Friday, March 7, 2014

Anger Is My Default

Anger is my default position.

It isn't that I've stopped thinking.  Nor is it that I like being angry.  My anxiety levels increase, I become less productive, I'm focused on the wrong things and I end up writing a lot of things I wish I hadn't written.

I try not to be angry.  I tell myself it isn't worth the effort, I tell myself that I should let it go, or that there are always going to people of a particular type in the world, there's nothing I can really do about it and that I'm better off just moving on and talking about something else.  I tell myself that I'm writing a book and that I need to save my energy for that.  I tell myself that I need to sell a book, and that it's better if people like me, even really stupid, ignorant, obviously misdirected people with bad upbringings.  They have money too.  And I tell myself that getting angry only makes a lot of smart, educated, decent people very uncomfortable, because they've been raised in a life environment where abuse or cruelty weren't common behaviors.

I tell myself these things.  Then I start writing, and it just goes.

I saw a lot of cruelty over the years.  Cruelty to me, but more towards affecting my outlook, cruelty to others.  Seems I've never been able to get away from cruelty to other people.  There's something about me in reality (not online, where the reader can't hear my voice or see my face or, probably, smell whatever pheromone I give off) that makes people want to tell me their troubles.  And people have a lot of troubles. All over.  For some reason, I seem to care about all that.  Yet, because my default is to get angry, I'm really only contributing to all those troubles.

I have an incident on this blog where I just friggin' lose it.  Every now and then.  Sometimes, I leave it up. Sometimes, I feel compelled to pull it down.  But always, always, I want to bury the blog, tell the whole environment to go fuck itself, and settle into an existence where I am not compelled to deal with people who are just so ... stupid.

Here I am, though, not doing that.

Yesterday, I got pissed.  Really, really pissed.  It was in part because of a passage I wrote Monday that was freaking brilliant, but has since been impossible to follow up on.  Like making a five hundred mile dash to the coast in record time, only to find there's no fucking ship to board.  I know what I want to say; I know the details of what needs to be said ... I just don't know how to say it in a way that stupid people won't go pffft! what a load of bollucks.  It's not a load of bollucks.  I know that because the research behind it comes from the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Department of North Carolina State University.  The research convinced me, changed my mind, broke my brain open and was responsible for the writing I did Monday.

But ... the research is accusatory.  It says, certain people in positions of power are abusive and self-serving because they're self-promoting, ambitious and charismatic, and they're compensating for perceived misfortune in their lives by promoting an atmosphere of cruelty and 'fun' through emotional sadism.  And this speaks directly to my experience with DMs who abuse their power, promote player-vs.-player, intimidate their players, crow about the greatness of their worlds and dismiss player agency of any kind while defending the right to be deceptive.

I'm working incredibly hard not to make the book accusatory.  I'm washing out everything in the book that might carry some of the stink of this blog, that is extraordinarily accusatory.  That is fine for this venue, but I don't think that works for a book that is meant to helpful.  So I am trying to find the right language.  I'm trying to say, "here are the pitfalls, don't be a dick," in a positive way.  I'm trying to do it, while at the same time being detailed and thorough about the behavior of a dick, because I have that research that some very smart people worked on to explain exactly why dicks are dicks.

So this is in my mind.  I'm angry that I can't find the way to write it.  I'm angry because there are trolls telling me that I'm a bad writer when clearly I'm not, and even more clearly I'm tearing myself into pieces trying to be a better writer.  I'm angry because there's ordinary crap going on in my life that is being added to the pile. And anger is my default position.

Then there comes this fellow who tells me that the idea that the GM or the players would ever come meekly to a campaign, asking to play, is ludicrous.  At once I recognize that this asshole's demeanor is obviously so outwardly dismissive of the least sort of weakness that people who aren't blowhards immediately feel it isn't worth approaching him.  In his universe, no one is ever hesitating before sitting down to run, or asking to be part of a campaign.  In his universe, the very idea is a tremendous laugh riot - and he said so, in the next comment.  The next comment that says, "I am looking forward to your book.  While I'm sure there will be things I disagree with, I am also certain that there will be insights I have not considered."

Right there, I just fucking lost it.

Anger is my default position.  I wasn't half as angry with him as I was with my own frustration at not being able to hammer those 'insights' (hard-fought, acquired research from expert sources) into language that guys like this might open their eyes at.  But that is where the anger went.  The whole condescension of it sent me off.  "I'm sure you'll write a cute little book, with a few cute points, but I'll keep my superior point of view just the same."

So it goes.  I should be satisfied that he's going to read the book, right?  It's a buck or two in my pocket.  I should shut up, and take his money, and not worry in the least about whether he agrees with the book or not. I should concentrate on being liked, so many people will buy the book, because they think I'm a great guy and that I'm someone readers can identify with.  I should not get angry.

Unfortunately, I am not, in actual fact, a person that readers can identify with.  I am not the common man.  I am not one of the boys.  I'm not interested in the things ordinary people are interested in.  And I am not basing my writing about RPGs on my opinion.  I'm basing my writing on difficult-to-interpret research that has been telling me for months now that many of the things I do as a DM are wrong.

You, the reader, and I, the writer, wouldn't be friends in real life.  You would almost certainly really bug me. I would probably be bored by the things you like to do, or the things you're interested in, and I doubt very much that anything I do on a day-to-day basis would impress you.  You and I, we have nothing in common. Beginning with the fact that I don't think that our having things in common means shit where it comes to the business relationship between us.

That business relationship is based on one thing.  You have money.  I'm working to write a book that is worth that money.  The book won't make you feel good about the game you're running.  Nor is the book going to give you a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings.  It is going to describe in an advanced way how to improve your Dungeon Mastering.

We don't have to be friends for that.  In fact, you don't really want a friend for that, do you?  I think at this point, where it comes to your DMing, a friend isn't going to be much help.  A friend won't be honest.

I will be.  And it will hurt.

30 comments:

Vlad Malkav said...

I don't want your book to be friendly and tell me how great I am.

I want it the way you wrote it (at least, from what you said and shown) : inquisitive, putting us out of our comfort zone, telling us what we do wrong, why we do it, and what we can do to be better.

Everything I read from it was spot-on. Words put on unformulated thoughts of mine, explanaions, ... All this bringing inspiration to improve, pointing where I'm lacking, making me wanting for more from myself.

You are right. Don't be friendly in your book. What you've done is great, I can't wait to read it - and get my mind blown again.

ravencrowking said...

Alexis,

There is always a "reader filter" when people discuss subjects over the Internet. Basically, the reader says to himself, "Well, if I had written that, this is what I would mean, and therefore this must be what that person means too."

I do not always agree with you. In fact, I often disagree with you on particulars even when I agree with you on broad strokes.

However, the text you quoted was meant to mean that, even though I will not agree with everything you write in your book, that I am equally sure that it will be worth reading. I don't read your blog because I find it worthless, or because I am looking for something to poke fun at. I read it because I enjoy seeing your process, and because you write things that are worth reading.

I certainly wouldn't bother writing rebuttals to posts that I felt were not worth reading.

That doesn't mean that every word you write is gold, but then that also means that there is gold in what you write. I don't think that your conclusions in "The Sides of Power" follow from what you present; I don't expect you to change your mind just because I disagree.

The players can force the DM's game to end, but the DM cannot force the players to play. True. Likewise, the DM can force the players' game to end, but the players cannot force the DM to run.

Anyway, there was a point in my life where things occurred that made me very angry. I can honestly say that I have never been remotely close to having anger as a default position, but I know how soul-destroying being angry can be.

I try to take people for what they are. Assholes are assholes, and are not worth paying attention to. If you think I am an asshole, why bother getting mad over anything I say?

But I was trying to pay you a compliment. Although we approach the game in different ways, your approach is of great interest to me. And, if you think I was simply insulting you, I respect your willingness to post the comment.

I hope you find a way to let go of your anger. I think you will be happier if you do.

JB said...

@ Alexis:

I understand your frustration, but to me you seem to be attached to an unobtainable ideal. Not unrealistic, not unworthy, just impossible.

You have high standards...that's good. You'll aim higher and strike higher because of it. But you can't please ALL the people ALL the time, man.

Alexis Smolensk said...

There are two fundamental places where we differ, raven.

First, I don't find anger the least bit soul-destroying. If you look through the post, you will note that at no time do I indicate that I regret being angry. I regret that people only hear anger. I am never angry for meaningless, trite reasons. I am always angry because someone has said something, or done something, that leads to cruelty that is done to someone else. It is at that point that I hit rage. Because I dislike injustice intensely. Yesterday, you made some incredibly sensitive casual remarks that would be very painful to certain shy, insecure, quiet people I know, who absolutely would come to a DM "hat in hand" because that is the way these people live. They're not strong like me. They're meek, but they're wonderful people. But they are also targets of derision for people like you, who find their way of behaviour laughable and ludicrous. I don't find my anger there 'soul-destroying.' I find it purposeful.

The other place where we differ is that when I think something you say is wrong, I specify it EXACTLY, in precise words, and go after you about it. When you find something that I say is wrong, you make indefinite generalizations that it's out there, somewhere, but you don't bother to discuss it when it happens. Moreover, as you did with the YMMV thing, where you actually did take a stand on something, you argue from a position of personal privilege. Your whole YMMV argument was, "I like it, therefore it's acceptable."

When people say (and there are a lot of people who say this), "I don't agree with everything you write, Alexis, but ..." What I hear is "I don't like to change, and when I hear something I don't agree with, I ignore it." I hear that because you've just made a generalization. What don't you agree with? Why don't you agree with it? Do you have an argument? Can you defend your position? Because I promise you, raven, I can defend mine. I can always defend my opinion. And not on the basis of personal privilege, but because I can point to circumstances that demonstrate that this or that is true.

I am not unhappy that I am an angry person. I am unhappy that people think I shouldn't be. I think I should be allowed to be whatever sort of person I want.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Vlad, JB, much appreciated.

I think you're going to get what you want, Vlad.

And no, JB, I can't please all the people. I sure can't. I think I'm just questing for that language that makes it at least possible that most of the people, even the staunch, dead-eyed old guard that will only do things one way, might feel a bit uncomfortable while decrying every thing I write.

Matt said...

I think that if you spent your time trying to make people like you so that they'd buy your book you'd lose a lot of people who are going to buy your book because they respect you. I read your blog because you write things that make me think, and that challenge how I do things, and that make me feel like a child stumbling about in a world I know far less about than I like to pretend I know.

Your blog isn't nice. You don't agree to disagree, or live and let live. You call people out for being wrong even if they are patting you on the back while they do it. You make your positions unquestionably known. I read your blog because you treat your readers like grown-ups.

I'm going to buy your book because I read your blog. No, I know that it is supposed to be a separate thing. You aren't going to retread ground your blog covered in your book because that is what your blog is for. It's a separate product with a separate voice, but I am going to buy it because I respect the person it represents, and because I want the knowledge it is going to be filled with.

ravencrowking said...

Alexis, I'll try once more.

If Bob was shy but wanted to run a game, I would encourage Bob to do so. It would never be my goal to make Bob come "cap in hand" and it would never be a case where Bob had to beg to do so.

When I think you are wrong, I do my best to be pretty clear about why. You seem to think that my best isn't very good, but I think you are wrong there, too.

But I am not expecting you to make nice in your book, or on your blog. If you don't say what you think to be true, why would anyone buy it?

I am not asking you to "play nice"; I am telling you that I think you are wrong about the distribution of power in the game. I am telling you also that I think that you are worth reading. These are not dichotomous positions to hold.

I am not really even expecting you to accept what I am saying here, either, but I felt a need to say it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

raven,

The phrase, "I'll try once more," indicates that you're not listening.

You're not interested in listening. You're interested in making your point.

Your point was made when you described your behavior, quote, "When I read the bit about the poor DM having to try to find players, begging essentially, I actually laughed out loud."

Right there. That's where you damned yourself. You haven't addressed that. You don't mean to address that. You want to backtrack and re-invent what you said. You want to restate your position in different words because the words you actually used were insensitive, cruel, dismissive and trite. The fact that now you don't want to be thought of in those terms, rather than simply saying, "You're right, I did behave badly; that is behavior I need to change" is what indicates that you're inflexible and more concerned with Impression Management than in making amends. Impression management is one of those things which my RESEARCH tells me is a process by which self-promoting leaders (DMs) create cults of subservience surrounding themselves.

You're not 'trying' to make me understand a point. You're trying to make everyone else think you're not the person you indicated you were.

This makes me furious in the extreme; but in this case, I'm going to try to make other people understand why exactly you're making me angry, rather than just going at you with both barrels.

See, raven, I'm not concerned that you disagree with me. I'm concerned that you're not a very empathic person. And that makes me want to make your life miserable. You're making me miserable, and in the spirit of empathy I want to share that back with you. That's how I roll. That's my default.

This time, however, I'm going to point out how you're introducing new positions and attempting to side-rail the conversation into what you did or didn't do. I don't care what your interpretation is of those things. I have the words you wrote. And you haven't used new words yet to indicate that the old words don't still apply.

Moreover, you are STILL arguing from a position of point of privilege.

Lukas said...

Here's the thing. Everyone is afraid of the book, if they're not they should be.

If they aren't afraid of the book they must be very brave people always ready to change their self essence, they don't value your opinions and research, they don't value their ability as a DM, or they believe they are perfect DMs.

People will be afraid just for the same reason I am afraid to read your research link. Because I'm not very good at changing my essence, and I value how I change the world around me.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, I didn't link the research. I linked wikipedia's definition of Impression Management.

Here's the research link. And a lot of other links that go with it.

James said...

Thanks for the link. The research article is a little sensationalist for my tastes (directly tying it to Cuba and opening with Lord Acton, for starters), but it all reminds me of the Stanford Prison experiment by Zimbardo (link: http://www.prisonexp.org/)

I feel like that is the more apt comparison here, though of course Impression Management plays into it. As soon as people are given complete control of a situation, they will often abuse it. If you want to tie it to D&D, yes, it predicts some horrific outcomes which has been borne out by the horror stories you either read about or experience yourself.

So that presents us with a problem, no? What is the appropriate solution? Relying on leaders (DMs) to be constructive rather than destructive is the triumph of hope over experience (though it sounds like your book will be, in some ways, an attempt to right that). Some systems have diminished the role of the DM, and that has found some traction. Others have focused more on cooperation, what you referred to in a previous post as "getting buy-in," because if the DM is not all-powerful, than many of these pitfalls can be avoided, at least so the theory goes.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could just stop being dickish? Poor social psychology, still struggling with the basic fact that it seems like people prefer apathy and/or cruelty to charity, but it lacks the balls to come out and admit that maybe people are all just kind of terrible, and we should work on putting people in situations to be less terrible to one another rather than pretend that people aren't the problem.

Alexis Smolensk said...

James,

I don't think dicks will stop being dicks, but I do think there is purpose is pointing out when an individual who is not a dick is starting to slide into inappropriate behavior, such as enjoying players bashing each other or otherwise singing the DM's song. Evil will always be evil, but we're all tainted with some of that, and pointing out that we're not immune, that it's easy to slide down the wrong path and it's also easy to delude ourselves into thinking its a justifiable one is worth addressing and resisting.

James said...

Alexis,

Fair points all. I agree that there is a purpose in pointing it out; that is essentially what social psychology has become, pointing out dickish behavior in the hope that if people see how their behavior negatively affects the world, it will become less commonplace.

So that is your strategy then? Point out people's flaws in the hope that they too will recognize them as such and endeavor to fix them? A worthy goal, if one that tends to create a lot of hurt feelings and resentment in your targets. But I suppose that is where the anger comes in, getting you past the point where societal politeness says we should feel guilty.

Or does the anger come in earlier, actually spurring you to criticize and berate those who you feel deserve it?

Alexis Smolensk said...

That is exactly my problem, James. I am instead fighting NOT to point out people's flaws. I am fighting to point out useful, practical, POSITIVE advice, and avoiding almost entirely anything that is a negative approach. It's difficult; I'm washing the text as I rewrite to make it cleaner of that sort of approach - an approach this blog thrives on.

Thus, my difficulty, how do you point out these pitfalls without being all negative about it? What is the opposite of these pitfalls, what is the reverse engineered document to the research I linked? That's my present frustration regarding the book.

The anger associated at that is directed at my own perceived failings; I haven't been able to write much this last week because I'm stuck. Being stuck always makes me angry.

The anger here, on the blog, is directed at a whole lot of other things.

You know, when anyone gets angry at a person because that person has said something wrong, that isn't a crime. Things get sorted out that way. It is better than the live-and-let-live philosophy, that has enabled all this evil in the world to expand cheerfully while being carefully ignored.

Venger Satanis said...


If your default position is anger, then your default position is wrong. While one can angrily move towards progress in rare cases, one cannot make progress while in a state of anger.

Stop being angry and you'll have solved the majority of your problems. Unfortunately, it's not the anger that can be fixed. Anger is the symptom. The disease is you. You must change or nothing conscious will ever manifest.

VS

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yes, yes, yes. Let's condemn me. Let's assign the standard psychological arguments to me. Let's judge me. Let's completely ignore everything else that has been said above. Let's be above such things as debate, purpose, reason, logic, goals, direction, meaning or philosophy. Let's invoke the kindergarten morality onto the situation and have done with it.

I'm very, very bad. I belong in a corner.

James said...

VS,

What are you talking about? Anger is perfectly healthy. What kind of pop psychobabble is "While one can angrily move towards progress in rare cases, one cannot make progress while in a state of anger" anyway?

Alexis,

I clearly agree with you that anger can be a useful tool, and can be completely warranted. As for the problem you express...

I generally believe that brutal honesty is the best way to do things, because it at least ensures that people understand where I am coming from when I make my assessments. However, it is difficult to positively express brutal honesty in print form in such a way as to not turn off prospective buyers, while still maintaining the same force of what you want to say.

Anything else I could say would just be trite noise. Though, hey, maybe sitting in the corner will help! I had some of my best ideas while sitting in corners. Or maybe they only seemed great because I was bored to tears in the corner, it's one of those...

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yeah, I can't figure that about Venger Satanis. Usually, Satan is really happy when I'm mad!

Showers. I'm an earth sign, so somehow hanging in a stream of water makes mud pies for me, James.

Jomo Rising said...

The basics: Anger, fear, happiness, are emotions, feelings. Feelings are never wrong, nor right.

YagamiFire said...

LMFAO

Wow okay that is a silly post.

"The founding fathers were very content over their situation and thus started a mild revolution out of a sense of moral obligation fueled by their general satisfaction!"

I'm reminded of the neutral people from Futurama. "Take us to beige alert!"

" While one can angrily move towards progress in rare cases, one cannot make progress while in a state of anger."

That is some dumb, hippy bullshit. Very funny though.

AnAxeToGrind said...

I understand being angry all the time. I have spent my life living angry. I need anger to get out of bed and face the world. I need anger to clean the house and drive me to create. I disagree with many of your posts, but I also spend time evaluating your position and self evaluating my own style and game because of what you write. I have changed many things based on your posts. I have also scoffed at several because of my inability to deal with your view point or some other trite excuse. I will never wax as eloquent or thoughtful on any of the subjects I write about as you do here, but I will strive for that goal because admire the effort you and others I read daily put in. I rarely comment, but I am looking forward to your book. The positive spin has appeal, but I must also say that change always from confrontation. If the confrontation occurs internally in your target audience spurred by the positive tone, good. If it makes the reader able to confront their own methods and make real change use it. If a negative tone will put off some readers then don't use it. If you need to say the harsh realities and you can't find the words, explain yourself to the reader (the use of neg tone) and then present the argument in any tone that will get the message across. Those willing to accept the need for change will recognize their problem or they won't, you can't be the only person responsible in the equation. My two cents worth.

Taren said...

Interesting, how the flat world of text on screen falls short in conveying emotions.

I didn't read raven's comment about your book to be condescending, rather I thought it to be accord-seeking. As in he was looking for common ground, not further disagreement.

We all bring our filters to bear on everything we read... which brings me to my main point: If you say your default position is anger, then that is going to be your filter much of the time.

...,and there's always a chance you're imbuing your own anger on others comments.

When someone makes ME angry, I find it helpful to turn the mirror on myself. What about that person is making me angry or upset or frustrated? Most times it's something in myself I don't like. Once I understand that, I have no need to worry about that other person.

And after all, these emotions serve a purpose, but they ultimately get in the way of action towards higher goals like justice, compassion, morality.

---

I think I'm in agreement with others here that your work will speak for itself. Popularity and brilliance both are irrelevant. The truth will out by how successfully you convey your ideas.

Thank you for putting words on the screen in the first place, Alexis!

Clovis Cithog said...


I don’t believe you, Alexis, are angry. You are frustrated - frustrated not with yourself, but your inability to change the world.
Surely Alexis became a journalist to speak truth to power.
...
Unfortunately, more people are interested in Miley Cyrus than the Crimea.
...
When your frustration boils up to a critical level it manifests as anger.
..
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Alexis Smolensk said...

I don't disagree with that, Clovis. Except that I like Miley.

Taren said...

I agree with Clovis as well, that your anger can stem from frustration that you can't change the world.

BUT anger in and of itself never accomplished change.

Anger can be the manifestation of helplessness.

Too much anger stymies action - it allows the wielder to rage, and sucks energy from any other function. Temporarily, anyway.

Our stronger emotions can provide the battery for better action - once we get past them into a place of understanding.

As an example, when I'm jogging... I am by no means a good runner, so understand that I'm speaking from the point of view of someone who has to master her emotions to even get out there in the first place.

While I'm running my mind is sparking alive... emotions are rushing through, I'm replaying scenes past or future... certain emotions help me, and others don't. Anger, when I come to it, stops me. Physically stops my feet from moving. Cue record scratch sound here.. I have found it is a powerful stopping force. Not bad, not good, just enourmous power to STOP me.

Taren said...

Just to add to Clovis' point... a journalist certainly CAN effect change... anger may drive a journalist to want to write but doesn't write the words for him.

It's only after the anger that the journalist can reason how to influence people to make changes. Which in the main is how many journalists do it - they communicate with other people and inspire them to act.

People generally respond better to speakers who are in control of their emotions, not those who are controlled by them.

Great communicators use these emotions and stimulate them in others.

A very fine point may otherwise get lost in the anger...

Alexis Smolensk said...

Taryn, you've already said that when something makes you angry, you immediately start looking for fault in yourself. Better that than looking for fault in other people. Then you tell me that anger stymies action. Well no wonder.

Anger neither promotes not stultifies my actions. It is merely an emotion I am feeling at a given time, directed at things that make me angry. It is a default because it is where I start at when someone around me does something wrong. I don't immediately go looking for fault in myself to see if I'm ready to get angry. I already know myself. My opinion is flatly stated in my writing.

When someone says something I've written is "ludicrous" ... and that word is appended to other people's behavior, as it was in the comment on Thursday, I get mad. My opinion was dismissed; the behavior of other perfectly reasonable timid people was held up for ridicule. This isn't the moment to go looking for fault in myself. Nor does it leave me helpless. I am not unable to act. I know exactly what's required.

Taren, you're trying to push onto me issues you're experiencing. But I'm not you. I don't feel that anger is a problem. I feel it is a legitimate response to cruelty.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Incidentally, raven has a long history on this blog. He has repeatedly left abusive comments, he has repeatedly attacked me, he has several times now set out to vilify me on his blog, and all the time he comes around sucking up to me and my opinions. Don't get the idea that somehow my response on Thursday occurred in a vacuum.

Taren said...

I do agree with you, that anger is a legitimate response to cruelty.

But to disagreement?

And for the record, I enjoyed your image of me, naval-gazing in impotent rage, wondering why I can't act...

...to clarify... i only look at myself when I can't figure out why I'm angry at someone else, as in when my anger is out of proportion for the situation. As in when your rage over a comment on your blog seems out of the blue. (I do understand now that your history with raven means you are reacting to more than what's on the page.)

Good ol' righteous anger in the face of a real crime or cruelty or abuse or injustice... no question there. No need for naval-gazing ;)

Still requires calmness to act, though, meaning one has to get over the emotion of anger and move to a place of control.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Taren,

I can't understand why people have this attitude, "Well, if its a huge insensitive remark regarding a 'real crime,' that's fine to get angry over, but really, anger over something that just insults shy people? Not really worth it."

I showed the remark from raven on Friday to one of my girl players, a rather shy soul who is nevertheless enthusiastic to play, and would you like to know the response I saw? Anger. Anger because she gets really nervous speaking plainly around people she doesn't know. Perhaps that was why I got angry; because I personally know people that the remark would cut and hurt.

Who are you, or anyone, to decide what "real injustice" is? Because it isn't "real" to you, that doesn't mean it isn't real to someone else. I felt his comment was "real" to me. And since I didn't go around to his house, burn it down, and put him in the hospital, but set out only to humiliate and browbeat him a little, how about we ALSO recognize that anger isn't horrific treatment of a person, either? How about we recognize that anger is a very light response to cruelty, hm? And stop making the anger more of a crime than deliberately attacking people simply because they happen not to have characteristics like ourselves?

That's as nicely as I can put it.