29 November 2006


From time to time, everyone experiences feelings of anger. We are meant to be apologetic about anger - as if it was always a "problem", a beastly trait that civilised people should never allow themselves to fall prey to. Increasingly, in teaching, a message has spread like a quiet whisper that somehow anger is wrong. Instead we should be embracing half-baked philosophies such as "Assertive Discipline".
When kids cross the line we are meant to say in intelligent voices, "Please make a different choice" or "I have to tell you that every action has a consequence and the consequence of your action will be this..." There seems to be little room left for blasts of temper or clear and natural demonstrations of displeasure. Anger is something to be managed - hence "Anger Management" sessions and courses and counselling. It's something to be swept under the carpet, talked away or stifled.


A couple of years ago, one lunchtime, I came across a sixteen year old boy who was at the corridor light switch, switching the lights on and off, on and off, on and off. "Mark", I said nicely, "please don't do that. You might fuse the lights." On and off they went. I became a little more forceful but still Mark ignored me and kept on - on and off. Finally, I came real close to him and bellowed at a thousand decibels, "MARK! GET YOUR HANDS OF THAT LIGHT SWITCH NOW!" Mark was so taken aback that he ran out of the school, all the way home. Later, an office worker told me that Mark had returned with his father who was shouting the odds in the school reception area, saying memorably, "Mark doesn't like people shouting at him!" Crazy world.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about anger:-

"Anger is an emotional response to a grievance. The grievance may appear to be real or imagined, it may have its roots in a past, present experience or it may be in anticipation of a future event. Anger is invariably based on the perception of threat or a perceived threat due to a conflict, injustice, negligence, humiliation and betrayal among others.
Anger can be an active or a passive emotion. In case of "active" emotion the angry person "lashes out" verbally or physically at an intended target whether justified or not. When anger is a "passive" emotion it is charactererized by silent sulking, passive-aggressive behaviour (hostility) and tension."

What has made you angry over the years I wonder? Personally, I can admit to lots of things. Sometimes I think that anger can show that you still care, that you are still alive, that you still have passion in your soul. In my "Friends Reunited" university alumini entry, I wrote, "still an angry young man after all these years". I'm not ashamed of getting angry. Just as day is the counterbalance to night, so perhaps anger is the counterblance to love or charity. I don't want to live my life in a permanent dusk.
Things that make me angry have included impersonal and inefficient bureaucracy of any kind, schoolchildren who won't listen, bad decisions by football referees, famine and starvation in the Third World, bullshit bandwagons that trundle through the world of education - often costing millions of pounds, Hugh Grant, tradesmen such as plumbers or roofers who let you down, drivers talking on mobile phones, profligate waste of the Earth's precious resources, the extinction of unique creatures, people pushing in front of you to get served in pubs, the war in Iraq, The "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, cars parking on the grass verge outside our house, tailgaters on motorways, lavatories without lavatory paper, ugly graffiti on lovely stone work, any kind of bullying, banks, litter...
What about you?


  1. Well, your mate Mark made me pretty friggin' angry.

    As well as spammers like the one above.

    Respect! ;-)

  2. Anonymous2:49 am

    I don't think a spam post could have been better time...and yes, I agree, that, TOO, makes me angry!

  3. Dear Mr Anonymous,
    How dare you call my blog a "resource" - you cad, you bounder, you nincompoop! It is a literary stream of consciousness and you sir or madam get absolutely no "respect" back from me! "See you soon" you say at the end and I sincerely hope this happens because at that point I will beat you to a pulp fired up by a furnace of Yorkist anger!

  4. I got one too .. I deleted mine.
    spammers make me really pissed off and not the way you Brits mean pissed.

    That game that I play.. the one I talk about all the time.. we have spammers in it as well. trying to sell us illegal "gold" that we use in the game to buy stuff.
    people spam in the chat channels.
    you can't get away from it.

    What makes me really angry is injustice. Dishonesty.
    Bloodsuckers and backstabbers.

  5. What makes me angry is having to resort to word verification so as to avoid spammers.

    ALSO.....Computers that crash every five minutes (mine).

    P.C.World who sold me the rubbishy item.

    Packard Bell who made it.

    'Customer Service' call centres who keep you hanging on for ever but keep assuring you 'your call is important' to them, and then don't sort out your computer problem when you finally get through.

    (Yes, I am having a few computer generated aggravations tonight!)

  6. Clean, pure, unfiltered anger can be quite effective and necessary. Resentment, however, is as one author said (Anne Lamott?), "Swalloing rat poison and waiting for the rat to die."

    In no particular order, some of the things that incite me to anger over the course of my life are:

    1)People telling me (not asking) what I think
    2)False accusations
    3)Refusals to use turn-signals on the roadways.
    4)Prevailing misconceptions about poverty
    5)The idea that government should stay out of our pocketbooks and lives unless it wants to know what's going on in people's bedrooms (which in that case, by all means, open up the doors and call the neighbors with the video cameras)
    6)The wacked-out concept that one's heritage instead of one's behavior toward others is sufficient grounds for forming preconceived opinions (i.e. racism, sexism)


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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