Monday, November 03, 2008

THE END OF OUTRAGE

A few weeks ago when a friend told me about Thomas Frank coming over to give a talk at the local library, I enthusiastically agreed. Frank was going to speak about his new book "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule". Frank is something of a funny man and as I sat in the first row I laughed. But as he recounted how conservatives have torn apart the moral fabric of this country and belied their own creed, I felt a genuine sense of outrage welling up inside me, as it had done so countless times before and as it would inside any reasonable person.

Then a week after that, I saw that Steven Wax, author of "Kafka Comes to America" was going to give a talk at the same library. Again I went. Again, outrage welling up in the front row. Suddenly I realized that I had felt this outrage so many times that I was becoming masochistic and getting addicted to it.

And that was the reason why I wasted so much time on politics. Over the last two years or so I have seriously spent much more time on politics than I should. I used to find myself unable to resist with pointed sarcasm and and an outrage overflow when the talk around me turned to politics. How could these people possibly be like this? I could not stop expressing outrage over these questions. I realized that that was why I sometimes watched Bill O'Reilly for "entertainment". The sense of outrage had so enveloped me over the last two years or so that I had started genuinely liking it. Sometimes outrage would knock me out in a speechless stupor and yet when I woke up I would want more of it. It's like that weird and sweet pain you feel when you bang your knee against a wall. You know that it's genuinely hurting and yet you don't want it to go away.

That's what the Republicans did to me as they did to many others. They got all those who care in this country and in the world addicted to outrage, the genuine kind and not the Sean Hannity kind. They got us wasting time and diverting ourselves from more important things so that we could repeatedly feel that outrage and relish it. I hated myself for spending so much time on politics and yet I loved it.

And that's why I want tomorrow to get over as soon as possible. I think I and millions of people everywhere have had enough of outrage. That's one of the reasons why I am going to savor Obama's win. Because I can finally start resisting the urge to keep on spending time on politics because I keep on getting outraged. And as I have said before, if McCain wins, then that would work for me too and I won't talk about politics anymore. Because then the outrage would reach such a fever pitch that my brain will finally not be able to handle it and abandon it.

In any case, it would be at least temporarily the end of outrage. Hopefully this blog could see much less politics then. This election is being hailed as historic by the country. While it indeed is, it shouldn't have been. Why does a country which considered itself the foremost promoter of freedom and equality for two hundred years have to wait until 2008 to elect a black man as president? By electing Barack Obama this country will finally secure the place in history which it has touted all along. So now all I pray for dearly is for John McCain to win Arizona.

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5 Comments:

Blogger artharaja said...

Luckily your country only has one outrageous party, and that has just been shown the door. Sometimes I have mused whether the description some have accorded A. B. Vajpayee fits John McCain too - that he is the right man in the wrong party.

Over here each party seems to be locked in a vicious competition to be the most outrageous of them all!! And they perpetrate their outrages with obstreperous impunity - it is enough to test out faith in democracy.

7:36 AM  
Blogger artharaja said...

Oh and BTW, in light of your concluding paragraph, how many centuries do you think will elapse before the US elects say a gay atheist as President. ;-)

7:38 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

I agree with that description of ABV. He may have been the only PM in the last 20 years that I actually liked, but my image of him was tarnished by his nationalistic leanings, largely conforming to party ideals.

Gay atheist?? As you know, Americans would easily prefer Muslims or gay people to atheists as presidents. Probably not going to happen during our lifetimes! We are a discarded breed.

10:00 AM  
Blogger artharaja said...

Nationalistic leanings are now a tarnish? DO you really mean that bro?

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Wrong phrase I guess. Wanted to say I was a little miffed by his "Hindutva" leanings. But I guess those were of his party.

7:51 AM  

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