There’s a fellow called James Delingpole who writes for the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. He’s not well known or even very widely read, I’m not interested in what he has to say but I have taken notes on how he says it.
I have used him as a regulating valve, a crosscheck mechanism and for that he’s very useful.
In the past there have been occassions when my dissatisfaction with the generally perceived reality of our world has been so intense that I’ve been angry about it. There’s nothing wrong with that intrinsically, as the comic Dom Joly said recently, ‘of course I’m angry, anger equals energy.’
He’s got a point, but how that anger emanates is, I believe, very important. Knowing the true source of your anger is vital, anger is a very base emotion, someone does something to upset you and you get angry, how angry depends on everything but the actual event. It very often depends of what has gone before, right back to your babyhood and early experiences.
It’s annoying, I don’t enjoy accepting that some things my mother did or didn’t do to me can affect my current, late middle-aged behaviour but experience has taught me that this truly is the case.
A minor accident with a rather foul-mouthed lady in London’s Regent Street last week was a classic example. She walked into me; as in I was walking in one direction and she walked into my left hand side. I immediately said sorry, she was considerably older and physically much smaller than me, I was naturally concerned for her welfare and reached out to steady her.
She had that special hair that women of a certain age create, it looks more like a helmet than actual human hair, however the hair is irrelevant, she was also immediately very angry.
She said something along the lines of ‘watch where you’re going you dozy cunt.’
I was, as you might be able to imagine, somewhat taken aback by this comment. She stood looking at me with what can only be described as violent dislike. It was a stand off, she was so angry with me she didn’t walk away, she stood her ground, challenging me to respond.
This moment gave me time to gather my thoughts. I’d been thinking about anger, irrational responses and James Delingpole as I’d been walking. I was primed and ready and for once in my life, I had the time to make up my response; which was close to this.
'It was only 50% my fault Madam. Please deal with your inadequacies privately you foul mouthed harridan.'
As expected, this only elicited a further torrent of expletives from the lady who stormed off past the Apple store and disappeared into the crowd.
I felt very chuffed with myself, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t shout or swear, I even tweeted about it I was so puffed up.
Obviously since then I felt hugely guilty not only for what I said but also that I felt the need to share my mini triumph with the tiwtterarti. The first part of my response was spot on, sure, it’s psycho-babble but containing an element of truth and perception. If I could have stopped at the word ‘privately’ I would have had a 100% score, it was the admittedly very mild and slightly obscure use of the word harridan that let me down.
(harridan comes from the French word haridelle, an old horse or nag, a vicious and scolding older woman.)
But back to the Delingpole man. He is angry, furious, bitter and instantly resentful, he feels bullied and set upon, he’s sulking, moody and reactionary. He is, in essence, a man child.
His anger leaks into his writing, he feels convinced that the whole world is made of stupid people who fall for the lies and spin of the neo-liberal elite, or the neo liberal elite themselves. Anyone who ever voices an alternative opinion to his narrow worldview is a bully or a thug.
He rants against ‘green energy’ and ‘renewable fuels’ and ‘the lies of the anthropomorphic climate change lobbyists.’ Every word he writes screams in your ear, he is furious, frustrated that we can’t see we’re all being conned, tricked, duped by the elite who are laughing at us.
I find this distressing because I could easily, and have easily fallen into the same pointless ditch of frustrated fury.
The same ditch but with very different targets.
Where as he blames people in government in the developed world, celebrities, do-gooders, sandal wearing ‘eco fascists’ and obviously my mate Dale Vince who sends him into frothing spasms of fury, I blame international merchant bankers.
Oh yes, and hedge fund managers, bankers, the Federal Reserve for being the bankers patsies, the very notion of banking and anything to do with banks, credit and all the hideous, vile criminals who work in the international banking sector but don’t look or sound like criminals because they went to private school and wear suits.
See, I’ve done it there, a little bit of anger leaked out. I don’t just have legitimate criticisms of these institutions, criticisms that a healthy majority of educated people might agree with.
I bloody hate bankers. I blame them for everything that’s ever gone wrong with the world in my life time.
I hate them so much I want to build a steel wall around the City of London, cut off the electricity, water and all communications and issue them with a demand from the British people.
“Give us all our money back or starve to death you sub human, short sighted greedy blood sucking stain on our history.”
I might have support for saying this, I might get some people to say ‘Yay, right on Bobby, let’s stick it to them,’ and that would be momentarily uplifting. But most people who are not seething in their own pre-existing anger juice are going to respectfully step to one side and move on. They might make reference later to ‘that mad bloke screaming about bankers’ but that would be it.
So Delingpole is nothing more than a man shouting at a tree in a park. A loon, someone who needs help and sympathy, time and understanding from trained professionals with back up support.
I am trying to stop shouting at trees in the park. I know that’s what Delingpole is doing because I’ve done it. I’m grateful to him for showing me the error of my ways.
I want to learn how to take my legitimate anger at the cruelty and greed so manifest in our world today and channel it into a positive and effective driver for change. Here, above all else, age and experience is the best weapon in my diminutive arsenal.