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As the discontent worsened, however, he realized that he was losing control. And so, on a grim February morning, Chavez announced that he was fasting to urge the movement to recommit to its principles.
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In a small room of an adobe-walled gas station, Chavez consumed only water. He was a small man when his fast started, and as the weeks passed, he withered. Local newscasts began speculating that he might die. The fast continued for a week, then two weeks, then nearly a month. As Chavez starved, the violence in the fields tapered off. When he emerged after 25 days to join a Mass attended by thousands, Robert F. Kennedy prayed with the leader. One reason America is so angry is that anger works.
When channeled by someone like Cesar Chavez, it can lift up the disadvantaged and reshape a nation. But its power is not reserved for the righteous. When less scrupulous leaders tap into our rage and use it for their own ends, the emotion can be turned against us, in ways large and small, often without us even realizing what is going on. Corporate America, for example, has long sought to profit from our anger. Robert Sutton was a young professor, about to start teaching business at Stanford, when James Averill published his study on Greenfield. For Sutton and others, the idea that you could examine an unruly emotion with scientific rigor was fascinating.
Sutton nosed around and found a debt-collection agency whose executives were as fascinated as he was by the new scholarship on anger. They, too, had read the studies—and were using the social science to get rich. Sutton persuaded the agency to let him enroll in its training program for credit-card debt collectors and then allow him to work the phones alongside its employees, who together made , calls a month.
Express mail! As soon as a debtor started screaming back, the collector would switch tactics and become soothing and accommodating.
The Hidden Costs of P.E.
Jones, calm down. Excuse me. The bill collectors were hardly alone in exploiting the new understanding of anger. Harvard Business School devoted a course to using anger in negotiations. Take, for instance, a moment in when Apple had temporarily fallen on hard times and Michael Dell had suggested that the company should simply fold and return what cash it had to shareholders. Rarely is it a force for social good. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the media industry. If the bill collectors figured out how to use interpersonal anger to their advantage, the cable-news business perfected the monetization of moral outrage.
In , a television reporter named Geraldo Rivera began hosting a daytime talk show. It failed to attract much attention in its first year. Then he tried a new formula, inviting white supremacists, skinheads, and black and Jewish activists into his studio, all at the same time. A brawl broke out. The episode was a hit. Broadcast news had been constrained by regulations that enforced fairness and encouraged decorum.
Cable executives, however, could do whatever they wanted. One former Fox producer I spoke with said that his network realized early on that if watching anger was entertaining, then getting a chance to participate in it—hearing your indignations given voice by a bombastic host—was irresistible. Executives from other cable-news channels publicly disdained his approach—and rushed to imitate it. The method at both networks was, and is, to tap into our reservoirs of moral indignation. The point is to keep viewers tuned in, which means keeping them angry all the time.
No reconciliation, no catharsis, no compromise. The more recent rise of social media has only further inflamed our emotions. On social media, the old rewards of anger—recognition of our unhappiness, resolution of our complaints—are replaced with new ones: retweets, likes, more followers, more influence. The targets of our rage, meanwhile, tend to be strangers less inclined to hear us out than to fire back. The democratic nature of social media has given previously marginalized groups new outlets to express their outrage and to translate anger into action.
Lawyers relied on Twitter and Facebook for help mobilizing in support of immigrants to the U. But the political actors who use anger to more cynical ends still have the upper hand. Political consultants have long been among the most devoted proselytizers of rage. In , the presidential candidate George H. Anger is now de rigueur on the campaign trail, weaponized by Republicans and Democrats alike.
His would-be successor, Hillary Clinton, found herself similarly constrained by misogynistic stereotypes. All of this anger-mongering in campaigns, whether subtle or overt, has had a corrosive effect on American democracy. A poll by The Washington Post found that 35 percent of voters in battleground districts of the midterm election chose the word angry to describe their feelings about the campaign; 24 percent chose patriotic.
Without anyone to channel that anger, it can turn into a destructive obsession. In the fall of , Larry Cagle, an English teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, became so furious that he started plotting to throw his school into chaos. In Florida, where he taught previously, it was almost twice that amount. Cagle had been so angry at the school system for so long that his wife had instituted a rule: No ranting at the dinner table. Eventually, he decided he needed to do something. He emailed a few colleagues and asked, What if everyone called in sick on the same day?
The idea of causing such a disruption would have once seemed abhorrent to Cagle. He had complained to people in power, had volunteered on school-board campaigns, had filed grievances with his union, had tried to explain to parents why they ought to demand more for their kids. None of it had worked. Cagle began recruiting teachers at other schools. Just make it happen. After the story aired, Cagle began receiving emails and messages on social media—first dozens, then hundreds—from educators all around the state. At the time, newspapers were filled with stories of teachers walking out of classrooms in West Virginia, demanding higher pay and more resources.
Kentucky and Colorado were also headed toward teacher strikes. But the bill included only limited funds to improve the schools. The teachers were far from mollified. They decided to hold a massive, statewide walkout.
After coordinating via email, text message, Facebook, and Twitter, thousands of teachers across the state left their classrooms on Monday, April 2, Principals were forced to close hundreds of schools. Parents had to hire babysitters or stay at home. They were just fed up and wanted everyone to know it. On the first morning of the protest, a few thousand teachers descended on the state capitol in Oklahoma City. Television cameras showed up, and people began posting photos online. The strike stretched through the rest of the week, and then into the next.
As many as 80, people attended the demonstrations. R esearchers call the phenomenon in which anger, rather than making things better, becomes a cycle of recrimination, rumination, and ever-expanding fury the revenge impulse. Though anger and the desire for revenge can feel intertwined, they are two distinct emotions.
One study, for instance, found that when laid-off workers believed firings were handled fairly—that a process was adhered to, that seniority was respected, that worker evaluations were properly considered—they were less likely to protest or complain, even if they disagreed with the outcome. Alternately, if workers believed that managers were playing favorites or manipulating the rule book, sabotage was more likely.
Because as long as they believe it was a fair fight, they tolerate losing. It makes a certain evolutionary sense that the desire for revenge would be coded into us as an emotion of last resort. Good anger, as James Averill demonstrated, encourages us to air our grievances and find solutions.
A leader like Cesar Chavez can reframe anger as moral indignation, which can extend the power of personal grievances into an instrument for the pursuit of a more just world. But when we come to believe that justice is impossible, we get the desire for revenge. Rather, some people become willing to do anything to advance their interests, regardless of who is standing in the way.
It also makes sense that this emotion ought to be rare, because the desire for revenge can be exceedingly destructive. In many cases, the targets feel violated themselves.
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They are now injured, and may start seeking revenge of their own. People begin taking justice into their own hands, because they think institutions cannot provide it. To Larry Cagle, it often felt like the school system, the state government, and even his union were conspiring to stoke his anger, without any promise of relief.
Its leadership had decided to throw in the towel. Teachers should return to their classrooms. Anyone who missed another day of work might be fired. Soon afterward, Cagle found a flyer in his classroom. His mug shot was posted on Facebook. Cagle suspected pro-union teachers. The teacher strikes of won concessions in some states. In Oklahoma, the results were mixed. The walkouts inspired a number of educators to run for political office and drew attention to classroom problems that had languished for years.
But the protests have yet to produce higher salaries than what was promised before the walkout, or additional school resources.
Understanding 5 Types of Anger
And they damaged relationships with lawmakers that teachers will need in the future. And this is what I get in return? Since the protests have ended, Cagle has had a lot of time to think about what happened. Some might feel regret, believe that things got out of hand. Not him. He wishes everyone had fought longer and harder.
He later denied doing so. Whatever faith he had left in the system has evaporated. But in our conversations, he often seemed past the point of compromise. T hough it is ugly to admit, you may have felt similarly to Larry Cagle at some point in your life. You may have lost faith in Congress, your house of worship, your employer.
Like Cagle, you may be nearing a point where you are past constructive solutions. You, too, may want to burn it all down. This is a scary place to be—for us as individuals, and for the nation as a whole. The ways in which anger is constantly stoked from every side is new, and the partisan divide that such anger fosters may have pushed us further down a path toward widespread violence than we realize.
We should, in other words, be worried, perhaps even more than we already are. It seems like our current madness should be reaching its apex, that relief ought to be on the horizon. But the sources of our anger run deeper than the present political moment. Cable news, Twitter, politicians who now do more campaigning than governing—their every incentive is to keep us angry. But we own some of the guilt, too. I profess to hate what cable news is doing to the national conversation, but I still tune in.
I decry the nasty discourse on Twitter, then check back the next hour to refresh my outrage. My anger has become a burden. Perhaps yours has too. The anger impulse is too deeply encoded, the thrill too genuine. So where do we go from here? The plan, on the face of it, seemed crazy. A group of Israeli social scientists wanted to conduct an experiment disguised as an advertising campaign. The ads would run in a small, conservative Tel Aviv suburb, where many people were religious and supported right-wing politicians.
The goal was to persuade the residents to abandon their anger toward Palestinians and agree that Israel should freeze construction of Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, among other concessions. A few years earlier, residents had stood along a highway to throw rocks at passing cars simply because they suspected that the drivers might be headed to a gay-pride march.
But prejudices may fade, and moral outrages will mellow. The researchers figured that the contact hypothesis had clearly been developed by someone who had never visited Israel. So the researchers came up with a clever idea. For the heroes, we probably need the conflict. For morality, we probably need the conflict. Over a six-week period, according to polling, nearly all of its 25, residents saw them. And yet, when the researchers conducted polls in the suburb at the end of the advertising campaign, the residents who had held the most extreme views at the outset of the experiment appeared to have softened.
The number of conservatives who said Israel should be more aggressive toward Palestinians fell by 17 percent. Incredibly, even though the advertisements never mentioned settlements, 78 percent more people said that Israel should consider freezing construction in the West Bank and Gaza. A year after the ads had ceased, by which time some residents had trouble recalling the specifics of the campaign, polls still showed greater tolerance.
The campaign worked, the social scientists believe, because instead of telling people they were wrong, the ads agreed with them—to embarrassing, offensive extremes. A s America reaches the midpoint of a presidential administration that has driven nearly everyone into a rage of one kind or another, we are at a crossroads: Will we continue, blindly furious? Or will we see our rage as a disease that must be cured?
We need it to air our grievances with our friends, family, and colleagues. We also need the moral outrage that motivates citizens to push for a more just society. Neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on justice; likewise, injustice can come from either side. The most immediate task is to recognize our anger for what it often is. The things the president says at his rallies are so extreme that they are essentially absurdist provocations.
Antifa activists are brawling in the streets with the Proud Boys. The vitriol on display each night on cable news—and even on late-night comedy shows—is over the top. At the heart of much of our discontent is a very real sense that our government systems are broken. Ours, too, could be a moment for progress, if we can channel our anger to good ends, rather than the vanquishing of our enemies.
It was the th anniversary of the birth of W. Du Bois, and King hoped to remind those in attendance of his teachings, but also of his methods. Du Bois, King said, had been an angry radical his whole life. He had furiously called for resistance. But he had also sought to make his enemies into allies. He had overcome his anger in the hopes of finding peace. As King spoke, protests were happening in New York and Paris.
Soldiers were dying in Vietnam. Just over a month later, King would be assassinated in Memphis. Physical-education programs were designed to encourage health and fitness, but they may be counterproductive. Farhad Yusef-Zadeh was observing the center of the Milky Way galaxy in radio waves, looking for the presence of faint stars, when he saw it: a spindly structure giving off its own radio emissions. The filament-like feature was probably a glitch in the telescope, or something clouding the field of view, he decided.
Women in the Bible
But the mystery filament kept showing up, and soon Yusef-Zadeh found others. What the astronomer had mistaken for an imperfection turned out to be an entire population of cosmic structures at the heart of the galaxy. The menagerie of filaments is clustered around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.
follow link The president of the United States reportedly sought the help of a foreign government against an American citizen who might challenge him for his office. This is the single most important revelation in a scoop by The Wall Street Journal , and if it is true, then President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately. Until now, there was room for reasonable disagreement over impeachment as both a matter of politics and a matter of tactics.
The Mueller report revealed despicably unpatriotic behavior by Trump and his minions, but it did not trigger a political judgment with a majority of Americans that it warranted impeachment. The Democrats, for their part, remained unwilling to risk their new majority in Congress on a move destined to fail in a Republican-controlled Senate. It refers to the mismatch between a long-standing procedural instinct of the press and the current realities of the Era of Trump. This approach has the obvious virtue of seeming fair, as a judge is fair in letting the prosecution and defense each make its case.
Is the latest prime-rate move by the Fed a good idea? Or a bad one? A term that once described a vital tradition within the Christian faith now means something else entirely. Once a month or so Tommy Kidd and I get together for lunch at our favorite taco joint. And more often than not, we end up talking about our complicated relationship with American evangelical Christianity.
Because the future of that movement, which is our movement, matters to us—and, we think, matters to America.