncpr stillin

    Thanks for listening
    Thanks for picking up on, pointing out, Lori could not hear. Nope, she’s just not going to listen to it, nothing is going to penetrate the sacharin peace bubble..no no no, it’s just a beautiful world, and if I go hungry, and cold, and my kids go hungry or cold, despite the fact I am owed 90,000 in back child support, well that is nothing to get angry about. Maybe Lori does a few prescription drugs to maintain that peeeeaceful bubble. the voice of Lori is like the voice of a teacher who stays on even keel, expecting the homework done and done well, except for the fact there’s nobody home to help with it, there’s no supper, there’s no heat, tisktisk, we must set an example. Excuse me while I pour my tea.

  • A Listener in Brooklyn

    My, what a boorish response Mr. Wood gave to that poor woman whose husband is dying of cancer. No wonder he observes a lot of anger in people, if he goes around talking to them in that pedantic tone.

    Otherwise, Mr. Wood, I thought you had a point. But the show generally couldn’t seem to find one.

    Whose anger are we talking about? When? Where? Road rage, tea parties, talk shows … I’m sure all interesting in their own right, but conflating so many issues within such a large population does nothing but increase the frenzy of modern life.

  • http://canucwhatic.blogspot.com/ Roth

    There is not enough anger/rage in this country right now, and the anger that does exist is deliberately focused on those who suffer the most at the hands of who our rage should be focused.

    If you’re not angry, either you are part of the established and/or corporate elite, or you have been successfully indoctrinated by the corporations – the dominant institution of today – with the philosophy of futility designed to divert our attention to the insignificant things in life.

    Meanwhile these corporate citizens, who “have no soul to save and no body to incarcerate” are usurping OUR wealth…and not just our private wealth, but what many have come to take for granted: fresh air, clean water, healthy and somewhat safe environment, etc.

    These so-called “citizens” share the rights of us mere mortals with none of the responsibility or accountability to the democratic process …their only allegiance is to profit. Yet we’re allowing these psychopathic institutions to blatantly rob us blind while determining the way we live our lives.

  • Daniel Guidera

    Next show: America’s Crazy Problem?

  • Sarah

    I’m a white woman, and I’m angry at whites’ sense of entitlement. I think unemployment for anyone is a horrible thing, and I think that everyone should be able to work who wants to – that’s not my issue. However, the current unemployment rate for black men between the ages of 16-24 is about 34%, and for black women in that age is 26% (which is 11% more than white women in that age group. Twenty-five percent of blacks are underemployed, while 14% of whites are underemployed. If anyone has a reason to protest and be angry, it’s people of color. Yet the majority of people we’re talking about (and are hearing from on this show, in terms of callers and guests) are white. I know the frustration and fear that comes with being unable to find employment, but considering that we still are extremely privileged when it comes to the majority of the world, are we really considering whether this anger is ok?

    I enjoy this show, but I’m disappointed that this conversation is focusing on white rage without consideration of any other groups. Currently, white folks are facing an unemployment rate that is what black folks normally experience (around 8%). If white rage is justified, then what should blacks do now that their unemployment rates are twice as high as whites? How should blacks act now, then, since unemployment for black men is at 17% (while it’s at 10% for white men)? Since we’re giving whites a pass, and telling them it’s ok to be angry, will we tell blacks it’s ok to be angry and to yell racial epithets, spit on Congresspeople, and display posters of racist imagery when we go back to the status quo of recession-level employment for them? Will we explain away and laugh off that imagery the way we are with racialized presentations of our president?

    I have to echo sentiment I read in a Cokie & Steve Roberts – the Democrats won the election, so stop acting like spoiled children and work toward change in the democratic way, which is through elections.

Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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