A few weeks ago, in a discussion in a different forum, I commented that I was “articulate with rage.” Not what I meant to say, of course, and when I changed it to “inarticulate,” several of my friends jumped in to say, no, the first wording was more accurate. I was flattered, and then a uncomfortable.
The source of my discomfort is simply that I don’t write when I am outraged. Not consciously. I sit down at my computer, and write, and then I say “Who the hell is responsible for that?” How I write when I write deliberatively is different — more casual, less structured.
So the last time I wrote something in a state of complete outrage, I listened to the voice that spoke the words in my head.
It was Keith Olbermann.
It seems I channel K.O. when I get good and angry. What Would Keith Write? Not that I try to do that, mind you, or that what I write is as good as Olbermann’s, just that his writing — his voice — has had an influence on how I channel my own outrage.
Although I should note that I have always distanced myself from my own outrage, even before I had ever heard of Keith Olbermann. (Actually, that’s not quite accurate: I’ve known of Olbermann for years, but only as “that guy who used to be on SportsCenter.”) Anger comes from a place deep inside of me that seems somehow detached from my meek mild exterior — my warrior woman.
There has not been much of her lately: not that there hasn’t been much to be outraged about, just that it’s really hard to sustain the appropriate level of outrage. The Vice President surely was involved in the smear campaign against a CIA operative, and the press didn’t care enough about its sources to make a big deal of it? Old news. The death Anna Nicole Smith — a woman whose main claim to fame is her marriage to an octogenarian millionaire who died — is more important than the latest casualties from Iraq? So what did you expect? The president is making menacing noises towards Iran? Yeah, like any of us can do anything about it. The new budget figures are made of smoke and mirrors, and anyway result in large cuts to government agencies to pay for this useless war in Iraq? Pretty much SOP. Even the machinations of the schismatics in the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican reactionaries in Africa and elsewhere elicit merely a weary shrug.
Outrage fatigue has set in. I look at the world, and America, and who we are, and what we have done and what we are doing, and I can’t even weep anymore. I can simply sigh.
Fortunately for all of us, Keith Olbermann still has plenty of outrage left — witness this latest special comment about the President’s State of the Union address. Not as good as his best, which was called “The Beginning of the End of America” about the Military Commissions Act, but still quite good, nonetheless.
Maybe if he can stay outraged, he can inspire me to remember my outrage, too.